Why Homemade Dog Treats?

By: Sarah Gardner

Homemade dog treats might seem a daunting task, but if you want a happy, healthy dog, one with a constant wiggle, then making them yourself might be your answer. Some dog owners are not sure how to make dog treats. There's plenty of natural and organic dog treats made with real ingredients, but they are not exactly cheap to buy, and there is no guarantee that you'll be happy with the ingredients - Organic dog treats may still contain high amounts of sugar. Going down the do-it-yourself route is simple, inexpensive, plus the treats will be healthier and full of nutrients. The best part of all is they're safe so that you won't run the risk of your dogs treats showing up on any dog food recall lists. You can sign up and receive the latest dog treat recalls via e-mail today. 

Dogs love homemade dog treatsMy dog "Lady" by the lake, before she had a summertime swim!

After a few years of getting my dog, Lady, and doing some research into dog treats and food, I have realized how bad the ingredients in commercial dog treats can be. I only wish I had done this research earlier to warn my friends and family of the harmful ingredients and the dangerous dog treats that can be found in pet stores and grocery stores. 

For convenience, I had been purchasing processed dog treats from my local pet store, but they cost me a small fortune each month. Besides, I started to become uncomfortable with feeding Lady something that could be harmful. I continued my research and ended up baking, dehydrating, and cooking up a storm of healthy homemade dog treats for Lady which I am excited to share with you. You can view all my homemade recipes here.

Recipes For Homemade Dog Treats

Homemade Dog Treats

I use limited ingredients in all my homemade recipes, many of which you'll already find in your cupboard or even leftovers from dinner. Learning how to make dog treats allows you to have the freedom of choosing high-quality pure and natural ingredients to go into your dog's treat. It also eliminates the possibility of your dogs treats containing harmful ingredients, nasty additives, or even crazy amounts of sugar, which can eventually cause health problems for your dog. By making treats yourself, you can avoid all of these problems, oh, and did I mention they'll be cheaper too? Here are a few to get you started.  






Would You Give Your Dog An Unhealthy Treat? 

I'm sure you don't want to give your dog a treat that is unhealthy. Let alone one that could potentially be harmful in the long run, and neither do I. By making treats at home, you can give your dog a delicious treat that contains only pure ingredients without any harsh preservatives or ingredients at a more economical cost. A treat that is going to taste amazing to them, which will make them get excited for more. Many of my healthy homemade dog treat recipes are safe for human consumption. One of Lady's favorite treats is Cheesy Crunchy Snaps.  We sit on the sofa together and share them. I can guarantee, if your dog loves cheese, they are going to go crazy for this treat! It's a rewarding feeling to know that the healthiest treats for them are the ones cooked by you.

All the recipes for homemade dog treats on my website contain simple ingredients, which are 100% pure and simple. There should be no need to write down 10+ ingredients that you need to go and buy from the store. I have concentrated on keeping the recipes basic and low cost but still ensuring that the treats are scummy to our dogs and possibly us owners. Most of my recipes are human-grade meaning, and there should be something for all tastes even if your dog has allergies, diabetes, sensitive stomachs, or is just a picky eater.

Dehydrated Dog Treats

Finding the perfect treat for your dog can be a challenge at times, but dehydrating food for your dog is an absolute winner. Dehydrated treats are very simple to make. The best thing with the dehydrator is that it locks in all the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and amino acids right into the treat, ensuring your dog gets all the essential nutrients. You can make a range of dehydrated treats for your dog from meat, fruit, and vegetables - and you can eat them as a snack too! I have a Nesco Dehydrator at home, which I purchased from Amazon and highly recommend. 

What I love about the Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Dehydrator is that it allows you to control the temperature depending on what you are dehydrating, it comes with five dehydrating trays, jerky gun, two fruit roll sheets, and two clean-a-screens for drying herbs or fruit. 

If your dog is prone to allergies or digestive problems, dehydrated treats are a safe way to go. By making these homemade dog treats, you'll have complete control over the ingredients so can ensure that the top allergens, i.e., wheat or corn, are not included.   

Dog Treats For Senior Dogs

As dogs enter their twilight years and become seniors, they become more vulnerable to obesity and age-related illnesses. Feeding them a high-quality diet which is low in carbohydrates and sugars will benefit them by helping them to live a long and healthy life.  

Feeding your senior dog the best food your budget allows is essential. However, you also need to ensure that we do the same for the treats that we give them. After all, no one wants to stop giving their dog treats just because they become a senior. However, given that most senior dogs are less active, we need to pay a little more attention to the quality of treats.  

The best way to feed treats that are healthy and tasty is to make them yourself. This way, you know what the ingredients are, you can choose and adapt recipes to suit your dog, and it's a lot more economical for you and healthier for your dog.  

Wheat and Gluten Free Dog Treats

When making treats for dogs, 'meat' is an absolute winning ingredient that doesn't contain any wheat or sugar and what dog doesn't love meat? The best treats I've made for my dogs is the dehydrated meat treats. They're easy to make, full of nutrients, have limited ingredients, and dogs go crazy for them. Of course, you can also dehydrate fruits and vegetables for healthy wheat or gluten-free alternative. 

If you love to bake and wish to make cookie-type treats, then there are plenty of grain free or gluten free recipes available. Brown rice flour is an excellent alternative to wheat and can be combined with flax-meal and pumpkin to make a delicious grain or gluten-free dog treat. If you want to avoid only grain (not gluten), then you can try some recipes that use a much healthier alternative to wheat such as oat flour.   

Low Fat Homemade Dog Treats

If you have a dog that is already overweight, or you want to avoid them getting that way, then homemade dog treats that are low in fat, is a great option.  Dogs, especially those on a diet, are good at giving us those puppy-dog eyes when they want a treat.  

Unfortunately, many commercial treats are full of fats, sugar, and carbohydrates so even one or two will have them piling on the pounds.  Luckily, there is an alternative!  By making your homemade dog treats you can control the ingredients and use only those that are low in fat. You can find a list of my recipes here - and can switch out ingredients for low fat alternatives.   

Making Homemade Treats Last Longer

Homemade dоg treats are fun and easy to make but іf you've made them in the past and have found them growing mold after a couple of days at room temperature, you might want to know why - The reason is moisture! 

We all need water to live, but іt'ѕ nоt a friend to anything kept in storage. If you've had a flood in your basement and later found a moldy box, you know what I mean. Your freshly baked dog treats will last longer іn the refrigerator or in the freezer.

What Is The Problem With Moisture? 

Most dogs love a freshly baked treat and know the difference between homemade treats and the supermarket variety cooked-to-death dog treats like 'Milkbones.' Try giving your dog one of each; I bet they react very differently to a homemade dog treat than they do to a Milkbone! For more information about the dangers of giving your dog 'Milkbones' check out my dangerous dog treats page. 

With homemade dog treats, you're able to control the ingredients, even baking grain-free, gluten-free, organic, vegetarian, diabetic, hypoallergenic and healthy ones if you choose.

Homemade treats are often softer than store-bought treats which work well for dogs that have gum problems; these dogs will undoubtedly appreciate the softer treats. However, it's precisely the softness that causes homemade treats to mold quicker coupled with the fact that they don't contain artificial preservatives. You should refrigerate or freeze your homemade dog treats to help them last longer. 

For example, after you've baked Liver Sponge Cake, it has a high moisture content which makes it moist and delicious for dogs. But it's only going to last a few days in a cupboard or up to a week in the fridge. The taste and texture of Liver Sponge Cake makes it an excellent training treat for dogs. You can make a large batch and freeze into multiple packs ready for when you're going to do some training. Simply get a pack out of the freezer the night before.  

Human Foods To Avoid Giving To Your Dog

Some foods that are great and healthy for us humans can be toxic and very dangerous for our dogs. Before you get brave and add new ingredients to your homemade dog treats, it is essential to check that it is safe for your dog first.

Human Foods To Avoid Giving To Your Dog
  • Chocolate 
  • Coffee
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Yeast Dough 
  • Potato Skins
  • Peach Pits
  • Onions
  • Nutmeg 
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Alcohol 
  • Apple Seeds
  • Apricot Pits
  • Cherry Pits
  • Persimmon Seeds
  • Plum Pits
  • Tea
  • Xylitol (found in commercial treats)
  • Candy

Commercial Dog Treats 

There have been reports proven that some commercial dog treats can change your dog’s personality dramatically. This is due to the high amount of sugar and artificial food coloring that they contain – which unfortunately can lead to uncontrollable excitement in your dog, which can potentially lead to behavioral problems and sugar addiction. Do our dogs need sugar…No, absolutely not!

Homemade dog treats are quick, easy and straightforward. Many dogs have health problems (same as us humans) such as diabetes, weight problems, allergies, sensitive stomachs, etc... But that doesn't mean they have to miss out - all of my recipes can be adapted to suit any dog with health problems. 

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