The spent grain remaining left over from mashing during the beer brewing process can be used for a variety of purposes, including super easy homemade dog treats made with five ingredients. Your dogs will love them!
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Another wise man coined the term, “Dogs are a man’s best friend.” If there was ever a recipe that celebrates both those great thoughts, this one – Spent Grain Dog Treats – could just be the one (and they are NUT-FREE!).
Our dog-loving, next door neighbor is a homebrewer (seriously, is there anyone better to take up residence next to? I think not). Although our friends don’t brew that often, when they do, there is generally a ton of leftover grain from the mash.
And when our neighbor heard I was looking for a little inspiration and some ingredients for my next recipe for you, my readers, he offered up his spent grain instead of throwing it out. I did a little research and developed a nut-free dog treat for allergy sensitive readers.
(I included the conversion below if you prefer peanut butter instead).
If you’re not as lucky as I am and you don’t have a homebrewer nearby, ask your local brewery for their spent grain and on the day it’s ready, show up with a huge tupperware container or bucket and dig in.
The smell of baking spent grain will fill your home with an aroma that reminds me of preparing oatmeal cookies. It’s warm and delightful. And your pups will love you all the more for making these treats.
Is Spent Grain Good for Dogs?
Brewing – and enjoying the taste of – beer with good people can add immense flavor to an already strong social connection among friends. It’s only natural to want to experience this magical brew with man’s best friend.
But save the actual beer for yourself. Hops are poisonous to dogs. Fido should not gulp down the specialty ale that you spent all weekend brewing. While hops are generally not appealing to dogs, the sweet spent grain left over from the mash during the brewing process, is.
The brewing process includes adding hot water to malt, which can include barley, rye, wheat, oats and other grains. Once the grains have steeped in hot water for a period of time, the liquid is separated from the grains and transferred to the boil kettle. At this point of the process, the grains have been “spent.”
Spent hops and grain are typically disposed of in a compost pile or trash after brewing is complete. As long as the spent grains have been kept separate from the hops, they are safe for dog consumption. Spent grains are about 20 percent protein and 70 percent fiber, making it an ideal dog great for your BFF (Best Furry Friend).
Nut-Free Spent Grain Dog Treats
For years, I’ve wanted to learn how to make my own nut-free dog treats so that Matthew doesn’t have to worry about handling life-threatening food. Matthew was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy around the time he turned 1, and a year later, we realized that included all nut products.
Even then, we didn’t grasp the significance of his allergy – that also included nuts in pet foods, soaps and cleaning products. I remember the time we visited a pet store in Hilton Head, South Carolina about the time he was around 10, and instantly fell in love with the shop’s resident pooch.
Matthew went to grab a handful of treats on the counter to give the dog before someone abruptly stopped him. Turns out, the treats were made with nuts and would have resulted in dire consequences had he touched them.
You can make this recipe with peanut butter if you choose (please always be mindful of allergies and let your friends and family know before handling). Otherwise, the instructions here for are nut-free spent grain dog treats that are yummy and safe!
Spent Grain Dog Treats
- 4 cups Spent grain from your local brewery or home brewer
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 2½ cups Sun Butter (Peanut Butter Substitute)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- Parchment or Wax Paper
- Cookie Cutters (see notes for more ideas)
- A Well-Behaved Pooch
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Mix in all dry ingredients until mixture is completely blended. Set aside.
- Mix the eggs and sun butter together in separate bowl. (It may be necessary to microwave/heat the sunbutter for 1-2 minutes to soften).
- Mix all ingredients in large bowl and stir until blended. You may need to mash the ingredients with your hands.
- Roll out mixture on clean, dry counter and use cookie cutter to make shapes.
- Place the cut out mixture on the foil-lined oven sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
- Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before giving your pooch a treat.
I used a bone-shaped cookie cutter to make 16 treats and for the remaining mixture, I opted for a vegetable oil bottle cap that was just the perfect size to make small, round treats. You can be creative and use caps from water bottles or a variety of any jars and containers.
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How do you spoil your dogs? What kinds of treats do they enjoy? I’d love to know in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.