Here is the thing, we cannot let our dogs decide what to eat. Just because they seem perfectly happy with the wholesale, discounted dog treats, it does not mean these treats are good for them. Let's face it, as much as we love to believe our dogs are smart, selective and gourmet dogs, they do pick up craps on the street. Once I witness somebody I knew feeding her dog a piece of butter cake. I told her that cakes are not good for the dog. Her response was "but my dog is such a picky eater, I am just glad he's even interested in the cake!". Out of courtesy, I decided to stay out of it, and also not to point out that her dog is over-weight. The picky-eater behaviour does not make the poor pooch a gourmet. It could be signs of having too many treats, health issues or simply the dog is not food-driven (which is fine!) I thought it would be important to highlight this is because many people thought I bake for Milton because he is a picky eater. It's the opposite. He loves food too much! Therefore I decided to control his intake. With meticulous control of the ingredients and processes, I can make sure Milton gets the highest quality cookies. It is with this very same principle, I created CiaoMilton pup bakery. I want to provide dogs with yummy treats that are "low fat" and "nutritious". These are my two main objectives because obesity is one of the most common health issues in canines, and why not make every single bite meaningful (and nutritious).
In case you are curious, these are some of the steps I take when I bake dog cookies.
cleaning - I always wash the ingredients I use thoroughly, including the meat, bones, organs, vegetables, to ensure unwanted chemical residues and germs are washed off.
eliminating fat - probably one of the most important steps. For the chicken liver treats, for example, I would cut out all the visible fat and remove tough tissues before blending. For the homemade broth, I put the cooked broth in the fridge overnight before using it. This allows me to easily remove the fat from the surface of the broth the next morning. We want the flavour and collagen, not the fat.
grounding - many of my recipes contain flaxseeds. Flaxseeds is a great resource of omega 3 and 6 fatty acid which are great for coat and skin, and the alpha-linolenic acid can give the immune system a boost. However, if the seeds were not grounded or at least cracked open, they go right out through the other end.
kneading - kneading is usually a crucial step in bread making to ensure gluten is well-developed so the bread is light and airy. However, since the gluten-free and grain-free flour I use absorbs moisture quite fast, without hand kneading, it is nearly impossible to incorporate the dough properly. This step allows me to curate the ingredients instead of following regular recipes. I can use oats, chickpea, buckwheat and/or coconut flour which are low in fat and gluten-free (the last three are even grain-free!).
dehydration - leaving cookies in a dehydrator at low temperature (30 - 40 degrees) for more than 8 hours will eliminate accessive moistures in the cookies, and resulting crunchy bites with longer shelf-life (1 ~ 2 months if stored well). It's unlikely your pooch would take that long to consume the cookies, but we want no risk feeding molding cookies!
A lot of thoughts, planning and efforts have been put into baking the CiaoMilton dog cookies and I am continuously learning and improving the processes and recipes. It may be a girl scout hobby for some, but to me, I want to build a brand that stands for quality and honesty. At the end of the day, we are dog people, and all we want is the best for our pooch. ENJOY!!