Why make your own dog treats?
Sure, it’s convenient to order dog treats online or toss them into your cart at the grocery store, but it’s a whole lot less expensive when you make them yourself. Plus, when you’re doing the cooking, you know exactly what’s going into them. Still, even healthy homemade dog treats shouldn’t be given willy-nilly. Treats shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of an animal’s daily caloric intake. “No more than two to three treats per day, depending on the size of the treat and the size of your pet,” advises veterinarian Carol Osborne, DVM. And remember: “Homemade” doesn’t guarantee that the treat is good for your pup, especially if your pet has a preexisting medical condition or other dietary restrictions. Make sure to check with your vet before making any of the treats below. Here are another 8 things veterinarians want you to know about your dog’s food.
Good for You Gobblers
Courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital
Ingredients: 1 cup white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup chopped unsalted sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons applesauce, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 eggs (beaten), 1/4 cup milk
Directions: Mix the dry ingredients (flour and seeds) together. Add the applesauce, peanut butter, and molasses, and stir well. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and milk together. Add to the dough. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too dry—you want a firm dough. Knead for a few minutes. Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until biscuits are brown and firm.
From homemade dog treat recipes to doggy shampoo, here are some other clever pet products you can make at home.
Courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital
Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk, 1 large egg, 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 beef bouillon cube (dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water), 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Directions: Mix all ingredients until well blended. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 300°F for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
In general, this is the very best diet for dogs, according to vets.
Pumpkin Pup Puffs
Courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 1/2 cups oats, 1/4 cup applesauce (make sure you’re using applesauce without xylitol in your recipe)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet, and press flat with a fork. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, and then cool on a wire rack before serving. To maximize freshness, be sure to store the puffs in an airtight container.
Why should you avoid xylitol in your homemade dog treats—and everything else? This common sweetener is toxic to dogs. Here’s how to know if your pet has food poisoning.
Przemysław Iciak/Getty ImagesCourtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups hot water, 1 cup oats, 1/3 cup margarine, 1 teaspoon beef bouillon, 3/4 cup powdered milk, 3/4 cup cornmeal, 1 large egg (beaten), 3 cups whole wheat flour
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, pour the hot water over the oats, margarine, and bouillon. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the powdered milk, cornmeal, and egg. Slowly stir in the flour to form a stiff bowl. Add more flour if needed. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface, and knead 3 to 5 minutes. Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for 50 minutes. Cool completely, and allow to dry thoroughly before storing.
Homemade Dog Biscuits
Courtesy of Petco
Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup brewers yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil or sesame oil, 1 cup chicken stock (or beef or vegetable stock)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400°F, and prepare two to three baking sheets by greasing them lightly or placing down parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Add your oil to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture and the stock to the oil, beating until the dough is well mixed. Shape the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Using a two-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds. You could also use a cookie cutter with a dog-biscuit shape. Transfer the biscuits to the greased baking sheets. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are well browned. Turn off the heat, and allow the biscuits to dry in the oven for several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Makes about two dozen delicious homemade dog biscuits.
Since you’ll be saving by making this dog treat recipe at home, you can splurge a little on these things your dog wishes you’d buy at Petco.
Chicken Liver Cookies
Courtesy of Petco
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 cup wheat germ (or 1 cup cornmeal, or 1/2 cup of each) 1 egg, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried), 1 cup chopped chicken livers (cooked)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and wheat germ (or cornmeal). In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with the oil, then add the broth and parsley; mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, stirring to combine. Fold in the chicken livers. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it briefly. The dough will be firm. Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and cut it into desired shapes. Place cookies one inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm. Cool completely before serving. Store cookies in the refrigerator or freezer. Makes about 24 small or 15 medium-sized dog cookies.
Courtesy of Petco
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups rye flour, 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour, 1 cup wheat germ, 1 teaspoon dried kelp or alfalfa, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth, 1 pound ground chicken, 1 to 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast.
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the first six dry ingredients. Slowly add oil, broth, and chicken, mixing well. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then place it on a greased cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown. Cool completely, then break into bite-size pieces. Place pieces in a bag with the brewer’s yeast, and shake to coat. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes two to three dozen dog treats.
Incorporating chicken into your homemade dog treats and other doggy dishes is a good idea since it’s one of the best cancer-fighting foods for dogs.
Carrot and Hummus Cookies
Eva Blanco/Getty ImagesCourtesy of Dr. Osborne
Ingredients: 16 ounces chickpeas, 1 pound beef liver steaks, 1 bag organic carrots, 4 cups water (distilled or filtered), 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Directions: Place the chickpeas in a bowl with the 4 cups of filtered water, and soak for 24 hours. Soaking allows the chickpeas to absorb water, which hydrates them so that they become soft; this results in a delightful creamy hummus. Sear the 1-pound beef liver steaks with 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan. Sear both sides until fully cooked. Drain the water from the 16 ounces of chickpeas that soaked overnight, and discard the water. Use a food processor to mix the chickpeas until they look creamy. There is no need to add additional water. The raw hydrated chickpeas have been transformed into hummus! Put the hummus into a ziplock bowl with a tightly sealed lid. Then, place the seared and cooked beef liver into the food processor, and pulse until you have creamed liver pâté. Mix the liver pâté and hummus in the same ziplock bowl.
To assemble the cookies: Slice your carrot slices as thin as possible. Arrange half of them on a plate, and place a dollop of the 50-50 mixture of creamed hummus and liver pâté as the carrot-cookie filling. Top with the other carrot slices. Makes 12 cookies.
Pet’unkin Tofu Pie
Courtesy of Dr. Osborne
Ingredients: For the crust: 2 cups Kashi Good Friends Cereal, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup organic apple juice concentrate. For the filling: 1 pound firm tofu (drained; use Silken tofu for a creamier texture), 1 can pumpkin (or 2 cups of fresh-baked pumpkin), 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 cup honey (local varieties are best), 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend
Directions: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the Kashi Good Friends Cereal in a plastic bag, and crush it with a rolling pin. (You can also put the cereal in a food processor or a blender until it is semi-fine in texture.) Place the crushed cereal in a bowl, and add the remaining crust ingredients. Stir until well mixed. Place in a lightly oiled 9-inch glass pie pan, and press into place with a spoon or rubber spatula. Bake at 375°F for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before filling. Next, blend all filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the 9-inch pie crust. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 1 hour. Chill before serving to help to firm up the pie. Serves eight.
Bonus: You can share these homemade dog treats with your pup! And these human foods are actually good for your dog.
Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Courtesy of VCA Hospital
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup water (or as needed), 1/2 cup canola oil, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease the cookie sheets. Mix together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, and rolled oats. In another bowl, combine and mix the water, oil, eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Gradually add the liquids to the dry ingredients, and mix well. On a flat surface, roll out the dough and cut into fun shapes. Place cookies on cookie sheets, and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the oven off, but keep the cookies in the oven for an additional 20 minutes to get crisp.
Treats for Anxious Dogs
Ingredients: 1- to 5-ounce can of tuna, chicken, or salmon in water, 1 egg, 1 cup tapioca flour. For anxiety: Add 1 capsule of either valerian root 500 mg, lemon balm 300 mg, chamomile 350 mg, or 1 dropper Liposomal CBD by Pet Releaf.
Directions: Use a blender to mix the protein, egg, and tapioca until it resembles pancake batter. Add pumpkin or broth if it’s too thick or thin. Once it’s blended, stir in your preferred supplement with a spoon. Pour the mixture over/into a silicone baking dot pan, and smooth out the excess over the dots. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Pop the little treats out and place them in a storage bag. You can store excess treats in the freezer. There are no preservatives in these treats, so they will only last five to six days unrefrigerated. This recipe can be doubled or tripled, depending on need.
These treats can be made without the herbs or made with the herbs to help soothe anxiety. Ask your veterinarian if herbal supplements are safe for your dog. In addition to these homemade dog treats, here are some other ways to calm an anxious dog without medication.