Yummy homemade baked blackberry cheesecake dog treats. This naturally coloured dog treat recipe with cream cheese and blackberries is pawfect for Valentine’s Day. Berry lover Oli would suggest they’re also pretty doggone delicious anytime as an extra special homemade treat when you have some extra fresh or frozen blackberries on hand for baking.
Bring on the Berries!
Old boy Oli is an absolute fiend for blackberries. Our current berry patch is in a gated area, which is probably the only reason why I still have berries. See our pet-friendly garden post for more tips and lessons learned on trying to create a safe shared space. Left to his own devices, Oli would probably clear the whole place out, cheeky rascal. When the gates are open and I’m working in the garden, Oli is sure to arrive, bumbling his way into the bird netting, hoping for a tasty nibble.
Since antioxidants are a big part of our efforts to support Oli having more healthy golden years with the family, his berry love is something we happily indulge in moderation. Blackberries are a powerhouse of free radical fighting antioxidants along with vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Blackberries are also a vibrant dark purple-red inside their inky drupelets, and the messy stains on my berry picking fingers inspired me to use that natural colouring to create these Valentine treats. Beetroot is usually my pink go-to for tinting homemade dog treats, but Oli was very pleased to see blackberries on the menu. And with the irresistible tang of cream cheese? Drool! They’re much darker than a pink and not quite a purple, but who cares about colour when the Valentine’s are this doggone delicious?
Cream Cheese as a Dog Treat Ingredient
If your pup has lactose sensitivities or intolerances, give this recipe a pass. Sniff around our homemade dog treat recipe collection for other ideas instead. Heart set on baking these treats? Try using peanut butter instead, although you may need to tweak your flour quantity a little. Take extra care with the incremental mixing. They won’t be “cheesecake” treats or the same pinky colour, but they will be delish.
When baking, I use reduced fat cream cheese, if possible. I know, human cookie bakers will probably say that full fat is the only way to bake, but it’s very rich for use in treats. It’s substantially lower in fat, but still has enough substance to work in baked goods. Reduced fat cream cheese is still quite rich and indulgent though, and so moderation is important. In terms of nutritional value vs. percentage fat, I wouldn’t be serving it straight up to our boys by the spoonful, but in context of a baked treat recipe the actual content per treat is small.
Double Check the Labels
Of note with any of these types of products, check the nutritional content for moderating intake, as noted above, and check the ingredients for suitability. Give the additives and extras a close look.
Blackberry Cheesecake Dog Treat Recipe
Homemade Blackberry and Cream Cheese Baked Biscuit Dog Treats
Using this colourful blackberry cheesecake treat dough for cutting shapes, like these Valentine’s Day hearts and bones, is optional. Any roll and cut dough can be used to make hand formed treats (ball and flatten), pressed into a pan and cut to size, formed as treat bars, and more. See our simple shortcuts for making baked dog treats for ideas.
My big fat juicy fresh-picked blackberries made a very liquid puree, but berries are a highly variable ingredient. Depending on your specific berries as well as the consistency of your cream cheese and the optional add-ins, you might need to use less/more flour or add a little water to get a nice dough consistency, so working incrementally when adding your flour is important.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup finely pureed blackberries, measured after pureeing
- 1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese, well softened
- 1 tbsp ground flax or LSA
- 1 tbsp gelatin powder
- Optional: Sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon
- Approximately 1 + 1/4 to 1 + 1/2 cups of brown rice flour, plus extra for rolling
Although both the flax/LSA and gelatin can be omitted and additional flour used to adjust consistency instead, their influence helps with texture and handling both before and after baking.
Making the Treats:
- Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials.
- Combine the egg, blackberry puree, cream cheese, flax/LSA, gelatin, and Ceylon cinnamon (optional) in a mixing bowl.
- Incrementally add flour, mixing into a cohesive workable dough. The amount of flour required will vary depending on your individual ingredients (especially the applesauce) and any optional add-ins or substitutions. Missed the mark? No worries! You can add a little bit of extra liquid, a small amount of olive oil, or additional flour to adjust consistency if/as needed.
- Rest dough (optional but recommended). Resting the dough, even briefly, is particularly helpful with the add-ins used for this treat dough. Let the flour, flax, and gelatin soak in all those juices.
- Roll, cut into desired shapes (see below), and place on a prepared baking pan.
- Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary with shape/size, so keep an eye on the oven.
- Cool before serving and storage.
Baked Biscuit Dog Treat Making Tips and Tricks
- See our posts on making baked biscuit (cookie) dog treats and decorating homemade dog treats for more information and helpful tips.
- We don’t include yield in our treat recipe posts because it is very dependent on what the maker decides for treat shape, size, and thickness when they’re baking. We like to bake small batch treats though (variety is the spice of life!).
- Baked treats can be broken for smaller dogs, or made bigger/smaller. Keep an eye on your time and temperature. The smaller the treat, the shorter the baking time.
- For a crunchier treat, you can let baked treats sit a while in the cooling oven before removing to get a little crispier or pop the baked treats into a dehydrator.
- Homemade baked dog treats are best consumed within a couple of days from baking or frozen for longer storage. See our post on baked dog treat shelf life and storage for information and tips.
Recipe and Ingredient Tips and Tricks
- Variations in measurements, individual ingredient types, and options and substitutions as well as variations in egg size, ingredient and ambient temperatures, etc. are all part of why we work incrementally when mixing.
- No blackberries? No problem! Swap another pureed dog-friendly fruit or veggie and adjust the flour quantity as needed for consistency.
- I love giving my dogs gelatin in gummies or as a sprinkled supplement on food, but it’s also a handy binding add-in to help enhance consistency for cutting and handling, plus it’s healthy too. Flax is also a great healthy binding add-in, but without the slightly fondant or fudge-like texture that gelatin gives treat dough. See our post on choosing ingredients for homemade dog treats for other tips.
- In addition to being doggone delicious and fragrant, cinnamon offers some great health benefits to dogs (and people). However, it’s not suitable for everyone. Pregnant and/or nursing dogs in particular should not be given cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is the recommended variety for dogs, if/when used.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can use the category and tag labels to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.