There are lots of advantages to making your own dog treats; they’re healthier and you can customize the ingredients, for example. Once you get the hang of it, you can create your own healthy dog treat recipes. Just be sure to avoid chocolate, grapes, walnuts, and raisins.
Here are some recipe ideas to get you started.
1. Crunchy Breath-Freshening Treats
Most of us are familiar with the sprig of parsley on the side of our restaurant entree, but you may not know that it is there because of its reputation as a breath freshener. This dog treat recipe contains parsley to help with doggie breath.
- 1 cup minced parsley leaves, stems included (you can use flat or curly-leafed parsley)
- 1/4 cup carrot, grated finely
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the parsley, carrot, and canola oil. In a larger bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Add the veggie mixture and mix it with your hands. It will begin to look like large crumbs. Then add the water and knead the mixture until it comes together in a ball.
Roll the dough out on a level surface dusted with flour. When the dough is about 1/2 inch thick, cut into whatever shapes you like. Bone-shaped cutters are fun, but your dog probably won’t care. Use holiday cookie cutters if you like. Just bear in mind that the larger the shape the longer the baking time, and vice versa.
Bake on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet for 30 minutes. Cool treats in the oven with the door cracked after you turn off the heat.
2. Wheat and Corn Free Peanut Butter Treats
Dogs love peanut butter! Here is a treat without wheat flour or corn for dogs with allergies to these foods.
- 1 cup natural, crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar or salt)
- 2 cups liquid – low-sodium or home-made chicken or beef stock, veggie stock, or just water
- 1/3 cup oil, such as safflower or flax (these tend to be anti-inflammatory, which can help an allergic dog)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup oat bran
- 3 cups rice, oat, or rye flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, heat the peanut butter, liquid, and oil. Bring to a simmer while stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oats and oat bran. Allow the mixture to cool to a comfortable temperature, because the next step involves your hands.
Gradually add the flour of your choice, kneading and adding up to another cup of flour to get the right consistency. Dough should be smooth.
Roll dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into whatever shapes you like. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn the treats over and bake another 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks, or leave in the cooling oven for extra crunch.
3. Liver Treats
These treats are simple – they are just dehydrated liver. They are good for training because they have no fillers and are absolutely irresistible to dogs.
Simply cut a pound of calves’ or beef liver into strips. Lay them on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, making sure the strips aren’t touching. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours, rotating the tray halfway through. Cool strips on the parchment paper on a wire rack. Freeze up to four months or refrigerate up to two weeks.