Frosting for dog treats

Dog cookies are among the best treats you can give your dog. Whether it’s made with liver, peanut butter, cheese or raw steak, no dog can say no to a homemade cookie. But why stop there? On really special days, go the extra mile and decorate your cookies with frosting. True, your dog will gobble them up just the same, but they’ll know they did something right when they bite in and taste that extra layer of flavor.

Frosting for dog treats, needless to say, is different from the cake and cookie icings you see at bakeries. Dogs’ stomachs don’t take too well to sugar (although they might like the taste), so dog cookie frosting is much less sweet and a lot more flavorful. They should also be less rich as dogs can’t handle heavy food very well. What’s great about dog cookie frosting is that they’re surprisingly easy to make—most just take about 15 minutes, so you can make them just as the cookies are cooling on the rack.

Common ingredients for dog treat frosting include peanut butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, and liver spread. Carob powder is often used as a substitute for chocolate, as it captures the flavor nicely without being toxic. White chocolate chemically doesn’t qualify as chocolate and doesn’t have the same toxic elements, but since it’s still high in sugar it should be used sparingly. Pureed fruits can be used to sweeten instead. Meaty dog biscuits can be frosted with mashed potatoes or pureed vegetables. Liver spread and pureed liver also work, but as it has a distinct flavor it largely depends on what other ingredients went into the cookie.

Most dog owners don’t even need a recipe to make the frosting; it’s just a matter of putting in your dog’s favorite treats. If your dog loves peanut butter, just spread some over a couple of cookies and you’re good to go. If you’re making your own frosting, however, the biggest challenge is usually getting the right thickness. Yogurt, one of the most popular frosting ingredients, has to be thickened so it doesn’t spill over. You can do this by adding mashed fruit or vegetables to the mix, or just a small amount of cornmeal or cornstarch. For picky dogs, you can mix some on a spoon and see if they like it before making a large batch.

If you’re using cottage cheese or cream cheese, make sure to use the low-fat or fat-free varieties. This is not only better for your dog, but also makes for a more manageable texture. Instead of using flavored yogurt, buy the plain kind and flavor them yourself using dried fruit or mashed fresh fruit. Bananas work very well for this purpose. Also, look up the sodium content of any store-bought ingredient you use—you don’t want to give them too much as this can cause kidney problems.

Always wait until the cookies are cooled completely before frosting them. This will keep the frosting from going soft upon contact. If possible, refrigerate the frosting for at least a couple of hours to help it set and make it easier to spread. If you’re making a large batch and freezing the leftovers, store the cookies and frosting separately and just frost the cookies as you need them.