Thursday, November 10, 2011

Furry Feeding Frenzy


If you have pets (I have a zoo!), you know that providing healthy food and snacks for them can be quite costly.  While snacks are not necessarily important for dogs & cats, they provide much needed vitamins and minerals for rodents such as rabbits and guinea pigs whose diet includes pellet food, roughage (timothy hay) and a variety of fruits & vegetables.

Princess Socko & Mr. Chalkie Bunny
When feeding vegetables to rodents, it is wise to research what types are healthy and harmful to the specific type you own.  Always do a quick search to make sure the vegetable or fruit isnt harmful to your pet.  Just because it is green doesn't mean its good for them.  An example would be Iceberg Lettuce, one of the main causes of digestion issues. You think rabbit, you think lettuce, right? Wrong. Only the dark green leaves like that of Romaine lettuce is good for them. Here's a good list of healthy foods. 

Veggies and fruits are considered snacks to most rodents and is something they crave more than anything.  Princess Socko can hear a carrot bag rattle from a mile away and she'll let you know it promptly. Fruits are given less often as the sugar is not needed (very much accepted) and can be harmful if given too much. While store bought snacks claim to provide a source of vegetables & fruits, they also use honey as a means to bind the treat together.

Honey is not good for rodents and I wouldn't recommend feeding it to them. Aside from honey, most store bought  treats contain nuts & seeds, while both piggies and rabbits enjoy those types of treats they are quite fattening.  What's even worse is that seeds and nuts are a common choking hazard for guinea pigs and smaller rodents.

With all that said ( I tend to ramble alot...)  I have researched various ways to prepare homemade snacks for my rodent babies and found this simple recipe makes for the perfect amount of healthly & sweet.

Chalko Tasties
  • 2 mashed bananas*
  • 2 carrots  shredded
  • 3 tbs oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (made myself by grinding up some oats)**
*Squeezing the banana inside the peel with your hand works wonderfully and slides out effortlessly into your mixing bowl.

**In place of the "oat flour"  you can use grinded pellet food for that particular pet. (It is not recommended to feed guinea pigs, rabbit food or vice versa.)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix banana, carrots & oats, then add in oat flour and mix well.


Using a cookie dough scoop, form the "dough" into little balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Cook for 15-20 minutes or until firm.  Let cool completely and serve.  Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the refrigerator.
Freezing Tip:  After the cooling process place the cookie sheet of snacks into your deep freeze and chill until completely frozen.  Then remove the snacks and seal them in a plastic bag.  This method (props to my mother in law on this one!)  ensures that each snack is individually frozen thus allowing them not to stick together when stored in one container.

Storage Tip:  You can also use your food dehydrator for these instead of serving them fresh.  While Chalkie Bunny enjoys them both ways, The Princess prefers the dried version.

Enjoying their tasties.
Background Notes:  Princess Socko Nug Nug (as named by my then 2 yr old, Stone) was rescued from a local pet store where her owners had brought her in for being "too old"  and not wanted.  :(  I had gone in that day to buy some fish for my 30 gallon aquarium and came home with a guinea pig. I couldn't help myself.

That holds true for Mr. Chalkie Bunny, who was the last baby rabbit being sold as a feeder rabbit.  The naive non hunter in myself had no clue what that meant until my dear husband explained that the sweet innocent baby bunny was going to be someone's dinner. Thankfully he was the only one left or I would have had my hands full today.

Moving along.....

As I said it is not necessary to give snacks to dogs or cats, (mine would disagree) snacks are useful for praising good behavior or overall making for a much loved mommy. I will not lie and say that my furries (and others, told you I had a zoo!) are not spoiled beyond reason.  In my home they are not pets, they are furry (some scaly) family members and you can't tell them otherwise.

In addition to our rodent furries, we also house two dogs, Casper (a boxer/pointer mix, rescue) and Fluff (a bischon frise/cocker spaniel purebred mutt of fluffiness) as well as two cats, The Bob (a stray that never left) and Princess Tink. (a precious girl in need of a safe home.)

Now what dog doesnt love dog biscuits of any kind?  I know my two really love those peanut butter biscuits, but I decided why buy them when I could make them and know exactly what was going into them.  I searched for homemade peanut butter dog treats and found a wonderful blog called Come On, ilene! that had just the recipe I was looking for. Peanut Buttery & healthy.
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1 cup boiling beef broth
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp  sugar
  • 1 beef bouillon cube, mashed into granules
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten (2 for a softer treat)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour.
Now I didn't have beef broth as the recipe stated, so I put a cup of water and a beef bouillon cube into a pot and the cube dissolved as it came to a boil.

Pour the oats, margarine & boiling broth into a mixing bowl and let it soften, about 10 minutes.   Stir in the other ingredients, except the flour.  Mix well, then add the flour one cup at a time until a soft dough forms.  I used the dough hook on my kitchen aid (aka The Ice Queen) so there was no need to "knead".

Roll the dough out about 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.   Using  any shaped cookie cut, make several cuts into your dough.  I was able to reknead and reroll several times and ended up with 120+ dog bones.  

Taste Tested & Doggie Approved

Casper and The Fluff as usual love a good dog biscuit, but one of their favorite treats are Frosty Paws, doggie ice cream goodness.  These little goodies are quite spendy for the amount that you get, so thanks to my fantastic sister in law, April, I was shown a recipe to make my very own.  Special thanks to Brett Winn, the original creator of this special frozen treat.

Frozen Dog Treats
  • 32 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 2 tbs of peanut butter
  • 2 tbs of honey

Mix all ingredients together.  Pour some of the batter into a ziplock bag and snip the end. (just a little snip will do.)  Squeeze filling into ice cube trays (you can also use egg cartons), I used two full size ice trays and one mini cube tray.

I had a tiny bit of batter left so I gave it to The Fluff for a bit of taste testing.

100% Fluff approved.

Put your trays in the freezer and chill until firm.  I let mine set overnight to ensure they were well frozen before moving them to a gallon ziplock to store in the deep freeze.


Now for the kitties.  I dont know about your cats but mine LOVE cheese, but really who doesnt love cheese?  The Bob has been known on several occasions to snatch some cheese cubes off the counter!  With that said I went in search of some cheesy cat treats and came across Pet Place.  They have several different variations of cat treats, but I chose to make the Savory Cheese Treats for my cheesy kitties. (Or as my BFF would say  Quesoy Gatos!) 

Ultimate Cat Stars (as named by Mason, age 3 )
  • 3/4 cup  wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 5 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • chicken broth
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the first 5 ingredients in your mixer. Add  chicken broth until a dough ball forms. (Again using The Ice Queen's dough hook)  Roll the dough out on a heavily floured surface, as it is quite sticky, about 1/4 of an inch.

Bob just knew. 

Grease a baking sheet, I used foil and cooking spray, this makes the treats slide right off the pan into a bowl when finished.
Using a tiny cookie cutter, cut out desired shapes.  You can also use a pizza cutter and make tiny squares.  This makes alot of treats, I stopped counting after 200  tiny stars. 

Some of the treats stuck in the cutter, so I used the stopper part of a medicine dropper to push it free right onto the cookie sheet.  Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, watch carefully as they may burn.

Tink thought they smelled divine.
With the leftover dough, I rekneaded & rolled it out several times and was able to make 38 dog bone shaped treats as well.  With the tiny bit of leftover, I used a pizza cutter to make small squares.  Waste Not Want not.   Store them in an air tight container or ziplock bag.



The cheesy treats were the biggest hit, loved by both the dogs & the cats.  It takes alot to make Bob beg!


I hope your furry friends enjoy these recipes as much as mine have!  If you have no pets of your own these treats would be a wonderful gift for a pet loving friend.  Just bag or bottle them up and add a festive bow!

Please leave a comment and let me know what they think!






4 comments:

  1. I'm gonna make wriley and Abbey some treats for Christmas! Payton will be in kitty heaven :( and Abbey will be living with my mom :)

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  2. btw my letters to type were "lameas" if only there was another s!

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  3. LMAO! You should have taken a screenshot!

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  4. I've made the treats for my little bunny on his birthday on Jan 19th (LOVE THEM BTW). But I still have some left over in the fridge and was wondering how long you think they are good for?

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