This recipe is for all the spoiled dogs out there – naturally gluten free sardine and potato ‘mini fish cake’ cookies for dogs.
Because yes, even what goes into our dogs’ mouths can be a problem! I dislike handling dog food and treats that contain gluten due to the possible cross contamination it can cause. Some of you may think this is excessive and scream at your computer right now “just wash your hands properly after!”, but the way I see it is why bother when we can just as easily use gluten free treats!? The less contact with gluten, the better!
It especially comes in handy when out on walks where hand washing isn’t an option… or worse, on long days out and hikes where we have to handle dog treats and then our own food and snacks. I always carry baby wipes to wash my hands, but that’s not really good enough when you think that the amount of gluten needed to make a Coeliac sick (20 part per million) is so minuscule it’s not even visible. I don’t know about you, but I’m just not willing to take any risks, especially when it could ruin a day out!
And with all the hugs and kisses my dogs love to give, let’s just say it’s safer for them to go gluten free too! lol
Besides cross contamination issues, gluten free (and just generally grain free) treats are actually healthier for dogs anyway! Being opportunistic carnivores, dogs’ digestive systems are not made to handle grains very well. Unfortunately the pet food industry is a minefield, with so many brands of food and treats being filled with awful unnecessary ingredients, like wheat/gluten. Depending on where you live, it can be hard to find good healthy species appropriate foods and treats (not to mention how expensive they can be), so this is one more reason to make your own.
And did you know that dogs can be gluten intolerant too? I’m on a Coeliac group on Facebook where people report that their dogs have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance by their vets and prescribed grain free foods. This always sends everyone in fits of giggles at the thought of their whole families needing to be gluten free, including the dog haha, but it’s true!
My dogs have been raised on grain free raw and air dried raw foods (like Ziwipeak, Nature’s Menu and Natural Instinct) so their digestive systems are not really used to wheat. As a result, whenever family, friends or people at the park give them wheat containing treats or ‘human food’ (against my wishes), they always end up with digestive issues later! So no thanks, I’ll stick to healthy gluten free dog treats. 🙂
- 350g cooked potatoes (I used canned new potatoes to save time)
- 1 tin / 85g canned sardines (I used Essential Waitrose sardines in water)
- 1 egg
- 2 to 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- A bit of flour (just enough to get the right consistency. I use Doves Farm gluten free flour blend, but feel free to use whatever flour you want – coconut, rice, corn, potato, buckwheat, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 175C (about 350F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Cook the potatoes.
- Mash the cooked potatoes and sardines in a bowl. Make sure the potatoes are well drained to avoid ending up with too much liquid.
- Add the egg and coconut oil and mix well. If the coconut oil is solid, melt in the microwave first to make it easier to blend.
- Slowly add flour little by little until you reach a consistency that isn’t too sticky, but not too dry either. Just enough to be able to mould the cookies into shapes with your hands.
- Mould the cookies in your desired shape and place them on the baking tray.
- Bake until the top starts hardening up and turn them over to cook the other side.
- From there you can keep them as soft cookies, but if you want to increase their shelf life, you can then go on to dehydrate them like I did by lowering the oven temperature to between 120-150C (250-300F). It shouldn’t take too long, but keep checking them and turning them over from time to time. It’s hard to give a time estimate as it will vary depending on the size of your cookies and your oven. To speed up the process, make the cookies small and thin.
I’m very happy with the result – cookies that have a good texture/hold properly/don’t crumble at all, but are easily broken into smaller pieces. Perfect to take on walks or for training purposes. And more importantly, very nutritious. Sardines, coconut oil and eggs have many health benefits for dogs.
Oh and besides, the dogs absolutely love them! They’ve been staring and whining at the treat jar ever since so you may want to hide them out of their sight (instead of teasing them cruelly like I did)! haha
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