Recipes

Fourth of July Dog Treats

Every Fourth of July, we join friends for a picnic at Mt. Tabor, and I insist on bringing cutesy red-white-and-blue desserts. This year, Porter the hound dog is joining us, as well, so it’s only fitting that he and Rigby get their own patriotic cookies!

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A lot of holiday dog treat recipes I see call for food coloring, or sugary sprinkles, or yogurt frosting (which never sets exactly how I want it to). I tried to make these a little healthier, so the colors come from dried blueberries and strawberries instead.

The remaining ingredients – flour and baby food – are really flexible! If your dog is sensitive to grain, feel free to substitute with chickpea flour.

I used a chicken & apple baby food, but you can choose your dog’s favorite flavor. You could also use canned pumpkin, or any homemade puree.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries and blueberries, or 3/4 cup of dehydrated berries
  • 1/3 cup baby food
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cup flour

Directions

  1. If you’re dehydrating your own berries, start by preheating the oven to 225°F.
  2. Slice the strawberries, and lay them out with the blueberries in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake the berries for about 2 hours, then remove and let cool. Cut them into smaller pieces if desired.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F.
  5. Mix the berries, baby food, egg, and peanut butter together in a bowl.
  6. Gradually add the flour and mix until combined. The dough will be fairly stiff, like a sugar cookie dough – if it’s too sticky, add more flour; if it isn’t coming together after kneading a bit, add some water.
  7. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough out to about ¼” thickness.
  8. Cut out your shapes and arrange them on your baking sheet (use a fresh sheet of parchment paper).
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden at the edges.

 

It’s also a good idea to have treats handy once the fireworks begin. If your dog is only slightly nervous, you can get away with giving them a reward after every “bang.” Eventually, your dog will associate the once-scary sound with incoming food – like a really loud clicker!

However, if your dog goes into full-on panic mode, it’s probably best to start desensitization earlier than the day-of. Play firework sounds from YouTube at a low volume, pairing with treats. Increase the volume slowly, working over the course of multiple sessions/days so your dog is never over her fear threshold. You can also ask your vet about anti-anxiety meds, or CBD-infused dog treats.

And remember – you can’t reinforce fear! Comforting your dog when she’s scared will not make her more scared next time. So snuggle up with some blankets and spray-cheese and enjoy a cozy night in. Your pup will thank you for it!

How does your dog do around fireworks? Does she benefit most from treats, cuddles, or distractions? Share in the comments below!

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