Our dogs here at Dog Parent take after their parents: they love pizza. Is it the bread, the sauce, the cheese, or the combination of all three that makes them crave pizza so much? Aside from getting “just the crusts” when mom and dad are indulging in a pizza pie, our pooches don’t get to eat slices of pizza (a no-no for the canine digestive system—the typical type and amount of cheese used on pizza packs a lot of saturated fat, sodium, and calories that can all be dangerously unhealthy for dogs). I knew my pups wanted something a little more than the crusts, so I assessed the pantry and set out to make the ideal, crunchy, pizza-flavored treats for our canine kids. The result is an easy-to-make batch of cookies that your pup will love.
You can use wheat flour if your pooch doesn’t have any allergies to the grain. The reason I didn’t use wheat flour? We had just run out. But I had a full container of Whole Foods 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats. So I tossed those into my magic Vita-Mix blender (it’s magical, I’m convinced—there’s nothing it can’t do) and voila! Oat flour, freshly ground. I wanted to use the jar of gourmet pasta sauce I had in the pantry but noticed that it contained mushrooms. Although they’re relatively safe for dogs (the edible, grocery store type that humans can eat are nontoxic to dogs), I wanted to keep things simpler. So I opted instead for using Ragu Pizza Sauce. You can use any natural brand of pasta sauce that’s made with minimal ingredients (or better yet, make your own).
The key to making these treats healthy for dogs was eliminating the excess fat and sodium from the cheese. A perfect way to do that is to use a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top instead of mozzarella. Parmesan packs an intense amount of flavor so you can use a lot less of it.
As for the garlic, I use only a smidge (1/8 teaspoon) to flavor the entire batch of cookies. The current consensus on garlic seems to be that it isn’t harmful to dogs in small amounts. Take a look at this article and this article to see for yourself. The minimum toxic dose (the least amount your dog would have to consume to reach a dangerous, toxic level) is a tremendous amount of garlic. Weighing that against its benefits, I opt to use small amounts with the dogs.
3 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
3 Tablespoons Ragu Pizza Sauce, plus 2 TBS set aside
½ cup water
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then add the 3 tablespoons of pizza sauce and water. Mix thoroughly.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough-like consistency forms. Let sit for five minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes.
Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
Use a circular cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
Using the 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce set aside earlier, lightly rub a small amount into the top of every cookie.
Sprinkle parmesan on top and bake for 30 minutes (be sure to check the cookies frequently, starting at 20 minutes, since oven temps vary and your pup will be upset if you accidentally burn a batch of these goodies).
Let cool, offer some samples to the pooch, then load up the cookie jar.