Goji Berry Dog Biscuit Recipe
With Flaxseed and Coconut
Goji berries are sweet and incorporate well in healthy dog biscuits. They are also nutrient-packed and good for dogs' health. My dog gives this biscuit her 4-paw seal of approval. Besides goji berries, this recipe uses other natural ingredients such as coconut flakes, flaxseed meal, honey, and cinnamon, making the biscuit sweet and tasty.
This goji berry dog biscuit recipe is low in fat, high in dietary fiber and protein, vitamin B6, and trace minerals (e.g. calcium, potassium, iron, and selenium).
Health Benefits of Goji Berries
Goji berries have long been used by the Chinese and Tibetan people for years to support their eyesight, immune system, and general well-being.
Goji berries contain:
- A total of 18 amino acids.
- Vitamins A, B (B1, B2, and B6), C, and E.
- Dietary minerals (such as calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium).
- Carotenoids (thus the bright red color) including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
- Essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
- High levels of protein.
- High levels of polysaccharides.
The antioxidants found in goji berries (in particular beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein) are known to be good for eye health. They lower the risk of developing age-related eye problems such as macular degeneration.
The high EFA contents are good for maintaining brain and nerve health.
The berries are nutrient-rich as they have high protein, vitamin, and mineral contents.
The polysaccharides in goji berries are unique in that they work in sync to fortify the immune system. Thus, goji berries support the immunity and may have anti-aging functions.
The big question is, are they safe for dogs?
There is a lot of conflicting information on the Internet about the safety of goji berries on dogs. In situations like this, I always go to the "authority" - find a source that is reliable. After much searching, I found confirmation from Dr. Brown, a specialist in the toxicology area at the Cornell University Veterinary School, that goji berries are not a problem for dogs!
This is what he said about goji berries:
"These are like little tomatoes or peppers. Although it is in the nightshade family, the atropine levels are very low and since people eat them like raisins, I'm thinking the glycolkaloid levels are not very high either. The berry I worry most about with dogs is the common grape and the raisins we make from them..."
However, if you do decide to give goji berries to your dog, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Since goji berries are high in sugar levels, it may not be a good idea to give them to dogs with blood sugar problems (e.g. diabetes).
- Goji berries may have blood-thinning effects, so do not give them to dogs who are going to have surgeries.
- Goji berries are found to have adverse interactions with some drugs (e.g. warfarin, drugs for diabetes); therefore, check with a holistic vet first if your dog is on medication.
- Some goji berries imported from China may have high levels of pesticides and insecticides, so be sure to use organic berries.
Recipe: Goji Berry Dog Biscuit
- 1 1/2 cups whole flour (e.g. oat flour)
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- 1/3 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1 tablespoon organic goji berries
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the goji berries.
- In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Fold in the goji berries.
- Knead a few times to make a dough. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry.
- Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Put the dough between 2 sheets of saran wrap and roll out to about 1/4" thick.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes.
- Put cut-out biscuits onto the baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
- Take the biscuits out and turn them over.
- Return biscuits to oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
- To harden the biscuits more, leave them in oven until cool.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Goji berries will puff up a bit when heated and, because of their sugar content, burn easily, so watch the biscuits carefully.