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.
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.
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.
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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:
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 24 mini “pupcakes”
● 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
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
● 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
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