No bones about it, the dog-eat-dog world
is a thing of the past. These days, it’s more of a dog-eat-gourmet-biscuit
landscape. At least that’s the case in Brooklyn, where hungry
hounds can enjoy a variety of freshly baked, wholesome snacks.
More good news: man’s best friend can show his unconditional
love by sharing his treats with the human mouth connected to
the hand that feeds him, as many of the treats baked for dogs
are designed to be eaten by people, too. In fact, many are quite
"Dogs have more saliva, so their treats are all going to
be a little dry," says Devorah Fong, who’s been baking Woofbites
treats in her Ditmas Park kitchen since November 2004. Fong insists
on taste-testing every goody that leaves her oven. Especially
crunchy ones, like her "Parmesan snap," can be tricky
to bite into, given their thickness.
"I licked it," she said. "A lot."
Fong’s "carob yummies" are on the other end of the
spectrum: moist, addictive and easier to woof down than a Stella
D’oro Breakfast Treat. The miniatures come in shapes: a hydrant,
a paw and, of course, a bone. And each all-organic snack of whole
wheat flour, applesauce, peanut oil, eggs, pure clover honey
and unsulfured molasses is dotted with carob.
Fong uses carob because dogs, the poor dears, need to keep their
distance from chocolate, a toxin for wet nosers.
Luckily, there are ways to compensate. Rowf, a chic doggie boutique
in Brooklyn Heights, has an array of organic, specially baked
and pre-packaged snacks. With the Chinese Year of the Dog nipping
at our heels – the New Year celebrations kick off on Jan. 29
– this chic Brooklyn Heights shop is awaiting a shipment of new
Currently, dog cookie baking kits are in stock, and the recipe
for "Boo’s Dog Biscuits," named for the resident cocker
spaniel, is spelled out on the shop’s blackboard. Yuning Chiu
says her partner in business, life and doggie derring-do, Connie
Liu, is slated to make another batch of home-baked biscuits for
Chinese New Year.
The pair of bipeds recently hosted a tasting party for Fidos
"The idea is to share," Chiu said, offering a visitor
a piece of Uberbone, an Italian flatbread biscuit topped with
soy Parmesan, the free sample du jour. The cracker tasted burnt
to this vertebrate’s palate, but, perhaps the pups enjoy them.
Chiu favors the Parmesan bone, but said that the ginger cookie
bark, made by Manhattan-based Dog Town Bites, also sent many
human tails wagging.
When it comes to her own pooches, Boo and Scooby, a toy poodle,
she’s equally diplomatic.
"I’m pro-variety," said Chiu. "They happen to
Malcolm Smart, owner of Park Slope’s Top Dog Shop, unleashed
the same sentiment. His newly opened store specializes in natural
and homeopathic products for four footers and has been doing
a brisk business in biscuits, with some two dozen savory and
sweet varieties on hand, all imported from Galloping Gourmutts,
a Chicago-based barkery.
"We’ve sold out of the wheat-free mailman," he announced,
alluding to a simple silhouette of a cookie.
His bakery case is filled with cinnamon buns (drizzled with yogurt),
cannoli (peanut butter-filled with chopped almonds) and poochy
pizza slices, all remarkably agreeable to this human tongue.
(Digestion, however, is a separate issue. People are advised
to enjoy dog treats – made with human grade ingredients – in
moderation, with a lot of water.)
The wheat germ-laced "BBQ Squirrel" had a bit of a
spicy kick to it.
"We wanted something that wasn’t too serious," said
Smart, taking a micro-bite of a sesame-seeded doggy pretzel stick
and suggesting this reporter apply a container of Dream Coat
to her mane "for shine."
On Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue, Buttercup PAW-tisserie’s treats
are sure to add a glimmer to any bowwow’s fang. Named for a cocker
spaniel, the family business (founded by brother- and sister-in-law
Scott and Betty Wong) serviced national clients from a Queens
facility for two years. At Thanksgiving, just before the shop
opened in its current location, the Wongs filled a last-minute
order for 2,000 high heel-shaped cookies for Nordstrom. Here,
over 30 varieties of treats include a savory turkey and cranberry
snack (more well-balanced than most of my meals), the chedda
’n’ carrot cracker (tasty as a Pepperidge Farm goldfish), a salmon-shaped
treat (vaguely fishy upon impact) and biscotti, in pumpkin pecan
and liver and herb flavors.
Woof-inducing birthday cakes are also baked fresh to order, with
no added sugar, salt or preservatives.
Even long-standing pet stores can’t resist the whiff of a home-baked
bite. Case in point: Acme Pet Supply on Vanderbilt Avenue in
Prospect Heights sells handcrafted, organic dog biscuits baked
by Red Hook company Robbie Dawg, available in handy-dandy "let’s
go for a walk" tins. The crumb-proof packaging makes it
easy to have beef barley or cheddar and bacon training bits on
hand at all times.
"People love their pets and want to give them something
from their own hearts," says Fong, ever the devoted baker
and tester. Indeed, such fetching treats are hard to resist.
Gourmet dog treats are available at
Acme Pet Food Inc. [628 Vanderbilt Ave. between Park Place and
Prospect Street in Prospect Heights, (718) 789-8062]. Packaged
organic treats: $3.99$9.99.
Buttercup’s PAW-tisserie [63 Fifth Ave. at St. Marks Place in
Park Slope, (718) 399-2228, www.buttercupspaw.com].
Individual treats: $.75$2; $6.95 for barker’s dozen (13
Rowf [43 Hicks St. at Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718)
Packages of organic treats: $3$7.99.
Top Dog Shop [169 Lincoln Place at Seventh Avenue in Park Slope,
(718) 246-4600, www.topdogshop.com].
Single treats: $1$2.
Woofbites in Ditmas Park. Orders placed through the Web site,
by telephone at (718) 207-2303. For more information, e-mail
email@example.com. Bags of treats: $4$10; free delivery with
orders of $20 or more.