There are hundreds of dog treat products on the market today. They come in a variety of flavors, sizes and styles, but what do we really know about the treats we are willingly feeding our pets? With so many recalls happening, even from reputable food manufacturers, many pet parents are opting to make their own healthy dog snacks.
I know what you are thinking…who has that kind of time?
You may be surprised at just how easy these homemade dog treats really are. They can be made in about the same amount of time it takes you to get into your car, travel to the pet retailer, pick something out, stand in line…well you get the idea.
Read on for some helpful hints and recipe links for healthy and tasty dog snacks, delicious treats that you can feel good about feeding to your canine companion.
The Good Stuff
When baking DIY dog treats, the following ingredients are healthy choices and ones that are commonly used for dog biscuits:
Of course the basis of any baked product is a flour. It is safe for most dogs to use whole wheat, white, all-purpose, cake and pastry flour. However, if your pooch is sensitive to wheat, then you can sub in rice flour, almond flour, hazelnut flour and chickpea flour.
Fruits & Veggies
Adding shredded or cut up pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables is an excellent way to give a flavor profile to your DIY dog treats, and provide a boost of vitamins and antioxidants. These fruits and veggies are excellent choices for DIY dog biscuits:
- Apples: Vitamin C
- Pumpkin Puree: Vitamin A and antioxidants
- Sweet Potatoes: Vitamins E, A, B-6 and C, as well as calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, thiamine and iron.
- Blueberries: Antioxidants
DIY dog treats made with all-natural or commercial peanut butter is an all-time favorite of most canines. This sticky stuff is high in protein and makes the perfect binder for dog biscuits. Plus, dogs find them delicious! Check out this easy DIY recipe for PB dog biscuits.
There are other ingredients that will give your DIY dog treats a flavor boost, such as bacon. This savory substance is irresistible to dogs, and a little bit goes a long way. Here is a bacon dog biscuit recipe you just have to try.
Adding chicken or beef broth to your recipe will also enhance the flavor. Using eggs as a binding gives the double benefit of taste and a protein boost.
The Bad Stuff
We covered the healthy stuff to use in DIY dog treats, but there are some ingredients you will want to avoid:
- Onions – this veggie contains thiosulphate which can damage your dog’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia.
- Garlic – even in very small amounts, garlic can also cause damage to the red blood cells.
- Chocolate – the dangerous ingredient found in chocolate is theobromine, which even in small amounts can build up in your pet’s system causing toxicity.
- Macadamia Nuts – even though peanut butter is fine for dogs avoid the macadamia nut. These can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting and even hypothermia in dogs.
- Almonds, Pecans and Walnuts – these are high in fats and oils, which can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
- Xylitol – this is an artificial sweetener which can lead to a higher release of insulin in your dog’s system. This in-turn will lower your dog’s sugar levels, leading to possible liver failure.
- Yeast dough – avoid recipes that require yeast. If your pooch consumes raw yeast dough it can cause severe bloating in its stomach, which can be potentially deadly.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of homemade dog treats, look through your cupboards and refrigerator for the makings of some healthy doggie snacks. You can feel good knowing you are using good wholesome ingredients, and that these treats are made with love. Your pet will gobble them up!