My almost 3 year old loves the dog treats I make. He tries to sneak them out of the fridge or take a bite before he gives it to the dog. I make my own because they are better for our dogs, but also way cheaper than buying a box of milk bones, and it is something fun to do with the kids. They love helping, and this is such a crazy easy recipe, they do it well. I have posted a couple of other recipes for dog treats, these are a little easier, take less time, and I actually think my dog prefers these. He is a lab so he prefers anything, but he gets more excited about these than the other flavors I have tried. The squash is a good source of fiber and vitamins, the parsley cleans their breath, and the flour has the same benefits as it does for you and I.
Take your butternut squash and cut it half and scrape out the seeds.
Place it face down in a baking dish or on a baking sheet, it will steam itself in the oven if you put it face down.
Bake it on 350 for about 30-40 minutes, or until it is crazy soft when you poke it with a fork. Sometimes when I have other things to do or errands to run, I will let it bake for about 30 minutes and then turn off the oven, leaving it in there. When I pull it out later, it looks like this. While the squash is baking, put your oats in a food processor or magic bullet and pulse them until they are a coarse powder. If you want to use Whole Wheat flour to avoid this step, that is fine too. Some dogs are allergic to wheat, mine isn’t so lots of times I will use both.
Scrape it out of the skin and put it in a large bowl with the entire bunch of chopped parsley.
Put in your flour and/or oats a little at a time, and mix. You will want it to be about the consistency of cookie dough. I can’t give an exact measurement because the sizes of the squash varies. Just eyeball it. If it gets a little to dry, add some water.
It will be sticky, so I line the baking sheet with parchment paper and grab a silicone spatula to spread it around, making it pretty thin. About half the dough on each cookie sheet will get it perfect.
I used to make a really firm dough and roll it out to use cookie cutters. My dog does not care what his treats look like. My five year old does, but it takes FOREVER. So this is my solution. Making a wetter dough, spreading it out and baking it for a little longer makes them super crunchy and much more flavorful than adding in all that extra flour to be able to roll them out.
Next I score the dough with a pizza slicer (or a sharp knife), to make the shapes, and they will separate when baked, and just snap apart.
Bake on 350 for 40-50 minutes. Time will vary based on how thick the dough is. In some spots mine was a little thicker than others, so it may not snap as easily apart. I just leave them out in a bag for a few days to dry out a little more.
This is typically what they look like when I pull them out of the oven. Crunchy and the house smells delicious.
I store them in a gallon size ziplock in the fridge.
It may seem like these take forever, but its really just the cooking time that is long. Really the hands on time is very small compared to the other recipes. Like I said before, I sometimes divide this up in my day. Bake the squash in the morning and make them later when I will be home long enough to pull them out of the oven. Last night they were in the oven while I was cooking dinner.
No preservatives or words you can’t pronounce in these. Crunchy to clean their teeth, which is so important. Those soft treats some dogs regularly get can get between their teeth and cause major tartar build up over the long run. And I’m not one of those people who brush their dogs teeth every day. This whole batch cost me under $4. If you have smaller dogs, score the dough into smaller pieces. This one bag will last my two labs at least a month, and they are good in the fridge for 6 weeks or so. If you need to, divide the treats in half and put one bagful of them in the freezer.
Hope your pups enjoy! Mine will!