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Making homemade dog food or treat saves you money and allows you to have better control of flavor, freshness, and consistency of your ingredients. One of the most common base ingredients that you are likely to use when you opt to make your own dog food or treat is the flour. When preparing dry dog foods, for instance, you will need some flour to bind other ingredients (like oil, ground meat, oil, etc) together to form the main bulk of the treat or food.
However, picking the right flour for dog treats is quite challenging considering that there are various options to choose from online and local stores. Remember, you should always purchase healthy and safe flour for your canine friend.
In this post, I will highlight some of the best store-bought flours for dog treat recipes as well as take you through the basics of finding the best flours to use for your next homemade dog treat.
- Best Flours for Dog Treat Recipes
- 1. Wellbee’s Super Fine Almond Flour
- 2. Authentic Foods Brown Rice Flour
- 3. Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour
- 4. Authentic Foods Superfine Sorghum Flour
- 5. Organic Coconut Flour (Gluten-Free, Keto, Paleo-Friendly)
- 6. LiveKuna Organic Quinoa Flour
- 7. Lifesource Foods Oat Flour
- 8. Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour
- 9. Anthony’s Vital Wheat Flour Gluten
- 10. Erbology Organic Amaranth Flour
- 11. Let’s Do Organic 100% Coconut Flour
- 12. Great River Organic Buckwheat Flour
- The Best Types of Dog Biscuit Flours
- Types of Flours to Avoid
- Can Dogs Eat All Purpose Flour?
- Tips for Getting the Most Out Of Your Flours for Dog Treat Recipes
- Parting Thoughts
Best Flours for Dog Treat Recipes
The best flours for dog food recipes are whole grain flours because they use entire grain and thus pack all the original nutrients. On the other hand, white flours are not recommended for dogs because they are often stripped of most vital nutrients. The flour options that we have included in this list are whole grain flours from oats, millet, almond, barley, buckwheat, and coconut among other grains (we have explained in the subsequent sections how your dog can benefit from these whole grain flours).
Let’s dive in.
Almond is gluten-free, high in plant-based proteins, low in carbohydrates, and packs a lot of polyunsaturated fats. By including this Wellbee’s almond flour in your homemade dog recipe, therefore, you can be sure that you are adding a lot of nutrients to your dog’s diet. The flour is perfectly ground and will give your dog treats the right texture and consistency. Besides, the flour has no additives or preservatives and is Kosher-certified, so it is safe for your pup.
If you are looking for flour that you can use to thicken your dog soup or broth, this brown rice flour from Authentic Foods will come in handy. Made from high-end California medium-grain rice, the flour is rich in proteins, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It is also corn-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, so you can be sure that it will be safe for your dog. You can also mix it with other gluten-free flour options like Oats and Garbanzo Bean flour to achieve consistency and the perfect texture for your dog treats.
Garbanzo Bean Flour is highly nutritious and is often used by dog parents as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Chicken pea is rich in flavor and packs a lot of plant-based proteins and fiber. Like most Bob’s Red Mill products, this flour is processed in a gluten-free environment, making it 100% gluten-free. You can combine it with other lighter gluten-free flours like oats, buckwheat, or almond flour to make it a more nutrient-dense flour blend for your pooch.
Often classified as an ancient grain, sorghum is a great source of plant-based proteins, antioxidants, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Your dog stands to get all these benefits if you include this superfine sorghum flour from Authentic Foods in his diet. It comes in super fine texture, so you may need to blend it with heavier, gluten-free flours like brown rice flour to get perfect consistency that is needed for some recipes like homemade dog cupcakes. Like other flours that we have reviewed, it is corn-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free, making it safe for your dog.
Cookoo Coconut Flour is high in fiber, low carbs, and has a low glycemic index, making it a perfect flour for overweight dogs. Its sweet aroma, flavor, and freshness are unrivaled, especially when compared to its competitors. It is also hypo-allergenic, which makes it perfect substitute flour for dogs that are allergic to wheat and soy. Besides, it is non-GMO and obtained from raw organic virgin coconut oil, which makes it safe for all your dog’s food. This flour also comes with an extra coconut flour cookbook e-book.
LiveKuna’s organic quinoa flour is a unique whole grain flour that is a good source of protein, fiber, and iron for your dog. The flour is gluten-free and organic, which makes it a safe option for your canine friend’s consumption. Another feature that makes this quinoa flour exceptional is that you can completely replace it with other flours like whole-wheat, almond, rice, and oat flour for baking and cooking your favorite dog food.
If your pup is on a low-carb diet but you still want to spoil him with some nutritious homemade treats, Lifesource Foods Oat Fiber could be the best gluten-free flour that you need. It is rich in fiber and packs zero calories hence perfect for low-carb or ketogenic dog diets. The flour comes with a fine texture that will work perfectly for most dog recipes. Remember that oats have potent moisture-retention capabilities, so you can use the flour to lighten up your dog recipes containing other gluten-free flours.
Another Bob’s Red Mill product that we recommend for your homemade dog recipe is their teff flour. Teff is classified as a pseudo-grain and packs more iron than barley and more calcium than oats. The flour is also rich in plant-based proteins and dietary fiber, making it a healthy flour option for your dog. It is also excellent for dogs with stomach sensitivities as it is vegan, high in fiber, gluten-free, and Kosher Pareve certified.
This is the only dog flour option in our list that is NOT gluten-free. If your dog is not allergic to wheat or gluten, then you can add this flour to his diet. Whole-wheat is a potent source of energy, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins like Vitamin E and B9. It is also high in fiber and protein, especially when blended with other animal proteins like chicken. Whole wheat is also known to have a nutty flavor and will work well with both savory and sweet dog treat ingredients.
Another pseudo-grain flour, this Erbology Amaranth flour is a great addition to your dog’s diet. Like other pseudo-cereals, Amaranth flour is rich in fiber, vitamin B & E, and will help you replenish your pup’s energy. It is gluten-free and non-GMO, making it safe for your dog. Amaranth flours are also easy to cook, so you can bake it for your dog even when in a hurry.
One of the unique features we loved in this organic coconut flour is the details that go into its processing to maximize its nutritional value. The manufacturers use pressurized steam to do away with most of the fat content in the coconut. The defatted coconut is then meticulously dried before being milled into superfine flour. This makes it high in fiber and proteins than most other coconut flours that you will find in the market today. You can confidently use the flour to thicken your dog’s smoothie or broth (with the benefit of adding healthy fiber and proteins).
Another nutritious whole grain flour that we had to include in our list is this specialty buckwheat flour from Great River Organic. Buckwheat is a great source of dietary fiber, plant proteins, and energy. It also offers plenty of benefits to dogs, including promoting weight loss, boosting heart health, and plays a critical role in the management of diabetes. Like other floors we have reviewed so far, this Great River Organic product is non-GMO and Kosher-approved, making it safe for your four-legged friend.
The Best Types of Dog Biscuit Flours
As promised in the previous section, here is an overview of why we recommend whole grain flours and how your dog can benefit from them.
1. Whole-Grain Wheat Flour
Wheat flour is the most popular choice of dog treat flour that you will find in most local health-food or grocery stores. However, when shopping for dog foods, you’ll notice that many dog food brands advertise their products as “wheat-free” or “gluten-free”. So, does it imply that wheat is bad for your pup? No, that’s not the case. Wheat is only controversial because it contains a protein called gluten which can trigger immune responses in certain dogs. So, there is no reason why a healthy dog without gluten intolerance shouldn’t consume wheat.
If your dog can tolerate it, whole-grain wheat packs a lot of fiber, protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals, including selenium, manganese, copper, phosphorous, and folates. Wheat is also a potent source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds such as Ferulic acid, Lignans, Phytic acid, alkylresorcinols, and Lutein among others. If you decide to use wheat flour in your dog recipe, remember to choose whole-grain wheat flour and not white wheat flour as the latter is highly processed and has low nutritional value.
2. Brown Rice Flour
Unrefined brown rice is grounded to produce brown rice flour that is a viable alternative for dogs that are allergic to wheat flour. The flour is gluten-free, rich in fibers, and contain folates, zinc, and calcium.
Brown rice flour produces dense dough, and it’s best to combine it with other gluten-free flours such as oat flour or sorghum flour to lighten the final mixture. You might want to buy short-grain rice flour that has a milky flavor and more abundant in starch than long-grain rice alternative.
3. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is obtained by grinding the coconut pulp into a fine powder. It is famed for its high plant protein content and high fiber composition that ranges between 35% and 60%. Moreover, coconut flour is gluten-free and is rich in minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, including vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and vitamin B6.
4. Almond Flour
If you are looking for flour that’s high in plant-based proteins, low in carbohydrates, cholesterol-free, and an excellent source of macronutrients, almond flour is the right choice for your dog’s treats.
Almond flour is made from unblanched or scalded almond nuts, which are known to be rich in lots of vitamins and micronutrients. It’s important to note that almond flour tends to spoil faster than other flours due to its high oil content. Store the flour in a sealed container in a freezer or fridge.
5. Garbanzo Bean Flour
Garbanzo Bean or Chickenpea flour is made from roasted or raw ground chickenpeas. Flours made from raw chickenpeas tend to be a bit bitter compared to those made from roasted chickenpeas (which have stronger flavors). Nonetheless, you can use either flour in your recipe without noticing any big difference.
Chickenpeas flours have high amounts of plant-based proteins and fiber content. They are also packed with a lot of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B6, B9, magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, and selenium.
6. Oat Flour
Oat flour is gluten-free, low sugar, highly nutritious and easy on most dog’s digestive systems. It is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals including magnesium, copper, vitamins B1 and B16, copper, zinc, selenium, folate, iron, and manganese.
Oat flour is also famed for its moisture-retention properties. When using the flour, your treats may come out moister than when you are using other flours. So, you can also use it to lighten a recipe that has other gluten-free flours. For instance, you can replace a quarter of the flour you plan to use with oat flour.
7. Sorghum Flour
This is a gluten-free flour that boasts a high amount of plant-based proteins. It is also rich in antioxidants and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including iron, niacin, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
8. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat is associated with a wide range of nutritional benefits in dogs. To begin with, it is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which is critical in normalizing the digestive tract and slowing down the rate of glucose absorption. It is also believed to protect dogs’ digestive tracts from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This ‘superfood’ also contains arginine and lysine, two important amino acids that are deficient in other cereals. Buckwheat is also rich in a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, magnesium, potassium, B-vitamins, and rutin (a powerful bioflavonoid believed to have potent anti-inflammatory properties).
9. Quinoa Flour
Another source of insoluble fiber, Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is gluten-free and has excellent protein, carbohydrate, fats, and mineral profile. Learn more about the health benefits of giving your dog quinoa flour and related products in this post: Is quinoa good for dogs?
10. Teff Flour
Scientifically referred to as Eragrostis tef, this is a tiny grain native to Africa and used in a similar way as quinoa and millet. It is beginning to gain popularity in the US due to its many potential health benefits to dogs and humans alike, including the ability to help with weight loss, boost the immune system, improve bone health, optimize digestion, and manage diabetic symptoms.
11. Amaranth Flour
Amaranth is another superfood that any dog owner would love to include in his pooch’s diet. It is the best alternative flour for dogs that are sensitive to wheat and other common grains. Like Quinoa, we have a post that’s dedicated to Amaranth for dogs. Check it here: Is Amaranth Flour Good for Dogs?
Types of Flours to Avoid
If you are going to use flour in your homemade dog recipe, it is always important to know the options that may not be healthy for your dog. Some grains and flours derived from them are known to produce food sensitivities and allergic responses in dogs.
For the safety of your pup, avoid flours from such grains. For instance, dogs don’t digest corn and soy very well and could even cause digestive upsets, so it is important to eliminate them from your flour ingredients. Corn, soy, and even wheat also cause allergic reactions in dogs. They can also cause itchy skin and ears in some dogs. Some dog breeds may even develop nutritional deficiencies when fed on diets that are based on corn, wheat or soy.
Can Dogs Eat All Purpose Flour?
All-purpose flour, AP flour, or plain flour is basically a type of white flour that can be used in a wide range of recipes. It is usually made from a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties to provide a middle-of-the-road starch and protein content. To achieve this and other desirable properties such as a more stable shelf life, the wheat grains or berries are stripped off their germ and bran during grinding and processing, leaving only the starchy part of the kernel, the endosperm. Some manufacturers may also bleach or age their flours to get the bright color that you see in many AP flour brands. This implies that all-purpose flour is not ‘whole’ as most of the good nutritive properties of whole wheat have been removed, including the natural flavor. Even worse, to compensate for the nutrients that are lost during the bleaching process, some manufacturers fortify their flours with artificial vitamins and minerals, which may cause a wide range of side effects or even diseases to your dog.
So, if you want your pup to benefit from the nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour that we have highlighted above, don’t go for AP flours. But if you must use AP flours in your dog food or treat recipe, look for unbleached options, which have not been chemically treated to soften or whiten them. Unbleached AP flour options also tend to provide more structure to baked dog foods than their bleached counterparts and also pack considerably more nuances of whole wheat.
Since all-purpose flour is essentially custom-processed wheat flour, don’t use it in treats for dogs that are sensitive to wheat.
Tips for Getting the Most Out Of Your Flours for Dog Treat Recipes
- Know the nutritional value of whatever flour you plan to use: A good dog treat should contain wholesome, healthy ingredients. So, you should ensure that everything that goes into your dog food recipe has a function and benefit to your dog.
- Consider other ingredients that you will put in the recipe: Each flour type is different, especially in terms of consistency and taste. When choosing flour, therefore, think about the flavors of other ingredients and go with the type of flour that compliments them.
- Flour versus water ratio: Gluten-free flours tend to absorb less water or liquid than whole-wheat. So, when the recipe requires whole-wheat flour, you need to increase the amount of water/liquid or decrease the amount of flour accordingly.
- Start slowly: If you are introducing a new type of flour to your Fido’s diet, it is highly recommended to start slowly and increase the quantity gradually. This will allow your dog’s stomach to adjust to the new flour or food. It also gives you a chance to monitor any abnormal symptoms that he may manifest before the new flour agrees with his body.
- Storing your dog food flours: Whatever type of flour you choose, you need to store it properly if you want to make for your dog a fresher and tastier treat. So, when purchasing flour from any dog food store out there, ensure that it is packaged in a sealed container. Avoid flours in torn bags as they are vulnerable to contamination and bugs. The general shelf life of most flours, when kept in a cabinet, is a few months or 6-12 months when kept in a freezer. Always store your flours in sealed containers and if it smells or changes color, just toss it.
When making dog treats at home, use flours that are both healthy and safe for your dog. Although white flours are readily available on the shelves of many dog food stores, they are less nutritious and may pose health risks to your dog. Choose flours such as almond flour, brown rice flour, Garbanzo bean, sorghum, oats, and coconut flours that are famed for their incredible composition of fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.