Perhaps your dog is suffering from weight issues or poor dental hygiene. Homemade dog treats are a great way to incorporate special ingredients that can help to optimize your dog’s health. Although your dog’s furrowed eyebrows, cocked head, and wagging tail may seduce you into feeding him more treats than is necessary, be sure not to overdo it. Your dog needs a nutritionally balanced diet and your delicious treats should be included in the overall calorie count to prevent obesity.
You have complete control over the ingredients. Leave out the additives, preservatives, and fillers that have no nutritional value. If you know your dog is crazy about certain foods, have at it! Or, if there are particular flavors he’s not a fan of, leave those out. Feel at ease knowing you’re feeding your dog something healthy with wholesome ingredients. Best of all, if your dog has sensitivities to certain ingredients or is on a special diet, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on specialty items when you can simply make it at home.
Making your own dog treats is typically quite cost-effective. Especially if you already have many of the ingredients on hand—perhaps you have parsley growing in your garden. Necessary ingredients that you do have to buy can often be found in the bulk section of your grocery store, and if the cost seems expensive up front, remember that you will likely be able to make many batches from your one purchase.
Size of your dog
When you make homemade treats, the control is in your hands, so you can make them an appropriate size for your dog. A Rhodesian ridgeback and a Yorkshire terrier certainly do not need the same size biscuit. The choices available online are ample for buying fun dog biscuit cookie cutters in different shapes and sizes.
Foster your relationship
What better way to say “I love you” to your dog than by making him something special to eat?
Caution: Not all of recipes for homemade dog treats are advantageous to canine health. Check with ABC Veterinary Hospital if you are unsure about certain ingredients.
Be sure to let us know how your homemade treats turn out and pin your recipes to our Pet Nutrition Pinterest board.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin
Yield: About 24 small treats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oats (option if your dog is on a grain-free diet, substitute an extra 1/4 cup grain-free flour)
2 cups whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten-free flour
3 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, oats, and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, and peanut butter until combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
Pour onto a floured surface and roll the dough until it is 1/2" thick. Cut out the biscuits using a cookie cutter. The dough will be a little sticky; a dusting of flour on your hands and the rolling pin will help! Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
Place on cooling racks and let cool thoroughly. The biscuits will harden as they cool.
* 1/2 tsp of salt can be added to these treats to help extend the shelf life, but it is optional.
* Cinnamon is fine to use in recipes for dogs; however, do not use a pumpkin spice blend or anything that could contain nutmeg. It is toxic to dogs and, even in small amounts, can make them sick.