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Easy recipes for making dog treats at home

You don’t need to worry about what’s inside store-bought dog treats any longer! Instead, use these easy recipes to create dog treats from simple, healthy ingredients.

As easy as it is to pick up a box of dog treats from the grocery store or pet store, there are lots of reasons to make homemade treats for your pup instead. Contrary to what you may think, it’s easy to whip up healthy, delicious dog treats that your pup is sure to love. Simply follow these easy recipes to delight your furry friend. 

Why you may want to make homemade dog treats

There’s nothing wrong with most store-bought treats, but in some cases, making dog treats or biscuits from scratch is the better solution for your pet. 

“Someone should consider making their own homemade dog treats if their dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity,” Dr. Megan McCarthy, DVM, a veterinarian with Best Friends Animal Society, says. “A dog who is allergic to certain ingredients may benefit from a homemade treat for training rather than store-bought.”

Aside from possible health-related reasons to whip up a batch of treats, it can also help bond you to your pet. 

“Making homemade dog treats can also be a fun activity for the family to get involved in enrichment for their dog,” McCarthy adds.

Choose safe ingredients for homemade dog treats

Of course, if you’re going to make dog treats, you need to make sure you’re choosing ingredients that won’t be harmful to your pet. Always talk with your vet before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet. 

“Dogs are omnivores, so dog-safe vegetables like carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, pumpkin and lentils can be used,” McCarthy says. “Fully-cooked meat is also safe. There are even some fruits that are safe for dogs that can be added to treats, like apples, blueberries and watermelon. Peanut butter is also a common dog-safe treat ingredient.”

Just because some fruits and vegetables are safe for your dog, that doesn’t mean all of them are. McCarthy warns against using toxic ingredients like grapes, raisins and onions. Of course, chocolate and xylitol are off-limits too.

RELATED: Can dogs eat peanut butter?

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2 easy recipes for dog treats or biscuits

Most dog treat recipes are easy to make, requiring less than an hour of prep work and in some cases cook time. Just keep in mind, fresh dog treats like these have a shorter shelf life than the type you buy at the store. 

“Since homemade treats are made using fresh ingredients and no preservatives, the shelf-life will be shorter. It’s recommended to keep the treats refrigerated and use them within a week,” McCarthy says. “You can also freeze the treats for up to 3 months and, once thawed, use them within several days.”

There are lots of ways to make dog treats, but McCarthy and Best Friends Animal Society suggest these two healthy and tasty options:

Peanut butter pupcakes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Makes: 24 mini “pupcakes”

Ingredients:

●  1 cup oat flour

●  ½ cup quick oats

●  ¼ cup agave syrup or honey

●  ¼ cup peanut butter (choose an all-natural, xylitol-free version — xylitol is toxic for dogs)

●  ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

●  1 teaspoon baking soda

●  ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

●  1 cup boiled sweet potato (or substitute 1 cup pumpkin puree)

●  ½ cup coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the oat flour, quick oats, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. Add the agave, peanut butter and applesauce to the dry ingredients. Mix until well-combined.
  4. Add the pupcake dough to the muffin tin, making sure each is ¾ full.
  5. Bake the pupcakes for 12-15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.
  6. While the pupcakes are cooling, chop up your sweet potato and boil the pieces until tender, for about 20 minutes.
  7. Add the pieces of sweet potato and the coconut cream to a bowl. If you’d like to substitute the pumpkin puree, simply add the filling and the coconut cream to a bowl. Beat until well-combined and smooth.
  8. When the pupcakes are cool, top them with dollops of the sweet potato “frosting” and serve to your lucky pup.

Spinach, carrot and zucchini dog treats

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 18-25 minutes (depending on the size and shape of the treats, and how well done or crunchy you want them)

Makes: Depends on the size and shape of the cookie cutter you use

Ingredients:

●  1 cup pumpkin puree

●  ¼ cup peanut butter (remember to use an all-natural, xylitol free version)

●  2 large eggs

●  ½ cup old-fashioned oats

●  3 cups whole wheat flour

●  1 carrot, peeled and shredded

●  1 zucchini, shredded

●  1 cup baby spinach, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the biscuits from sticking.
  2. Use an electric mixer set to high speed to mix the pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs until well-combined.
  3. Turn the mixer’s speed down to low and add the oats and 2 ½ cups of flour, beating until they’re just incorporated. Add additional flour as needed (¼ cup at a time) until the dough is no longer sticky.
  4. Add the shredded carrot, zucchini and spinach to the bowl, beating until just combined.
  5. Lightly flour a counter or prep surface and transfer the dough to the surface. Knead it until it comes together, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough to the desired thickness of your dog treats (thinner for crispier treats, thicker for softer treats).
  6. Use cookie cutters of your choice (dog bones or paw prints create cute and delicious treats) to cut out biscuit shapes. Place them onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown. Bake a little longer for crispier treats.
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the treats to cool on a wire rack before serving.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

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