Most dog owners enjoy giving treats to their pets. Some may use them for rewards during training, while others simply love to give a treat to spoil their pet. There are many choices when it comes to buying dog treats and high quality treats can be very expensive. Recently, I started to make my own dog treats and found out it is very easy and inexpensive and my dogs love them. However, making my own treats isn’t just less expensive, it also offers me the opportunity to carefully choose the ingredients I want to use. I can even add herbs and oils that have holistic properties. If you would like to make your own dog treats, here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Choose Ingredients carefully
The beauty about making your dog treats at home is that you are able to carefully choose ingredients based on your dog’s preferences or food sensitivities.
Making your own treats is a great way to include vegetables and herbs you may otherwise not feed. I love making dog biscuits with shredded carrots and spinach. I use blue berries and yogurt in one of my dog treats and even made up a recipe for fresh breath cookies that includes mint and parsley!
If your dog has a food sensitivity, it is easy to substitute ingredients. I use brown rice flour in a lot of my recipes, which is a great substitute for wheat flour. I have used applesauce instead of eggs if a pet had reactions to eggs.
2. Add Natural Remedies to Heal
There are many ingredients that I use in my homemade dog treats that help with my dog’s health. For example, to help with arthritis I add turmeric to my dog treats, it has anti-inflammatory properties. You can also use flaxseed, as it also helps with inflammation, in addition to providing the needed nutrients for a healthy coat and skin.
If my dog has a stomach upset, or a spurt of diarrhea, I make some delicious dog biscuits with canned pumpkin. Pumpkin also helps with constipation.
When I want to use holistic oils, such as CBD oil, which helps with pain or anxiety, I choose a no-bake recipe to ensure the oil does not loose it’s effectiveness due to high temperatures in baking.
3. Avoid harmful ingredients
The benefit of homemade dog treats is that they contain no artificial flavors, chemicals or preservatives. Be sure to choose only dog-approved ingredients, and never use any ingredient that contains artificial sweeteners. Also some ingredients that are healthy for humans, such as garlic, are toxic for dogs, so be sure to research new ingredient before using them in your treats.
I make sure that I use only natural unsweetened applesauce in my recipes. Many regular applesauce may include sweeteners, which can be harmful to dogs. The same applies to peanut butter. PB is one of the most used ingredients in homemade dog treats. Be sure to use a natural peanut butter and never use anything that has the words “light” on it, as this is a sure indicator that the item was made with artificial sweetener.
4. Make small patches and store treats properly
Homemade dog treats are healthy and contain no preservative. It is therefore important to store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freeze them. I prefer to make smaller patches that I can use up within one of two weeks. Never leave your homemade dog treats at room temperature, as they will quickly mold!
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5. Have fun and think outside the box
Once I started making my own dog treats, I realized that there are a lot of great recipes available on the internet and I started to experiment with my own. There are many ways to spoil your dog, from making baked biscuits and non-bake treats to pupsicles, which are frozen dog treats. If you enjoy cooking or baking for your family, you will love making your own dog treats.
When I started to share my recipes online, through my blog, I got a lot of positive feedback and I published my own dog treat recipe book. Check out some of my previous posts for recipes:
Cheesy Spinach Cookies
Cheesy Spinach Cookies
By Birgit Walker
Birgit is the author of two books Chew On This - Homemade Dog Treat Recipes, and Keep Your Paws on the Road - A Practical Guide to Traveling with Dogs. She also writes a blog and offers a lively Facebook group that shares dog travel adventures. Visit her on her website at ModernCanineServices.com