Whole Story

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Make Your Own Dog Biscuits

By Chris Jensen, July 17, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chris Jensen
As an avid homebrewer who is also environmentally conscientious, I’ve looked for creative ways to use the byproducts of brewing beer, including the spent grain. Spent grain is the byproduct of an early stage of the brewing process called mashing and consists of a couple pounds of grain that is used up for beer but still quite nutrient rich. Spent grains are primarily made up of carbohydrates, proteins and lignin, which make excellent compost for the garden and delicious whole grain for baking bread (in fact, some of our stores actually use spent grain from local breweries to bake bread). I’d also heard that spent grain acts as a great source of protein and vitamins for animals. Always looking for new ways to delight our loving lab, Yampa, I decided to bake dog treats out of the grain. I found a few simple recipes on homebrewer forums and modified them to fit Yampa’s palate (she served as the official taste tester). I added diced apples and organic 365 Everyday Value peanut butter to the grains to make them extra flavorful...in fact, they looked so delightful that I helped myself to a bite! While they are a little on the bland side to my sophisticated taste buds, they are divine to a canine. I rolled them up into bite-sized balls before baking, which made them dry efficiently and are the perfect size for a little snack for Yampa. She loves them! And they make an inexpensive and eco-friendly gift for all of our dog-loving friends and family. Of course, not everyone is a homebrewer with spent grain. No worries! We created a homemade dog treat recipe with universal appeal. Most dogs we know love peanut butter, so that’s a featured ingredient. We also included banana and egg to hold the treats together, along with oat flour and rolled oats, and parsley for breath-freshening action. You can shape the treats to the optimum size according to the size of your pooch. Also note that if your dog has trouble chewing some things, you should grind the rolled oats in a food processor before adding them to the other ingredients. These treats are free of wheat, corn and soy ingredients, as some dogs have sensitivities to these ingredients. So, try making your own dog treats and let us know what you and your best friend think about them! Happy baking!




Jessie Walker says ...
Yampa's such a cute girl. Roof!!!! But seriously great article.
07/22/2010 2:14:54 PM CDT
Connie E. - Oley PA Area says ...
Was thrilled to see this nice little addition to your website on pet foods and recipes. As soon as I saw the recipe, I made a batch. We have two dogs and had friends visiting with their two. A big Paws Up for these cookie snacks. They ALL loved them. I've already mader another batch. I'm big on making my own wholesome foods and treats for our four-legged family members (and neighbors). Can use Spelt, Oat, or Millet flour to ensure allergin free results. Thanks for a truly unique cookie recipe. It's a keeper.
07/26/2010 9:56:28 AM CDT
Chica says ...
Can you use whole wheat flour instead of the oat flour? That's all I have on hand.
07/26/2010 3:39:00 PM CDT
DC says ...
I too am a homebrewer and have used my spent grains in homemade bread. We actually used the yeast cake from a porter and the spent grains from the same batch to make a really good bread. I also have dogs and have made treats for them - I just had never thought of "spent grains" in dog treats. I will definitely have to try this! I have seen warnings, though, that hops can cause "malignant hyperthermia" in dogs, sometimes fatally. Fortunately in the brewing process, hops are added to the wort after the spent grains are out of the equation so there should be no problems... but just be careful handling/storing hops if you have dogs. Thanks for the recipes!
07/26/2010 4:16:36 PM CDT
Tina says ...
I've never heard of "spent" grain. Do you perhaps mean "spelt"?
07/26/2010 4:42:50 PM CDT
Debbie Singer says ...
Thank you - I am looking for recipes for our dogs (2 English Mastiffs & usually one foster Mastiff). Please provide us with more recipes and include both cooked & raw recipes for preparing a balanced meal for them. I am sure they get tired for kibble!
07/26/2010 4:54:42 PM CDT
Kristine DeGregor says ...
They look great! And they look LAB tested too. Ha Ha I Will be making them soon. Thanks!
07/26/2010 5:19:56 PM CDT
Lori says ...
Good Idea, I never thought of making my doggie her own treats. Thanks:)
07/26/2010 10:41:45 PM CDT
vaughnm says ...
@Chica, should work fine. Thanks!
07/27/2010 3:56:22 PM CDT
ashley says ...
Thanks for the article. My husband is a home brewer and we have never thought about recycling the grains. That is a great idea. I am wondering if you actually have a written recipe? Do you just use all the grains and add to them? Do you run water over the grains or put them straight in?
07/27/2010 5:33:52 PM CDT
jeanie m kraft says ...
Be careful not to use hops in your cookies as it is harmful for dogs. Also wheat has gluten which exacerbates allergies in some dogs and also makes arthritic pain worse. Use a gluten free flour like rice. Oats are great for dogs who are stressed out!
07/27/2010 7:49:36 PM CDT
Karin says ...
I know someone already mentioned this, but I wanted to reiterate that dogs must be kept away from spent hops used in the brewing process. If ingested, hops can cause malignant hyperthermia and death. Otherwise, love the story and recipe!
07/29/2010 11:12:08 AM CDT
Judith Conrad says ...
I have not looked at your recipe yet, but will. I would be interested in guidelines of things to avoid in making Doggie Biscuits. Like I have heard to not add Chocolate. My dog will eat almost anything he is allowed.
07/29/2010 1:26:43 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
cat treat recipes?
07/30/2010 10:09:55 AM CDT
Amy B says ...
@ Tina, "spent" as in already used...used during the brewing process. @ Chris Jensen: I do have access to spent grains from home-brewer fiends and family, so if I wanted to use them (making sure not to use any hopped grains), would I just substitute the spent grains for the rolled oats in the recipe? Do I need to do anything special to the spent grains, or perhaps reduce any other ingredients if using spent grains? Thanks so much for the great article and recipe idea!
08/24/2010 9:00:10 PM CDT
jensenc says ...
@ Amy B: Thanks for your question! Yes, you can substitute the grain for the oats in the recipe. I have found this to be more art than science, and so you might try adding a bit more grain if you are going to do that. I have used up to a couple cups of grain in this recipe as sometimes I have an over-abundance! You don't need to do much else, but note that because the grains can be very wet from the steeping process, you might need to bake them a bit longer to get them to optimal dryness. All - good points about the hops! I should have mentioned that, but you are correct, generally hops don't come into contact with grain using traditional brewing methods, so for most this should not be a problem.
08/26/2010 9:23:39 AM CDT
George Jenest says ...
Awesome post. I made the peanut butter treats linked in here the other day. My pugs loved them. Thanks!
07/12/2011 1:13:11 PM CDT
chris says ...
My dogs LOVE these treats...and I love making them. They are really easy and the dogs wait at the oven until they are cool enough to eat.
11/10/2011 9:20:39 PM CST
AARON says ...
i want to know how to prepare a biscuit for a market
11/09/2012 5:17:27 PM CST