Show your favorite pooch just how much you love him by making homemade cheese stick treats. These treats lack preservatives, so they're healthier for him and you'll know exactly what your dog's consuming. And they're packed with flavor, so your dog will return the favor with love and licks.
Cheese and Dogs
Cheese is a good source of protein for your dog. In addition, cheese provides calcium, vitamin A, B vitamins and essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. But cheese is a dairy product; it contains lactose. Like humans, many dogs are unable to tolerate lactose. Giving too much cheese may lead to diarrhea, gas, bloating or stomach upset. If you notice your dog has these symptoms after eating cheese, he may be lactose intolerant. Refrain from feeding the dog anything with cheese in it.
Basic Cheese Stick Treats
For basic cheese stick snacks, you will need 3 cups of flour, 1½ cups of cheese, an egg and 1 cup of water or chicken broth. Whole-wheat flour is a good option unless your dog has wheat allergies. If he does, substitute 2 5/8 cups rice flour. Cheese options include cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan. You may use one cheese or a combination. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and cheese. Slowly add the egg and water, and mix thoroughly into dough. Roll the dough out and cut it into bite-sized stick pieces. Place them, slightly separated, on the cookie sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire cooling rack, or leave them in the oven to cool to make them crisper.
Bacon Cheeseburger Sticks
For a special treat, turn the plain cheese stick recipe into a tasty bacon cheeseburger treat. In a skillet, brown 1 cup of ground beef. Cook six pieces of bacon and crumble them into bits. Follow the steps in the basic cheese stick recipe but mix in the beef and bacon when you add the egg and water. The cooking time is the same. Your dog will love you for these little treats; the added bacon and beef pack additional protein and flavor.
Store treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Freeze treats extra treats immediately for up to three months. Take them out in small batches to thaw and serve. Before adding any new treats to your dog’s diet, tell your vet what you're up to and get his approval. Serve treats in moderation to reduce the chances of stomach upset from lactose. Treats count in your dog’s daily caloric intake; too many make a chubby pooch.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.