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Holiday Treats for Pets

This time of year it’s easy to get wrapped up in the festivities of the holidays, especially when it comes to holiday foods and treats. So I always make an effort to remember my three indoor cats and many outdoor feathered friends with homemade feasts and cookies designed especially for their needs.

Creating holiday treats for our pets and outdoor wildlife is a fun family project that you can do indoors on any cold winter’s day. I started years ago by making simple outdoor bird treats made with sunflower seeds that I picked up at my local Kmart. I coated small pinecones with peanut butter, rolled the coated pinecones in sunflower seeds and hung them on an outdoor bay tree. This year I strung popcorn and dried cranberries to decorate the bay tree.

Furry friends enjoy the festivities of feasting as well. One way to provide that feast is by making a squirrel ball mobile that you hang from a tree branch or shrub. The squirrels will provide hours of entertainment while they try to retrieve and eat their holiday treat. All you need is popcorn, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, and enough softened peanut butter so the ingredients stick together. Roll the mixture into 2 inch diameter balls, then place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. After a couple of hours in the refrigerator, the balls will have hardened and will be ready for hanging outdoors.

Cookies are also part of what makes the holidays special. But when it comes to dogs and cats, it’s best to forgo the human treats. That’s because uncooked dough, certain nuts and foods containing caffeine can be toxic to your pets. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in cats. And chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats.

Instead, give your pet their own holiday treat with the biscuit and cookie recipes that follow. I like to specialize the treats with the pet-themed metal cookie cutter set available at Kmart’s online store.

Start a new tradition now and set out a smorgasbord of tasty treats for feathered and furry friends alike. You’ll find that they are as much fun to make as they are for our pets and outdoor wildlife to eat.


Kitty Cookies

1 1/2 cup unbleached flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

3 tablespoons wheat germ

3/4 cup chicken or fish stock

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 (6-ounce) can salmon, packed in oil or water, undrained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flours, cornmeal, wheat germ, chicken or fish stock, oil and salmon until dough forms a ball. Add additional flour or water, if necessary.

2. Lightly flour work surface. Pat or roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into different shapes with holiday- or pet-themed cookie cutters.

3. Transfer cutouts to ungreased baking sheets. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until firm. Using a spatula, remove treats from baking sheets to wire racks and let cool completely. Store treats in refrigerator in a container.

Diggety-Doggy Biscuits

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached or all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1/4 cup dry powdered milk

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 egg, slightly beaten

cold water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flours, cornmeal, flax seed meal, powdered milk, honey and salt. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in peanut butter until mixture is crumbly.

2. Stir in chicken stock and beaten egg. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms a ball. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 2 to 3 minutes. Pat or roll dough out to a 1/2 inch thick circle. Use pet-shaped cookie cutters to cut out treats, then place cutouts on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and transfer biscuits to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Store treats in an airtight container.

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  1. What a fun winter project to do with the kids! I will give these those dog biscuits a try this holiday break!

    1. In response to SHC-JulieK

      Careful that you don't break your pretty teeth on those biscuits, Julie - yukyukyukyuk !

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