Zenikens were developed to help two dogs with two different problems. Zen after whom the cookies are named, suffered from muscle and nerve immunity problems similar to MS and required a diet as preservative free as possible; Chappi had anal gland issues needing the high fiber to assist these delicate glands.
Oven temperature: 200 degrees Celsius; (Approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 4 cups rolled oats plus some extra if needed
- 3 cups whole meal plain flour plus some extra if needed
- 2 to 2 ½ cups wheat bran – preferably unprocessed
- 1 cup oat bran – unprocessed
- ½ to 2/3 cup wheat germ
- 1 ½ tablespoons powdered kelp – optional
- 1 kg or 2 lb. minced chicken – cooked
- Approximately 500 ml or 16 oz water – you can add some powdered milk to this BUT you need to know if your dog is lactose tolerate. This is not a big risk, but if your dog cannot tolerate lactose, it is a risk. The small amount added is quite diluted however and the high temperature at which it is baked decreases the risk. Add extra water if necessary.
- Use your hands to mix (I wear rubber gloves). This is particularly important if the chicken is bought from a pet store. Often, they have bits of bones in them which is not a bad thing, but it should be finely minced so the bones are not obvious – you don’t want to be able to feel them in your fingers.
- Mix the first 5 dry ingredients, and kelp if you are using it in a bowl. (Have extra flour and oats aside and handy if the mix becomes too sloppy.)
- In a larger bowl – large enough to hold and mix all the ingredients – put the chicken and start adding a bit of the liquid.
- Add some of your dry ingredients and then more liquid. Keep adding them alternately until you have it thoroughly mixed and the consistency for a cookie batter. This is where having the extra dry and liquid ingredients on hand is helpful. You want the consistency so that it will hold its shape when you put it on the cookie sheet.
- Once it is thoroughly mixed, roll some roughly in your hand and drop onto the cookie sheet ensuring they are the same size and spacing them evenly apart so they are all baked evenly. They can be touching each other – that tends to make them moister for some reason.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until baked through, reaching a temperature of at least 75 degrees Celsius (approximately 170 degrees Fahrenheit), make sure the bottoms of the cookies are baked too, especially if they are touching each other.
- Put on cooling rack away from lovely canine noses! Allow to cool thoroughly before storing them in an airtight container.
- Keep in refrigerator. They also freeze very well.
NOTE- FOR A GLUTEN-FREE OPTION:
Omit whole meal flour, wheatgerm, wheat bran and replace them with tapioca or corn flour; almond flour can also be used.
Note too, that some oats can contain gluten depending on how and where they are processed, always read the labels carefully.
Jeannine Lampe has a Bachelor of Education (Hons) and works in aged care. She is a certified Canine Nutritionist who is constantly updating her knowledge and hopes to embark on further academic studies in nutrition this year. As well as being Volunteer Coordinator for Canine Behavioural School in Adelaide, South Australia she is constantly trialling new recipes for her Happi Chappi Bakery for Dogs.