A Jensen Beach, FL Veterinarian Weighs In On Dog Biscuits

Our canine pals are all very unique individuals, and they all have their own personalities and preferences. One thing they all agree on? Their love of treats! Treats are not only a good way to get Fido’s cute tail going, they are also very useful for bonding and training. Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day is officially February 23rd, but Fido actually celebrates this all year long. A local Jensen Beach, FL vet offers some advice on giving your pooch his treats in this article.

Is It Ok For Dogs To Eat Biscuits?

Yes! Treats help with training, bonding, and they also just brighten up your pet’s day. They can help provide a sense of routine, which is also beneficial. Our furry pals feel most secure when they are kept on a pretty set schedule. It’s not a bad thing if your dog expects a treat for showing you his repertoire of cute tricks, or even before bed!

The key here is not to go overboard. That can also be the hard part. Man’s Best Friend is not only super cute, he’s also very, very good at begging. In general, treats should only make up about five percent of your pet’s daily intake. However, you’ll want to ask your Jensen Beach, FL veterinarian for more specific advice.

What Is The History Of The Dog Biscuit?

We’ve been friends with Fido for thousands of years. In fact, some studies indicate that dogs have been our furry best friends for as much as 30,000 years. It’s probably safe to assume that we’ve been giving our canine friends table scraps for quite a long time.

One of the earliest mentions—if not the earliest mention—of dog biscuits dates back to the Roman Empire. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon for dogs to be given scraps of bread. In fact, a Roman poet named Marcus Terentius Varro mentioned giving Fido meat, bones, and barley soaked in milk in his manual ‘Farm Topics.’

Fast forward several hundred years, to 14th century France, and we’ll find another book about Fido’s menu. This one was written by Gaston III, the eleventh Count of Foix Count. He apparently fed his greyhounds bran bread and hunted meat.

The modern dog biscuit came about around the 1800’s, when a business man named James Spratt created the first commercially-prepared dog biscuit. This was a mix of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood. Other companies soon followed suit. In 1907, chemist Carleton Ellis, reshaped Fido’s cookies into that iconic bone shape. This revolutionary change led to the development of the milk bone, which Fido still enjoys today.

How Do I Choose Safe Treats?

First and foremost, read the label. Make sure that your canine pal’s treats contain only wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Meat, fish, or poultry should be listed first on the label, and should appear more than any other ingredient.

Only offer things that are the right size for Fido. Your furry friend could choke or hurt his teeth on something made for a larger or smaller pooch!

We would also recommend monitoring recalls. While these do not happen often, occasionally a bad batch does slip through. You can follow updates at the FDA site here or the AMVA site here. Another option is to set up google alerts.

What Are Unsafe Treats For My Dog?

The big one here would be rawhide. While it’s very popular with dogs, it can also be very dangerous. It can break off into bits, which can then become a choking hazard. Rawhide can also cause serious internal issues. Stick with safer options! Ask your vet for advice on this.

What Are Safe People Foods For Dogs?

As mentioned above, Fido ate table scraps for most of history. Quite a few things on our menu are safe for him. Plain meat, fish, or poultry, without the skin, bones, or fat, is a good bet. Your canine friend can also have many types of fruits and veggies, such as apples, sweet potato, spinach, peas, carrots, and broccoli. That said, you should never offer your pet anything without researching it first. Your Jensen Beach, FL veterinarian can offer more detailed information.

What Foods Should I Not Give My Dog?

It’s also important to know what isn’t safe for your canine buddy. Don’t offer your pooch garlic, onions, scallions, or chives; pitted fruit; avocado; alcohol; chocolate; or high-fructose corn syrup.  Grapes and raisins are also unsafe, as is meat on the bone, raw dough or yeast, and anything that contains xylitol and a lot of salt, sugar, or fat.

Can I Make My Dog’s Treats?

If you like baking, you can certainly try making homemade treats. Start with some sort of base. You can use things like chopped or minced meat; sodium-free broth; liver powder; ripe bananas; natural peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol); fat-free yogurt; or pureed pumpkin. Other good options include things like egg, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ oil, and sodium-free broth.

To customize Fido’s snacks, you can add things like bacon bits, shredded cheese, bits of kibble, or safe fruits and veggies, such as peas, green beans, or spinach. 

While this isn’t a must, if you enjoy cooking for your dog, you can get an appliance just for that! These are a lot like the typical waffle maker or panini press, but have a bone-shaped pocket for the batter. While your furry pal probably won’t much care what his treats look like, it’s not a bad idea to give them a distinctive shape. 

Here are a few recipes you can try:

Turkey Woofers For these, you’ll combine some plain, cooked boneless turkey meat with cheese and egg. You can also incorporate baby food and/or safe fruits and veggies, such as peas, carrots, sweet potatoes. Combine in a food processor to mix it, then divide into small portions. Cook at 375 for a half hour.

Chicken Bites Mix some plain canned chicken with shredded cheese, bacon bits, whole-wheat flour, and sodium-free chicken broth. Divide into small servings, and cook at 350 F for 15 mins.

Basic Pumpkin Pup Bites Pureed pumpkin mixed with some natural peanut butter forms the basis for this one.  Add two large eggs and some whole-wheat flour. Cook at 400F for about 15 minutes.

Yogurt/PB Bites For these, you’ll combine natural peanut butter with fat-free yogurt and some mashed banana. Pureed pumpkin or sweet potato also works. Divide into small bits, and cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Instant tail wags!

Doggy Biscuits Mix eggs, whole-wheat flour, and olive oil or wheat germ oil. You can customize Fido’s cookies by using some of the ingredients listed above, such as bacon bits or shredded meat. Divide the batter into small portions, and cook at 350 for 30 minutes. 

Liver Woofs Mix some whole-wheat flour, eggs, and beef liver. Use a food processor to mix the ingredients into a batter, then cook them at 350 for 30 minutes.

Be sure to only use safe ingredients. If you’re using peanut butter, opt for a brand that doesn’t contain xylitol. If you include baby food, make sure it doesn’t contain garlic, onion, avocado, or any of the other unsafe ingredients. FInally, don’t forget to make Fido do a trick for his treat! 

Do you have questions about giving your dog his biscuits? Contact us, your Jensen Beach, FL veterinary clinic, today! We are always happy to help!

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