Does your dog take pills–either on an occasional or a daily basis? If so, you know that often you can hide it in a piece of meat or cheese–but sometimes you need something a little different. Homemade pill pockets–baked pill pouches you can tuck your dog’s pill inside–give your dog the goodness of a little treat–and hide the pill at the same time!
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To make our pill pockets, I used tapioca flour, a flour that’s often used for thickening soups and sauces.
Why Use Tapioca Flour in Dog Treats
Grain-free and gluten-free, this flour is made from the starch of the cassava root–and it doesn’t have much flavor on its own so it really picks up the flavor of the other ingredients in the recipe.
And, because it is starch, not protein, tapioca is a good option for dogs that might have allergies.
The chewy texture that tapioca flour can provide is a great building base for homemade pill pockets; you want to be able to mold the pill pockets even days later so you can insert your dog’s pill, squeeze the treat around the pill, and not worry about crumbling!
Making Pill Pockets at Home
To make sure that treat stays moist and pliable, I added two more ingredients that keep the homemade pill pocket chewy–and provide great taste–peanut butter and molasses.
I used organic peanut butter (creamy) but feel free to use regular peanut butter or crunchy, if that’s what you have on hand.
Important: Always check the ingredients list before purchasing peanut butter. A few manufacturers have added Xylitol to their peanut butters as a sweetener. NEVER feed your dog any food that includes Xylitol; it is highly toxic to dogs.
And I also added a tablespoon of molasses, a binder that adds flavor and helps to hold the whole pill pocket together. (And did you know a tablespoon of molasses contains the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk?)
Next, I added each of the ingredients to my stainless steel mixing bowl, rolled up my sleeves, and started mixing the dough by hand.
It’s a heavy, heavy dough–but it sure smells great as you work the dough!
Once you have everything mixed well into a huge ball of dough…
…it’s time to start pinching off pieces to create the pill treats. I made a variety of sizes, from about a 1/2-inch to one-inch balls. I can now accommodate large and small pills.
You can vary the treat size by your dog’s size and your dog’s pill size!
Start lining up the treats on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. If you’d like to get fancy, you can create in indentation in each with the handle of a wooden spoon (I just used a regular teaspoon)…but I do think this makes the inside of the treat bake a little more thoroughly…which you don’t really want in this case. You’re working toward a chewy treat.
Use all of the dough to create small balls; don’t worry about the distance between them. These won’t rise.
Bake the treats for 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook or they’ll get crumbly.)
When they’re done, take the pill pockets out of the oven and move them to the refrigerator.
By cooling them in the refrigerator, you’ll make the treats chewier…which then makes it easier to insert your dog’s pill in a treat as you need it.
When it’s pill-taking time, take a treat out of the refrigerator; if you dog doesn’t like cold treats, let it warm to room temperature.
Push the pill into the treat (or break the treat in half, lay the pill inside, and reform the treat by squeezing)…
…and keep squeezing until the treat has completely surrounded the pill.
That’s it! Your dog is ready for a chewy treat…and won’t even mind the presence of the pill!
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk if your dog has no problems with dairy)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix completely until all flour is incorporated in dough.
- If needed, depending on oil content in peanut butter, add additional milk one teaspoon at a time until all flour is incorporated in dough.
- Pinch off dough to create 1/2 to 1-inch balls; roll in palms to form balls.
- Line balls on cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Remove from heat. Refrigerate treats to keep moist.
- When needed, hide pill in treat by pushing pill into treat then reshaping ball by squeezing in your hand.
- Store refrigerated for one week or freeze for longer storage.