Apple Bacon Dog Treats

by Kris on August 6, 2012

Two Saturdays ago was one of the hottest on record. It was 108 degrees in the shade and the air felt thick with humidity. Greg and I had no plans for the day and found ourselves frustrated with the lack of options. It was far too hot to do anything outside. Even swimming was out of the question. We’ve been to all the museums and galleries in Dallas, and frankly didn’t feel like doing any of them. The mall was out of the question as everyone seems to flock there on days like this. Even just going for a drive seemed unbearable. The lack of AC in our old truck had a lot to do with that sentiment. After much frustration we both decided to take a drive to the SPCA and look at animals. It’s fun to play with the dogs and cats, and it’s a lot cheaper than the zoo! (Or so we thought).

Walking through the entrance we were greeted by a wave of cold, air conditioned air and the sound of Sarah McLachlan playing quietly through the overhead speakers. That’s when I remembered the last time we visited the SPCA. I left balling my eyes out from the thought of all those poor homeless animals and the song “I will remember you” playing in my head for days. As we strolled the halls we looked into each glass window. Sometimes we were greeted by a smiling face and others a growling and howling mess.

As we turned the corner, a little face poked up from one of the glass windows. A small, fox like dog named Dexter just smiled at me. I went up to the window and he just sat there smiling. One of the workers at the SPCA noticed me looking through the window and asked if I wanted to go in and meet Dexter. I obliged. Greg and I entered the room and Dexter sat there patiently. He was shy and very quiet, but I immediately felt a bond.

The woman told us that Dexter was three years old, although he spent two of those years on the street. He was adopted as a puppy but the family lost him and two years later the SPCA found him roaming the streets of Oak Cliff. He had a chip in his ear so they were able to find his family, however they had already moved on. Dexter then spent a week in the shelter when a second family adopted him. Unfortunately a week later they returned him as they could not handle Dexter’s crate anxiety. This poor little pup had experienced so much abandonment in his short life.

While the woman told us Dexter’s story he had fallen asleep, curled up by my legs. The woman told us he was house broken and was great on a leash. I looked over at Greg and I could tell he too had fallen in love with Dexter. They allowed us to take him for a walk, and it completely made his day, and ours. When we brought him back Greg turned to me and said ” I think we can do this”, and I replied, “I think so too”. Twenty minutes later we were signing the adoption papers and leaving the SPCA with a dog!

Dexter adjusted quickly to his new home and even befriended our feisty cat! The first few days he was very shy and nervous. If we encountered another dog on his walk, he would scour and hide behind my legs. He also didn’t seem very hungry, despite being almost three pounds underweight. We tried countless varieties of food and treats, but nothing peaked his interest. I decided to take it into my own hands and began doing research on foods that dogs can and can’t eat. After reading countless articles online, asking numerous questions to our vet and researching the ingredients on the back of dog food bags, I took to the kitchen.

While I mixed, pureed and chopped, Dexter sat in the kitchen curiously watching every move. I saw his eyes light up when I removed the bacon from the hot pan and placed it in the food processor. When the buzzer went off, I took the dog treats out of the oven and set them on a rack to cool. All the while I could see Dexter become more and more curious. Once they were cool, it was judgement time. I broke off a small piece and set it on the ground next to him. Without hesitation he gobbled it up and looked at me for more. A complete success! I found something he would eat!

We’ve been trying hard to socialize him by bringing him to the dog park, friends houses,  farmer’s markets and even patios for drinks. I can now say that his personally has come out and he’s quickly becoming less shy and nervous. I’ll bring my homemade dog treats with me on errands and give him one when he sits, lays down or even just approaches a stranger. When we went to the dog park last week, I brought some treats. That was not a good move because all he wanted to do was eat treats and all the other dogs wanted some too! I left with a few bruises and scratches from that experience! I guess that’s how I know they’re good!

So my life has become a little more hectic with a full time job, a new dog, and with Greg recovering from shoulder surgery (that’s another story), but in the end I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I know that Greg and I will be able to give Dexter the happy home he deserves and that he’ll never be abandoned again. When I look into his big innocent brown eyes, I can tell that he knows his new humans are here to stay.

But if there is one lesson I have learned, it’s that visiting the SPCA is not cheaper than going to the zoo!

Apple Bacon Dog Treats

Yield 18-20 treats

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup oat flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 2 cups carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. bacon grease (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. chocolate free sprinkles (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together rolled oats, oat flour, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, ground pumpkin seeds, and ground flax seeds.
  3. Add carrots and apples to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add peanut butter, bouillon cubes, honey, egg, bacon, and bacon grease (if using) and pulse until well combined. With the food processor running, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until a thick dough forms.
  4. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until it is about ¼ inch thick. Press a dog bone shaped cookie cutter into the dough and transfer each cookie to the prepared cookie sheets. I also made some smaller treats for training using a small circular cookie cutter.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden in color. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once cool you can optionally ice the treats with cream cheese and sprinkle the tops with chocolate free sprinkles. (Great for special occasions)
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Note: stored in a sealed container or cookie jar the treats will last about one week. The cookies can also be frozen for future use.

Dexter says “Save a life, support your local SPCA!”

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Caren August 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

Good for you for rescuing such a little sweetheart!!!!!! What a great story!

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Lesley August 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

Dexter is sooo cute!! Congrats on your new adorable pooch!

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Rima August 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Awesome story! Dexter is one lucky doggie!! I loved baking cookies for my dog as well!!

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Jennifer O August 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Wonderful story! I’ve worked in animal rescue and its heartbreaking to hear and see all the sad tales, but such a wonderful thing to see a family bond with a new rescued pet. I’ve fostered a couple animals with bad crate anxiety, but it gets better! We had to move the crate to the other side of the house so we could sleep, but every night the crying got shorter and shorter until it eventually stopped. Giving them a chew toy or stuffed King before bed helped.

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Susan August 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Dexter is too a-freaking-dorable! I cannot go to the SPCA either – I either leave with a new friend or in tears. Ours has a petting zoo but you have to go through the dog kennels to get there, sneaky! Good on you for doing what you can! :)

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Callie August 14, 2012 at 7:56 am

Hi Kris!

This recipe and story (especially the story) are fantastic! Would you be interested in letting Best Bully Sticks post this on their blog? I think our reader’s would gobble it up! (literally!) If you are interested, let me know. You can email me at callie.bestbullysticks@gmail.com.

Thanks! (Dexter is such a sweetie!)
Callie Blackwell (Social Media Manager)

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marcia August 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm

HI there! These looked so good I had to try them…but they are hopelessly sticky and impossible to cut with a cookie cutter but my cutter IS a greyhound, so a little more detail than a bone. but i just wound up putting them on the pan in helterskelter shapes. i can’t wait for them to come out….any suggestions on fixing the next batch’s stickiness if my greys love them and I want to make again?

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Kris August 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm

If you find them too wet for the greyhound cookie cutter, try refrigerating them overnight. You could also add more flour, one tablespoon at a time until the dough is workable. Let me know how your dogs like them!

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marcia August 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

SIX paws up! and the people liked them too (probably the extra crispy bacon i ground up since we had extra)…..we will be making these again. i buy my food through work as the clinic has an account with the distributor and i have SOOOO many bags o’ treats that the dogs just won’t eat since I have to buy a case at a time…i leave the dropped biscuits out all day on the deck and when the squirrels eat them, that’s the only time the dogs don’t chase the squirrels…it’s like Yes, get rid of those nasty things for us!

thank you for this recipe. it was easy and i’ll double it and maybe just do a whole day of baking and have a months’ worth of cookies in the fridge! and I’ll thicken them as advised.

thank for for inventing this great recipe….i just realized, i forgot the garlic. they LOVE garlic.

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Stephanie August 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I don’t know if I’m just ultra emotional today (which is entirely possible) but I cried my way through your entire blog post. So cute! and then sad! and then happy! It’s so great that you all found each other. It makes my heart ache.

Pinning these treats to try for my dog.. however, my dog will literally eat anything so maybe they’ll be wasted on her.

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sunidhi August 28, 2012 at 7:42 am

thanks a lot i always prepare food for my family member. i thankful to u this time i can prepare something special for my lovely dogie…………

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Jenny Jay September 14, 2012 at 12:08 am

Okay, I want to make these immediately (like tomorrow maybe). My dog has been eating some dog food with BHA listed as one of the first ingredients. It also has “Animal Digest” whatever that is, in it (*shivers*). I, unfortunately do not have all the ingredients for this recipe.. This sounds much better than that dog food he’s been eating.

1/3 cup rolled oats (I have this)
2/3 cup oat flour (I have this)
1/3 cup wheat germ (No)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I have this)
¼ cup ground pumpkin seeds (I do not have, but I have some left over pumpkin puree, which I heard is great for dogs).
1 tbsp. ground flax seeds (Not at home currently)
2 cups carrots, roughly chopped (No)
1 apple, cored and sliced (No)
½ cup natural peanut butter (Yes)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (Yes)
1 tbsp. honey (I do not have, but I do have agave!)
1 egg (I have)
3-4 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled (No)
1 tbsp. bacon grease (optional) (No)
1/4 cup cream cheese (optional) (No)
1 tbsp. chocolate free sprinkles (optional) (No)

You think it’d be alright to still make them? I kinda want to add the plain organic pumpkin puree into the mix… Because otherwise it’s gonna go to waste. Also, any ideas on what to use if you don’t have a cookie cutter? :|

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Kris September 14, 2012 at 6:52 am

Give it a try! If the dough seems too wet add a bit more flour. I’d love to know how they turn out. If you don’t have a cookie cutter you could roll the dough out and use the top of a wine glass. Good luck!

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Amanda November 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Such a touching story. I also adopted a dog this month from the shelter. If it wasnt for me, Im sure hed still be there. but Where can I find Chocolate free sprinkles?

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Kris November 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

Most grocery store carry chocolate free sprinkles, just double check the ingredients. Most of them are just sugar and coloring.

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Maria November 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Aww Dexter, he’s so cute! Lovely story! Your little one reminds me of my Diego, they look so much alike. Kids also point at him in the streets and say “look mom a fox” or “wolf!” ;-) I’m making these treats for Diego.

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Diane Behnke December 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

I know my dogs would love these and I would love to make them. I only wonder about the bacon. From all I have read and my vet has told me, pork is very bad for dogs. I do however see it listed in many dog foods and treats. So what’s the scoop?

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Cassie December 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Loved reading the story of how you adopted Dexter! What a darling dog! We rescued our Daisy who was a survivor from the Joplin tornado, so our family can definitely relate to loving a dog with anxiety. Can’t wait to try your treats. Daisy is picky, but she sure does love bacon and peanut butter. All the best to you and your sweet dog.

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May February 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

It sounds like those treats are going to make one happy puppy. Dexter certainly deserves them!

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Genevieve April 6, 2013 at 12:44 am

This post made me happy! Thank you for adopting a shelter dog and bringing doggie-love into your home! Looking forward to trying the recipe out on my two pitties!!

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