Friday, August 1, 2014

Summertime Dog Treats

I usually don't like one-use kitchen gadgets, deeming them silly and unworthy of the space they take up. But when I saw this at a pet-supply store, I made an exception because it is so perfect at what it does:


It's a dog-treat pan made of silicone, so it can handle baked yummies AND frozen treats. It's flexible enough that the treats pop right out, with no sticking or breaking. And it has a reinforced steel rim, so whether it's loaded with squishy batter or a slurry for frozen treats, it won't dump your creation on the floor before you can get it into the oven or freezer.

In this hot summer weather, I love using the tray to make "pup-sicles" for my pugs. Below are "bones" made of baby-food squash, baby-food carrot, and a single one of salt-free chicken stock (lower right position):


I didn't "pretty up" the tray by cleaning off all the little spills when I filled up the cups. Because, hey, this is life as it's lived, not a commercial.

Anyhow, it's really easy to push the frozen treats out of the tray:


And when you flip them over to display the "right" side, they are so cute!:


They're almost cartoonish. That's a chicken-stock pup-sicle on top, with a squash one underneath, and a carrot one on the bottom of the pileup:


I feed my pugs these goodies outside because, just like children, they make a mess when they eat frozen things:


I make each pug "Sit" and "Wait." Treats are a fantastic way to reinforce basic good manners in dogs:


Mu Shu stares intently at his goodie, waiting for my signal:


Ohhhh, so hard to wait, isn't it, Pao Pao?


I say "Okay!," and they spring into action. It's almost frightening, how swiftly they wolf down their yummies:


If you don't want to spring for a silicone tray like this, a simple ice-cube tray works, too. I find it a trifle harder to pop the frozen cubes out of the tray, but using the tip of a knife helps them to release:


I keep one ice-cube tray just for the dogs. I've marked it with a sticker, available wherever kosher foods are sold. But you could use a different-colored tray, or mark one try with a marker, to accomplish the same goal.

It's good to mark the dogs' ice-cube tray this way because chicken stock and lemon juice (which I also freeze in cubes) look almost exactly the same at a glance!

(Mu Shu tends to get an upset tummy when he eats frozen goodies too fast; he appreciates my holding his so he can lick it.)

When making dog treats, simple, unsalted, unspiced ingredients are best. Plain, nonfat yogurt. Banana. Sweet potato. Low-fat buttermilk. Baby-food vegetables that contain no salt. That sort of thing. I like baby food, because it's simple, pure, ready-to-eat, and one little jar makes five or six "bones" for my pugs:


Keep in mind that if you're going to make treats with calorie-dense ingredients (like peanut butter or whole-fat plain yogurt), you may have to reduce the amount of regular food you feed them that day.

Otherwise you may end up with a roly-poly pet.


Unless you have pugs, in which case they're already roly-poly.

You just don't want them to get roly-poly-er.









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