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While I’m not a great cook, I enjoy baking for my two dogs. They sit at my feet whenever I’m in the kitchen, patiently waiting for any leftover ingredients.
That’s why I was excited to test the Dash Express Dog Treat Maker, which they sent to me as a sample for review. The appliance is similar to the brand’s popular waffle maker. The only differences are that the mold consists of eight dog-bone shapes and it has larger heating elements.
Over the past two months, I’ve used the Dash Dog Treat Maker three times to bake up delicious homemade dog treats with natural ingredients. It’s simple to use and the companion recipe guide contains easy directions for seven different treats, including Chicken and Wild Rice, Cheddar Bacon, and Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats. Some of the treats are crunchy, and others are soft — a good option for senior dogs and those with dental problems.
If you can use a waffle maker, then you’ve already mastered Dash’s Express Dog Treat Maker. It takes about three minutes to heat up after you plug it in. A blue indicator light signals that it’s warming up and shuts off when the cooking surface reaches the optimal temperature.
You’ll need cooking spray, short tongs, and a small cup with an easy pour spout for the batter. It’s also nice to have a wire rack for cooling the treats. Be sure not to use metal utensils or you may damage the nonstick surface. According to the manufacturer, the nonstick coating is free of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA).
Before pouring in the batter, spray the molds with a small amount of cooking spray as recommended in the user’s guide. After you’ve added the batter, close the lid to begin baking. The treat maker bakes eight treats at a time in five minutes or less — specific baking times are included for the recipes.
You’ll want to pay close attention to the time as there is no auto-shutoff feature. With that in mind, you’ll also need to unplug the treat maker when you’re finished.
What’s it like to use
I tested three different recipes from the guide: Cheddar Bacon, Peanut Butter Pumpkin, and Pumpkin, Carrot, and Spinach. There are anywhere from four to seven ingredients per recipe and most were easily found in my pantry. Prep time was around 10 minutes.
For each recipe, I used about 5 tablespoons of batter to fill all eight bone-shaped molds. The batter needs to be a certain consistency to bake the perfect dog treats. The Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats called for a thicker batter, and the one mistake I made was overfilling the molds with too much batter. Another time, I didn’t use enough batter. Be careful not to fill the molds too little or too much to prevent overflow or burned treats.
Once you unplug the treat maker, it takes about 10 minutes to completely cool off. Then you can wipe down the cooking surface and lid with a wet cloth. If the batter sticks to the molds, you can also add soap to the cloth.
What makes it stand out
In many cases, regular dog treats have a baking time of 25 to 30 minutes, but these treats bake in just five minutes and took me only 10 minutes to prep. I like that I can easily make a few batches at once and store the extras in the refrigerator. The treat maker’s small footprint also makes it easy to store.
Best of all, a portion of proceeds will go toward supporting rescue efforts at North Shore Animal League America.
The lid and base get very hot after the appliance reaches its optimal temperature. The user manual warns about this, but I was surprised by how hot it was when I tried to move it from the counter to the kitchen table. Make sure to use oven mitts when handling it.
The bottom line
It really is easy to make dogs treats with the Dash Express by following just four steps: preheat, mix the ingredients, add the batter, and bake. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have eight bone-shaped treats. I like that all of the recipes are simple and a great alternative to store-bought treats.
As for my dogs, they love the Dash Express Dog Treat Maker, too. They barked until they’d been given all eight treats. I consider that a success. Out of the three recipes, their favorite was the Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats. I often top their food with peanut butter and pumpkin, so this was no surprise to me.
I’ve already bought a few treat makers for family and friends as holiday gifts. They’re affordable, and we’re all spending more time at home with our pets these days.