Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Nearly Free Dog Treats

 I like to spoil my dogs, and give them treats when they are being really good. I also give them treats to train them with, to encourage them to be good, and just because I love them and enjoy watching them enjoy their treats so much. But with the number of dogs I have ended up with, and the majority of them are large, buying that many dog treats on a regular basis just isn't possible. Plus, many of those store bought dog treats have stuff in them that I don't want to feed my dogs.

You can make some pretty tasty dog treats simply out of stale bread and a little of that frying grease that you were getting ready to toss out. Any kind of old bread will do (so long as it is just stale and isn't molded). Our local discount bread store often has what they call "feed bread" for sale. It is bread that is outdated far enough that they aren't allowed to sell it for human consumption, but it isn't molded yet. A bag of it usually has from 4 to 6 loaves of bread in it for $1. Lately they have had a big surplus of it and most of it has had 6 loaves in it.  Let me tell you, you can get a LOT of dog treats out of 6 loaves of bread!

You can also use slices of homemade bread if you actually have any that has dried out beyond use. Stale hamburger buns, old biscuits,donuts, hot rolls, anything of the like can be used.

You will also need some 'tasty' fat. The best thing to use (for your little fur ball's favorite flavor) is that grease you have been frying your meat in and you just don't dare use it again but really don't want to throw it away. You can also use butter (a little more costly), fat that you have skimmed off of soup, or any kind of meat drippings.

Preheat your oven to about 350 F. Lay your bread slices out on a cookie sheet. If you are using burger buns, hot dog buns, rolls, etc, cut them in half and lay them out flat. If your fat is solid and not liquid, melt it in a small pan before your next step. With a basting brush, lightly brush the top of each bread slice with the fat of your choice. A little garlic powder can also be sprinkled on at this time if you (or your dog) likes, but that is optional. Cut each bread slice into the right sizes for your dog to eat. My dogs like them cut into long strips. Spread them out evenly around on the cookie sheet, making sure there is air space around each one.

Place the pan of bread slices in the preheated oven. Bake for about 5 minutes, to get them started drying, then turn the oven down to about 250 F. Bake until they are completely dry and no moisture is left. Be sure and check on them often to prevent burning. When I think they are done. I turn the oven off and let they stay until all is cool to be sure no moisture is left in them. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Feed to your dog as a treat as desired. Mine love them! They not only like the flavor, but they love the type of crunch these treats provide. Oh, and my cats love them, too!

Anytime you have a little bit of grease/fat that you would normally toss out, put it in a container and into the freezer to save for when you also have some old bread and then time to make your pet some tasty, and nearly free, treats!

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