Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5-7 mins
Cool time: 2 mins
Health benefits: Very high in fibre
These are literally the easiest dog cracker treats you will ever make! Precisely two ingredients and a total of 20 mins prep, cook, and cool down time. And the best part, you don’t even need a conventional oven to make these! The crackers I’ll be making are 100% cooked in the microwave. You can, however, cook these in a conventional oven if that suits you better, I have times and temperature for oven cooking included in the recipe. And don't be fooled! As soon as you hear "cooked in the microwave" you may think soggy and tough - that is not true in this instance! I found the crackers to be light and crunchy, plus my dog is obsessed with them.
If you are like me and don’t want to break the bank by buying 100 grams of dried sweet potato dog treats (I mean seriously, sweet potato should not be that expensive), these cookies are for you!
I also cannot be the only one who find it tedious scrolling through a short novel before finding the recipe. So here’s the recipe below! More details on how I made these crackers (with photos), plus more health information, can be found if you continue reading below the recipe!
WHY THESE INGREDIENTS?
So I love to spoil my dog. But why not spoil him with healthy foods! I find that a lot of dog treats you can buy these days include ingredients like sorbitol, cane sugar, white flour, citrus, and other unfortunate ingredients. Even in the high quality, natural, expensive dog treats! Seriously, read the ingredients on your dog treats, it can be shocking. So I decided to find some recipes online so that I could make delicious dog cookies for my pup. A trend I noticed, a lot of dog cookie recipes I found included wheat flour. My theory, if I personally would not want to eat something as a snack every single day, why should my dog? So I started experimenting with alternative, wheat free flours that are actually good for my boy! And seriously, he loves them just as much if not more (they have more flavour)!
These particular crackers are very high in fibre and do not contain flour of any kind. I like to feed flaxseed to my dog every day anyway. Every dog is different but Casper needs about 3-4 teaspoons a day to keep him regular. Casper occasionally has anal gland issues if he is not regular and the flaxseed clears that up nicely.
Depending on your dog’s fibre needs, try not to feed more than 12 -15 grams of crackers per day. For the size of cracks I make, that would be at most 3-4 crackers a day.
In addition to unwanted ingredients in bought dog treats, they can be EXPENSIVE. If you are like me and don’t want to break the bank for 100 grams of dried sweet potato dog treats (I mean seriously, sweet potato should not be that expensive), these crackers are for you!
These crackers cost me about $0.62 CAD for the organic flaxseeds which made 77 grams of crackers. Considering they only took 20 mins to make, I think that’s a pretty good deal!
IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT FLAXSEED: avoid buying it pre-ground!
Flaxseed can be prone to going rancid, pre-ground flaxseed can actually be rancid already when you buy it! Buy whole flaxseeds and, if you’re not going to use them quickly, stick the whole bag in a freezer. They will store easily for months this way without running the risk of going rancid.
HOW DID I MAKE THEM?
I started with my two ingredients:
I started by grinding my flaxseed into a flour. Be sure to grind your flaxseeds before feeding them to your dog. While they’re not dangerous, whole flaxseeds are not digestible and your dog will not gain any of the health benefits - they will also taste like almost nothing! For this I used my coffee grinder. I made sure to clean it first, Casper doesn’t want coffee grounds in his crackers!
Next I measured out and added my cold water. Give that a stir with a spatula so that it is well incorporated together, I just stirred my mixture with my hands but that can get kind of messy. I then leave this to sit for about 5 mins. The flax will absorb the water making the mixture thicken. This is not a crumbly dough, but it is a bit sticky. My trick for rolling out sticky doughs is to put the dough between two layers of parchment or wax paper - no extra flour needed!
I roll the dough to about half a cm. Make sure the dough is thin so that it cooks quickly and will dehydrate fully. This is important to create a crunchy cracker and for longer storage. A moist cracker will quickly go mouldy.
After rolling you can cut the cracker into any shape you want! I kept it simply, cutting them into simple rectangles. You can also cut them using cookie cutter if you want a more exact shape!
Fun fact: my dog tends to swallow smaller treats like a pill without even tasting it! I always make my treats at least 3-4 cm (about 1.5 inches) in length, which forces him to chew them. He definitely appreciates it!
If you use parchment to roll these out, this can actually go straight into the microwave or oven! I unfortunately didn’t have any parchment paper on hand and instead used wax paper to roll them. I don’t feel comfortable microwaving wax paper for this length of time, so I transferred my cut dough to a microwavable plate. This cracker dough is surprisingly strong! Not a single one broke and they were super easy to move.
I then stuck these in the microwave for 4 mins to start.
Be sure to keep an eye on them as they cook relatively quickly. I paused the microwave a couple time here to make sure they were cooking properly. After the first 4 mins, I took them out and flipped them all over to make sure they dehydrate evenly.
WARNING! Use a towel or mitts if you’re cooking them on a plate, it is HOT!
I then put the crackers back in for another 3 mins, checking them every 1 min. At this point a lovely, nutty aroma from the cooking crackers starts to become noticeable. Some crackers finished before others, depending on the size and thickness. Any time a cracker felt fully dehydrated I pulled them off the plate and put them aside to cool. After the 3 additional mins all of them were done!
I pulled the plate out of the microwave and transferred the crackers somewhere to cool. It shouldn’t take more than two minutes to cool since these are fairly light and dry crackers.
Fun fact: when you take these out of the oven or microwave they will noticeably sound like they’re crackling as they cool down!
Note that I did try a nibble of one and guess what, it tasted like flax! I didn't add any salt or flavour because dogs have different taste than you or I would. Sure I would love some salt, garlic powder and rosemary with these, but Casper loves the taste of flax all on its own! However, some dogs are more picky with their taste and may not appreciate flax like Casper does - that's where experimenting with honey, rosemary, meat stock, peanut butter, etc is needed! I will be creating recipes for flavoured treats another time.
WARNING! Please don't add garlic powder to dog treats - garlic can be toxic to dogs in large amounts and it really isn't worth it.
Last thing worth noting, I always store my dog cookies or crackers NOT in an airtight container. This allows any possible moisture room to escape instead of being trapped in the cookie. Moisture will cause your cookies to go mouldy. I store my cookies and crackers in a paper bag or loose lid jar. You can also go so far as to add a unglazed terracotta insert to your container to absorb any extra moisture (terracotta absorbs moisture!). I wrapped this batch of crackers in a clean paper towel (I didn’t have any paper bags or jars on hand at the moment) paper towels can work in a pinch as an alternative.
Since this my first time making these crackers, let’s test what Casper thinks! (He loves being my cookie tester.) He was actually drooling the entire time I was making these, making a mess on the rug, so I’m fairly confident in his opinion.
More dog treat recipes to come!