27 - 2007

Dealbusters: Homemade dog biscuits

dog biscuitsThis Monday series checks out whether something that sounds like a good deal — or takes a bit of extra work — is a good deal. We’ll look at cost and benefit — with everything filtered through my individual experience. Please chime in with your take.

Shortly after the dog food recall this spring, our local newspaper published a recipe for homemade dog biscuits.
We gave the biscuits a try. First we used a cookie cutter shaped like a little pig, about the size of a small bone-shaped commercial dog biscuit. But our dog tends to the overweight side, so we usually broke those in half. Now I make the biscuits using a 1″ round cutter.

If you don’t have a cutter the right size, be creative. You could use a well-floured lid from a gallon of milk or whatever else you find that’s right.

The cost breakdown:
I haven’t bought dog biscuits for quite a while, so I looked at prices on Milk-Bone biscuits cost $3.99 for about 120 biscuits ($0.03 each); Meaty Bones biscuits cost $5.99 for about 78 biscuits ($0.08 each).

Cost breakdown of homemade dog biscuits:

  • 2.75 cups whole wheat flour – $0.40
  • 2 small jars baby food – $1.38
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder – $0.25
  • 1 tsp salt – $0.00
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk – $0.32
  • 1 egg – $0.28
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil – $0.24
  • 8-10 Tbsp water – $0.00
  • Natural gas oven (1 hour) – $0.23

TOTAL = $3.10 to make about 48 half-size biscuits, or $0.06 per small biscuit

Savings = There are none. Sadly, these biscuits cost 133 percent more than cheap store bought dog biscuits.

The winner: Homemade.

The priceless factors:
Knowing what is in the biscuits. Check out the ingredients of Meaty Bones or Milk-Bone and you’ll see what I mean — although I think I speak for everyone when I say that just reading the phrase “beef fat preserved with tocopherols” makes my stomach growl.

The biggest boon is that my dog LOVES these biscuits. He most often gets a biscuit when he goes into his kennel when we leave the house. With store-bought treats, he goes willingly enough. With homemade treats, when we lock the back door, he gets a gleam in his eye. When we reach a hand toward the fridge, he starts backing toward the bedroom. When we actually have the biscuit in hand, he runs into his kennel and waits for his treat. Easy-peasy.

The drawbacks:

  • Well, uh, it turns out they’re not cheap in the least. But since we dole out just one to two a day, $3.10 is a price I’m willing to pay for about two months’ worth of biscuits.
  • They are not super-crunchy, so they aren’t brushing the dog’s teeth while he chews.
  • They have no preservatives, so I store them in a container in the fridge to stay on the safe side.

The verdict:
Call me a spendthrift. I’ll keep making these for sure.

Grade: A

Photo by Dana Coffield, from The Denver Post

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