gracieFrom Snoopy to Lassie, Americans love dogs. We spend millions of dollars each year just buying Christmas gifts for our dogs. Dog owners understand that the affection we give our dogs is small when compared to the blind devotion they show us.

But did you know there are health benefits to owning a pet? Pet owners have lower blood pressure and less anxiety. Many get more exercise and are less socially isolated. Our pets are often more “tuned in” to our emotions than the people around us. They show caring, compassion and love; they help us heal.

Residents of nursing homes that allow pets require less medication of all kinds including pain medication. They recover from surgery more quickly and have less depression. (Which begs the question, why aren’t pets part of every nursing home?)

Yes, I am a dog lover. And a cat lover. And I want to share a recent experience that might help other pet owners. After all, our pets help keep us healthier. So we should certainly do our very best to keep them healthy.

My Border Collie Grace was having intermittent bouts of a gagging cough. A thorough exam at the vets did not reveal any problems. But the cough continued. And then it stopped for months. And then it re-started. I really wracked my brain thinking about what was different when the cough re-started. And it hit me. We were buying “Beggin Strips” again, her favorite snacks. We had run out for a long stretch and I was reluctant to start buying them because of the price. But my husband, the softy, won out and Grace was again getting a regular daily dose of “Beggin Strips”.

I went online and found similar stories of dogs with the same nasty cough (or worse), after eating “Beggin Strips” and other dog snacks. Apparently there is no regulation on this industry and products can be chock full dangerous ingredients. Do I know for sure that the “Beggin Strips” were the cause? No. But since I tossed that very expensive bag of treats, Grace has stopped coughing.

But a life with no treats? Never. I found an old recipe for homemade dog biscuits, tweeked it and came up with this very easy cookie that both my dogs LOVE. I have passed them out to other more discriminating dogs, who have also gobbled them up. Am I nuts to be baking cookies for a dog? Only a non-dog owner would ask that question.

And so, I share this healthy recipe.

GRACIE’S TREATS

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup non fat dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add broth, peanut butter, and eggs and mix well. Batter will be thick. Knead 5-6 times on floured surface, then roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut in shapes or roll into large rectangle and cut into bite size squares with a pizza cutter for a very quick and easy dog treat.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Keeps well in a sealed container. Does not require refrigeration.