Image Source: A Cozy Kitchen.
We take care of our own body, we watch what we eat, we avoid overly processed foods that might harm our health. So why not have the same initiative when it concerns our best friend, the dog? Homemade dog treats are not that hard to do. The recipes are quite easy, you don’t need any special ingredients (although some recipes do include baby food) and the benefits are quite a few.
The internet is full of great recipes. From vegan to low fat, without salt, gluten-free or for bad breath, you can find them all! And if you don’t have the time to make them yourself, you can always find sites or stores that have them for sale.
They also make great Christmas and birthday treats!
Benefits of homemade dog treats
1. A safe option
Next time you have the opportunity to glance at a commercially sold doggy treats’ list of ingredients, look at what these products contain. There aren’t many natural things in there I can guarantee it. Some of those store bought treats are full of preservatives used to prolog the product’s shelf life.
Some studies showed that a number of chemicals and preservatives contained in these commercialized products can affect dogs’ behavior due to their interaction with dogs’ brain. Some of the chemicals included in the store bought dog treats are BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Sodium Metabisulfite and TBHQ.
If you want to read all the data, you can look into the article called “Killing me softly: the truth behind pet treat labels”.
2. Homemade dog treats are healthier
In comparison to the commercialized dog treats, the ingredients you use to make them at home are a much healthier option. No preservatives, no additives, just quality, even organic ingredients. And some of these recipes will be loved by your cat as well.
Another good thing about making your doggy’s treats at home is the fact that you yourself can make sure that your four-legged friend is respecting its dietary restrictions (diabetic dogs, for example, have some food rules they need to follow).
Some of the store bought treats are full of saturated fats. By eating these, your dog has a higher chance of developing heart disease or becoming obese.
Furthermore, by making the treats at home, you can add ingredients that can help maintain your dog’s teeth and gums healthy while also improving your pet’s breath.
3. Homemade treats are a cheaper alternative
The logic is the same. When you decide on eating at home instead of the restaurant, you save money. The same goes for the doggie treats. It’s cheaper to do them at home instead of searching for shops that are selling some treats at least half as healthy (and two times more expensive) than what you could do at home.
Homemade dog treats are a cheaper option because the ingredients you use are usually present in your kitchen. If not, they are easy to find and don’t cost much.
4. The homemade version is tastier
Again, the logic is pretty much the same. Would you rather eat grandma’s homemade cookies or some processed things that you buy in a store? See my point? Fido would choose the same. A fresh batch of cookies made with love for your one and only pet will surely be tastier that what you find in the store. Yummy and healthy? Hard to believe but true.
So, now that you have the “why”, you need the “how”. Here are a few easy recipes that you can make at home. Try them all, see what your pet likes.
1. Basic dog biscuits
You can modify the recipe according to your dog’s preferences
– 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
– If your dog is sensitive or allergic to wheat, you can use oats (the regular ones used to make oatmeal)
– You can add a tsp. of salt if you want to but it’s not necessary
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp. chicken or beef bouillon in grain form (or broth/stock )
– ½ cup of hot water
Optional: You can add bacon, eggs, liver powder, wheat germ, shredded cheese
• How to
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Mix the bullion with the hot water
– Add the other ingredients
– Work the mixture until you can shape the dough into a ball (needed time: about 3 minutes)
– Roll the dough so its thickness measures ½ inch
– Cut the roll into slices or use a shaped cookie cutter
– Lightly grease the cookie sheet then place the cookie dough on it
– Place in oven and let it cook for about 30 minutes
2. Leftovers trail mix
This is a great recipe as it uses whatever you have left in your refrigerator. Your doggie will be very happy to eat this after a walk in the park.
– Pieces of meat (like bacon or dehydrated jerky). Remember to wash of the condiments if the meat is seasoned
– Vegetables (but avoid onions)
– Fruit (avoid grapes or raisins)
• How to
– Cut the ingredients so that you’ll have half an inch thick pieces
– Apply a bit of cooking spray on the pieces
– Place ingredients in food dehydrator or into an oven that you previously heated up to 200 degrees
3. Peanut butter and banana dog treats
This recipe includes parsley which is a natural breath freshener. The amount of ingredients is calculated for 24 pieces.
– 1 peeled banana
– 1 cup oat flour
– 2/3cup rolled oats
– ½ cup dried parsley
– 2 tbsp. peanut butter
– 1 beaten egg
• How to
– First you must preheat the oven to 300 degrees
– Mash the banana in a bowl using a spoon or a potato masher
– Add the flour, oats, parsley, peanut butter and the beaten egg and mix until you get a homogenous composition
– Let it sit for about 5 minutes
– Using a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the dough which you will roll into 24 balls
– Place the balls on a baking sheet
– Use the back of the spoon to flatten each ball
– Let the pressed balls bake for about 40 minutes
If you made too many, you can keep them frozen and give them to your pooch some other time
4. Easy and healthy pumpkin balls
This is not only a yummy treat but it is also a rich source of fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron.
– Half a cup of canned pumpkin
– 4 tbsp. molasses
– 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
– 4 tbsp. water
– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– Quarter of a tsp. baking soda
– Quarter of a tsp. baking powder
Optional: you can also add 1 tsp. of cinnamon if you want to
• How to
– First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees
– In a bowl, blend the pumpkin together with the molasses, oil and water
– Continue by adding the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the optional cinnamon and work the mixture until it becomes a soft dough
– Use a spoon to scoop out portions of dough which you will roll into ball in your hands (remember to wet your hands before starting to roll the dough so it won’t stick to your palms)
– Lightly grease the cookie sheet
– Place the balls on the sheet and lightly press them using a fork
– Place in oven and let the cookies bake for about 25 minutes
– In the end, the dough must be hardened
5. Apple crunch pupcakes
This yummy treat is low in sugar. Your pooch will love it!
– 2 ¾ cups of water
– Quarter of a cup of unsweetened applesauce
– 2 tbsp. honey
– 1/8 tbsp. vanilla extract
– One medium egg
– 4 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 cup unsweetened dried apple chips
– 1 tbsp. baking powder
• How to
– First preheat oven to 350 degrees
– In a bowl, blend water with the egg, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract
– Add the other ingredients and mix until you have a uniform blend
– Lightly grease the muffin pans
– Pour mixture into the muffin pans
– Place in oven and let the sweet treats bake for 1 ¼ hours
Remember to take into consideration any allergies that your dog might have to certain ingredients. At first, serve the treats in small amounts, like a training, so your pet can get used to the new flavors. If you baked too many cookies, just place them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer.
When you take a portion out of the freezer, first let the treats thaw for 10 to 20 minutes before serving them. In the freezer, the homemade dog treats can last up to 6 months.
In conclusion, homemade doggie treats are simple and pretty quick to do and the benefits cannot be ignored. On top of all, your four-legged friend will love them .