A while ago someone, sorry I can’t remember who, mentioned non-crumbly dog treats and provided a link to the Eileen and Dogs blog. The recommendation here was to use tapioca flour instead of wheat flour to prevent treats from being crumbly.
With Daks having allergies, particularly in summer, I’m always trying to make the perfect, wheat-free training treat. For me, this means it should be a high reward treat, easy to deliver and not too high in calories so I can keep the reward rate high. My big challenge is also that, because of ‘the nose’ if there is a crumb dropped anywhere he’ll stop whatever he’s doing and lick the spot. And lick the spot, and lick the spot.
Eileen’s basic recommendation was one cup of protein, one to two eggs and one cup of tapioca flour. Tapioca flour is made from the dried and ground cassava root and is gluten free. After buying the tapioca flour, I found the carbohydrates a bit high for my liking at 91 per 100 grams. Hmmm. What to do? In the past, I’ve made a tuna or salmon ‘omelette’ to use as a training treat. Basically mush up the fish and put it in a pan and then pour over the beaten eggs and cook until solid, turning it over to set properly, before cutting into small pieces. This worked well and I still do it occasionally but it’s not really the kind of thing you want to put in your pocket without using a plastic packet. Even the most dedicated handler has their limits
What I needed was a binding agent so I decided to experiment using the tapioca flour but keeping the volume to a minimum. This is what I came up with:
Salmon and Green Lipped Mussel Treats
1 418gram tin of salmon
1Tbs dried krill
4 capsules of Green Lipped Mussel
1/2 cup tapioca flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Blend all the ingredients together.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil and grease.
The batter is very soft, turn it onto the cooking sheet and spread out using a spatula.
Bake for approximately thirty minutes.
The mixture won’t brown since there isn’t any flour present but will pull away from the edges when done.
Turn out onto a chopping board and cut into small training treats. Once cool, place in containers and freeze removing quantities as required.
The initial recipe results in a fairly firm mixture that you can shape but with the reduction in tapioca flour, my mixture is thin and the treats end up being about 2 to 3 millimeters thick. This suits my purposes perfectly and I cut the treats into little squares about 1cm by 1 cm. They really are non-crumbly and have an almost silky texture to them. I didn’t count them but because of the thinness of the batter the yield was also really good at over 200 treats.
While I was making and cutting up the treats, my kitchen assistant was shadowing me constantly. Suddenly I felt something cold and wet on my foot! My poor boy had ropes of saliva hanging down from his cheeky chops in anticipation of these special treats. I have no doubt that they’ll be a great hit.