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High-Value Dog Treats

High-Value Dog Treats

High-Value Dog Treats

Mabel’s gut is almost healed after four rounds of antibiotics. I’ve worked closely with my primary and holistic veterinarians to help mend her tummy microbiome, but it’s taken time.

So I’ve recently and very slowly reintroduced dairy to my sweet girl after being unsure for months if she was allergic. Her current favorite Bark Pouch blend is our Sardines & Cream Cheese Recipe. I love her bright “give me” eyes when I unscrew the cap and her wiggly eagerness and ease while she walks and enjoys the treats we make.

Mabel gets bored quickly, so I also need treats she can “find” in the grass. But I found myself spending a fortune on high-quality nibbly treats, so I decided to make my own I-can-toss-and-scatter dog treats. My intelligent, silly girl loves what I lovingly call…

Mabel’s Magic Meatballs

Ingredients (makes approximately 35 meatballs)

Ground Beef or Chuck—one pound (I tried making a huge batch with three pounds, and it was too many dishes for me. One pound fits perfectly on one cooking sheet or dish.)

Egg—one (if you’re making more than one pound, it’s one egg per pound of meat)

That’s it!

The Process

Make sure your meat is completely defrosted. Then, crack your egg and knead until thoroughly mixed with the meat. As I mentioned in Mabel’s favorite Toppl recipe post, we follow super strenuous food processing rules at the shop, so, at home, I gauge the egg is fully mixed by feel. However, I never take food temperature lightly. So, cooking your meatballs thoroughly is as critical as all the love you put in while measuring, mixing, and baking.

Next, I set my oven temperature at 400° F so it heats up while I’m rolling my meat mixture into balls. I use a tablespoon to scoop out my blend to ensure consistency and a size that doesn’t take forever to cook thoroughly.

Then, look around for dog lurkers before you open your oven. Once you know the coast is clear, the canines are accounted for, and they are away from anything that could burn them, you pop your homemade treats in the oven for 20 minutes.

Do what you want for 20 minutes. Mabel and I played outside while her meatballs cooked this weekend; I may have enjoyed a glass of wine, but not too much because the most crucial part of making homemade treats is checking the internal temperature. For ground beef, the USDA regulations are to cook the meat until the minimal internal temperature is at least 160° F, and for an egg bake, the temperature is the same. However, my beef package indicated that my internal temperature needed to be 170° F, so I took my meatballs out at 24 minutes when the internal temperature was 171° F.

I have a three-check rule at home and the shop: I always check my temperature at least three times in three different spots.

Next, I lay my meatballs in a single layer on plates to quickly cool in the refrigerator before freezing.

Mabel loves these meatballs, and I love that I can use large pieces for scattering in the grass or easily break off teensy tiny bits for rapid-fire rewards when my pouch runs out. Please make sure to follow the two-hour rule for using food above 41° F. For reference, I use one meatball on Mabel’s low-key weekday walks, two on weekend strolls, and three to four during class or long training sessions.

I hope your dog(s) love your homemade treats too!

*This article contains an affiliate link to help supplement Mabel’s lifestyle (hopefully). When she came to me, she was eating Dollar Store food. Now, she eats better than me on my best days.

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