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submitted At a recent meeting at Rentzel's Bird Farm near Windsor, members of the York Area Pet Bird Club made birdie pretzels for their pet birds. The recipe is simple, just pizza dough and various topping such as nuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, crushed vegetables and parsley. The treats can be shaped like pretzels, or made into braids or left flat, and can be large or small, depending on the size of the bird.

Most people enjoy a special treat, and our pets are no different. Store shelves are lined with all kinds of treats for dogs and cats and other pets.

With all the pet food and treat recalls lately, some people are opting to make their own treats and food for their pets.

Why not make your pet some homemade treats? There are lots of recipes available from books, magazines and websites. These are just a few of the many recipes available for pet treats.

Calming meatballs

LUCY POSTINS, founder of The Honest Kitchen, a family owned company that makes dehydrated pet foods, offers this recipe for dog treats. She said the meatballs contain ingredients to help keep dogs calm during stressful situations, such as fireworks or large family gatherings.

Merlin gets ready to try Oh la la oysters.
Merlin gets ready to try Oh la la oysters. (WEEKLY RECORD -- ROSE HAYES)

Turkey is naturally high in tryptophan, and the Quiet Tea is a blend of calming herbs.

6 tablespoons Honest Kitchen Quiet Tea

1 cup hot water or hot organic free-range chicken broth

1 cup Honest Kitchen Preference dehydrated dog food

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1½ pounds ground turkey (raw or sautéed)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 cups full fat plain yogurt

1 banana, sliced

½ cup coconut flakes

Steep the Quiet Tea in the hot water or broth in a large bowl, and set aside.

Measure out the Preference into a separate bowl and add the flaxseed. Add the tea to the Preference to rehydrate. Mix in the ground turkey, add the coconut oil and stir to mix thoroughly.

Roll into meatballs, then roll in yogurt, and top with coconut flakes and banana slices. Refrigerate, and take out when you're ready to serve.


Peanut butter banana pupsicles

32 ounces low-fat plain yogurt

2 mashed bananas

½ cup natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 ounce blueberries, chopped

In a medium bowl, cream together mashed bananas, peanut butter and honey. Add yogurt, blend.

submittedLucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen, gets some help in the kitchen from Willow, a Rhodesian ridgeback. The Honest Kitchen is a family
submitted Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen, gets some help in the kitchen from Willow, a Rhodesian ridgeback. The Honest Kitchen is a family owned company that makes human-grade dehydrated pet foods. It employs 15 humans and eight or nine dogs ranging from Chihuahuas to Rhodesian ridgebacks join them at the office daily.

Place blueberries on the bottom of 3-ounce freezable cups. Spoon yogurt mixture into cups and place in freezer until it is partially frozen, about an hour.

Place a Just Food For Dogs Peanut Butter Treat in the center of the pupsicle to create a stick, and place back in the freezer until frozen.

To serve, pop the pupsicle out of the cup and into a bowl by pressing on the bottom of the cup.


Beef pupsicles

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt

½ cup beef broth

Whisk yogurt and beef broth together until smooth. Spoon yogurt mixture into 3-ounce cups and place in freezer until partially frozen. Place a Just Food For Dogs Beef Treat in the center of the pupsicle to create a stick, and place back in freezer until frozen, about two hours.

To make smaller Pupsicles, use an ice cube tray in place of the 3-ounce cups.

To serve, pop the Pupsicle out of the cup and into a bowl by pressing on the bottom of the cup.


Kitty taco

½ pound ground beef (hamburger)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp corn oil

1 corn tortilla, cut into kitty-bite-size pieces

1/2 tsp bone meal

1/2 tsp brewers' yeast

2 Tbsp cheddar cheese, grated

Heat skillet and start browning ground beef (hamburger). When meat is half cooked, add bell pepper. Cook the mixture until the meat is done. On low heat, stir tomato paste, corn oil, chopped tortilla, bone meal and brewers' yeast. Stir until heated through. Cool and serve topped with grated cheese. Yields 2-3 servings. Store unused portions in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. This may be fed to your cat once or twice a week.

Note: According to the Animal Poison Control Center, the green parts of tomatoes can be toxic to cats, but ripe, cooked tomatoes are OK. Source:

Easy cheesies

2 cups rice flour, plus more for rolling out

1½ cups loosely packed grated cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 large eggs

½ cup beef, chicken or fish stock

3 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a baking sheet lightly with rice flour.

In a large bowl, toss the rice flour, cheese and oregano together by hand until blended.

 Add the eggs, stock and oil to the flour mixture and blend with a fork.

Once the mixture is blended, knead briefly to gather into a ball and transfer directly to the baking sheet. Flatten the ball and shape into a square.

Dust the top of the dough with additional rice flour and roll into a 10-inch square. Then cut with a pizza cutter into 1-inch squares.

Bake for 35 minutes for a soft cookie or up to 50 minutes for a dried cookie. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet before breaking them apart at the cut lines.

Makes 100 small cookies.

Source: "Feed Your Best Friend Better" by Rick Woodford

Tuna patties

1 can tuna

½ cup boiled rice

¼ cup pureed liver

2 to 3 sprigs parsley, chopped.

Drain tuna and mix everything together. Make 6 or 7 balls and flatten into patties. Store in the fridge.


Birthday treats for cats

2 poached fish, preferably salmon, with the skin and bones removed

1 teaspoon plain yogurt

Few drops fresh lemon juice

Poach the fish. Mix the yogurt and lemon juice and serve over the cooked fish.


Tutti Fruti

1 teaspoon cantaloupe, minced

1 teaspoon watermelon, minced

2 teaspoon cottage cheese

In a bowl, combine the fruit and cottage cheese. Serve as a treat.


Ooh la la oysters

3.75-ounce can oysters

6 baby carrots

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 large egg

1/3 cup plain, unseasoned bread crumbs

2 teaspoons brewer's yeast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the oysters, carrots and tomato paste in a food processor or blender and puree until they form a smooth paste.

In a mixing bowl, combine the puree mixture and the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Drop ½ teaspoons of the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms of the treats are golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool thoroughly and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 40 half-teaspoon-sized treats.

Source: and "The Ultimate Cat Treat Cookbook" by Liz Palika

Catnip tea

2 tablespoons catnip

1 cup water

Put the catnip in a bottle, pour in the water. Place cap on the bottle and shake until the catnip tea is green.


Kitty catnip cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons wheat germ

¼ cup soy flour

1/3 cup confectioners' milk (powdered milk)

1 tablespoon kelp

½ teaspoon bonemeal

1 teaspoon crushed, dried catnip leaves

1 tablesppon unsulfured molasses

1 egg

2 tablespoons oil, butter or fat

1/3 cup Whiskas Catmilk or water Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the molasses, egg, oil, butter or fat and milk or water.

Roll out flat on an oiled cookie sheet and cut into narrow strips or ribbons. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Break into pea-size pieces, suitable for cats. Good for treats, exercising gums and cleaning teeth, but too low in protein to use for regular fare.


Kitty kisses

1 can (or pouch) of cat food

Small plastic baggie with the corner cut

Catnip (optional)

Put cat food and optional catnip in a blender or food processor and mix until it is the consistency of frosting.

Put the mixture into the plastic baggie and squeeze little droppings, or "kisses" onto a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees F. Time depends on how big the kisses are. Small kisses take about 15 minutes to bake.


Birdie bread

Use a package of cornbread mix or your favorite cornbread recipe. Follow package directions. It is fine to use the whole egg, shell and all, as a source of calcium for your birds.

Before baking, add about ½ cup total of one or several of the following items: crumbled or pelleted formulated diet; grated or diced zucchini; grated carrot; vegetable baby food; cooked and mashed squash, sweet potato or yam; chopped green spinach, dandelion greens or parsley; chopped cooked kale; broccoli; thawed frozen mixed vegetables or peas.

Microwave the vegetables slightly and drain off excess water before adding them to the mixture.

Source: BirdTalk magazine, August edition

Easy bird treats

OTHER TREATS for birds might include bits of whole grain bread or toast; crunchy, sugar-free breakfast cereals, such as puffed cereal or rice cakes; or a millet spray (stalk).

Parrots might enjoy a warm treat such as scrambled egg, rice, pasta or oatmeal. Heat to the touch or under 105 degrees F.

Source: BirdTalk magazine, August edition

Birdie pretzels

SHIRLEY RENTZEL of Rentzel's Bird Farm near Windsor provided this recipe for birdie pretzels.

"The birds just love them. You can top with anything your bird likes and, depending on the kind of topping, they may be a people treat, too," Rentzel said.

1 package refrigerated pizza dough

Toppings such as nuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, crushed vegetables or parsley

Remove dough from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Cut into pieces and roll by hand into long pieces. Form into a pretzel shape (or whatever shape you prefer) and sprinkle on favorite toppings.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown.

If you prefer, you can just top the rolled dough and make a pretzel rod rather than shaping into a pretzel.


2/3 cup beef stock

½ cup grated carrots

½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

½ tsp garlic powder

1 cup barley flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons baking powder

1 cup rye flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat the beef stock in microwave for about 2 minutes.

Combine carrots, parsley and garlic powder in a large bowl. Pour the hot stock over the vegetables and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Stir the barley flour, olive oil and baking powder into the vegetable mixture until blended. Mix in the rye flour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for 2 minutes or until smooth.

Shape into a loaf that's 16 inches long by 3 inches wide and about ½ inch in height, smoothing the edges to form the loaf into a dome shape. Cut dough widthwise into strips about Ð-inch thick. Stand individual cookies on a baking sheet, domed side up, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and let the cookies rest in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Makes 48 cookies.

Source: "Feed Your Best Friend Better" by Rick Woodford

Blueberry moons

1 cup frozen blueberries

¼ cup beef, chicken or fish stock

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Microwave blueberries and water on high for 2 minutes. Combine the blueberry mixture, canola oil, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse for 1 minute, or until mixture gathers into a ball.

Roll dough out on a lightly flouredsurface into a 10-inch square. Transfer onto a baking sheet and cut into 1-inch squares. Bake for 25 minutes for a soft cookie or up to 40 minutes for a crunchy cookie. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet.

Makes 100 cookies.

Source: "Feed Your Best Friend Better" by Rick Woodford