Pet project! Bath Beacher retired to make ‘all-natural’ dog treats

Queen in the kitchen: Regina Buscemi’s pup Chivas Beagle cannot get enough of her homemade dog treats.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

It’s a mom-and-pup operation!

A Bath Beach woman makes all-natural dog treats inspired by her pet pooch. The baker for barkers traded in her nine-to-five in favor of a canine-to-five — after a moment of clarity during her erstwhile day job as a legal secretary, she said.

“I said, ‘What am I doing here? I could be at home making dog treats in my pajamas,’ ” said Regina Buscemi of Bite This! dog treats (no relation to famed Brooklynite and actor Steve Buscemi). “So here I am — at home making dog treats in my pajamas.”

Buscemi started cooking for canines three years ago when she adopted a hound dubbed Chivas Beagle — a delicious play on Scotch whiskey Chivas Regal — after its owner died. She bought allegedly all-natural dog food and treats but decided to make her own after discovering that the government regulators don’t set a high bar for treats to get the “natural” designation, she said.

“I found out the Federal Drug Administration doesn’t regulate dog treats — you can put anything in there,” she said. “I said, ‘Oh no, I don’t know what this dog was eating before, but it’s going to be good stuff from now on.’ ”

She tweaked existing recipes and made them with preservative- and filler-free, people-grade ingredients from wholesaler Restaurant Depot — such as whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, sweet potato, peanut butter, honey, and eggs — and the treats will exceed the expectations of even the most discerning doggie palate, the self-made chef said.

“There’s no junk in these treats,” she said. “It’s what you would make for your family, because pets are family members.”

But making the snacks is no walk in the dog park — Buscemi goes through 40 pounds of chicken every week to make roughly 12 pounds of her chicken jerky alone — and she has to cook in small batches because her preservative-free treats would go bad if left out too long.

Buscemi’s goal is to get her treats in the chompers of pooches belonging to celebrity chefs Mario Batali or Michael Symon — once they get a taste she is sure they will be loyal customers, she said.

Bite This! dog treats [www.dogtreatsmadeinbrooklyn.com, (917) 403–7380].

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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