Dogs are important family members who deserve only the best. And that means healthy and safe dog treats. The best way to ensure your dog eats safe and healthy dog treats is to make them yourself. Making homemade dog treats gives you control over the ingredients you put into them.
Safe Dog Treat Ingredients
What can you include? Well, many vegetables and fruits are safe for dogs. Or you can make a meaty dog treat recipe. Today, we’ll talk about some safe treats you can make in the convenience of your home.
You’ll notice there are no peanut butter dog treats. Why? Because while many dog lovers allow their pet to have peanut butter, it is actually not a safe ingredient.
And the best part? Tasty homemade treats motivate your dog even more to work and train.
Why Avoid Store-Bought Dog Treats?
Just check the label of any dog treats you buy. You’ll see most brands and manufacturers list more than 20 ingredients in simple treats. Are they all necessary for simple dog cookies? Probably not.
Some of these ingredients can be toxic chemicals. Here are some ingredients that you should look out for and avoid:
- Corn syrup / high fructose corn syrup or other sugars
- Xylitol or sugar alcohols
- Excessive salt
- Vegetable or seed oils
- Artificial colors and dyes (eg Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5)
- Brewers rice
- Preservatives like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
- Propylene glycol
- Nitrates or nitrites
- Rendered fat
- Wheat gluten
- “Natural” flavors (often made from MSG)
These are all unsafe additives or chemicals in commercial dog treats. They offer no health benefits and many can be harmful.
Top 7 Homemade Dog Treats
Here are some safe and healthy dog treats that are easy to make at home. Use organic ingredients if possible, to avoid the risk of pesticide residues.
Pumpkin And Carrot Treats
Let’s start with some meat-free healthy treats. Pumpkin, carrots, and apples are three ingredients packed with vitamins that support your dog’s health.
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup shredded carrots
- ¼ cup shredded apple
- 1 beaten egg
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups chickpea flour
- Line a baking sheet and preheat oven to 350F.
- Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until you have a smooth mixture and then transfer to a surface dusted with flour. Roll out to half an inch of thickness, and then cut out treats using a cookie cutter.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
Blueberry And Yogurt Frozen Treats
Think of this as a frozen smoothie for your furry friend. Blueberries are a premium source of antioxidants … and your dog needs them as much as you do.
- 4 oz yogurt
- 4 oz water
- ½ cup blueberries
- Whisk together yogurt and water to prepare the base. If you want a creamier treat, add more yogurt and less water.
- Pour into dog treat mold but leave room for the blueberries.
- Add blueberries to each mold and put it in the freezer until firm.
No-Bake Pumpkin Treats
If you’re not into baking, don’t worry. These are as tasty as baked goods, with no oven needed!
- ¾ cup MCT or flaxseed oil
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- Blend the oil with the pumpkin puree.
- Get a silicone mold and spoon the mixture into each cavity. Add some cinnamon for extra health benefits.
- Fill in all cavities and then place in the freezer for an hour. Serve them solid.
Chicken And Carrot Popsicles
This is my dog Milo’s favorite homemade dog treat. He goes nuts when I put it out of the freezer.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken leg thighs or leg quarters
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- Pinch of turmeric
- Pinch of ginger
- Poach chicken meat with enough water to cover, until cooked through.
- Add shredded carrots.
- Leave the chicken “soup” to cool.
- Remove chicken meat and cut it into small pieces. Then return to the broth.
- Add ginger and turmeric.
- Pour chicken soup into muffin tin mold. Put it in the freezer.
- Leave it to freeze overnight. Before serving, heat for a few seconds so that you can remove it from the mold.
RELATED: Can dogs eat carrots?
Fish Dog Treats
Dogs love fish, and it is one of the best ingredients you can use in their diet. Here is a simple recipe you can make.
- 1 cup (raw or canned) fish of your choice (eg salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup roasted chickpeas
- Whisk the eggs until blended.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, and in the meantime, grind the roasted chickpeas in a food processor until it looks like flour.
- Mix everything together in a large bowl.
- Roll it on a flat surface and cut any shapes you want using a cookie cutter.
- Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
RELATED: Is fish safe for dogs?
Dog-Safe Ice Cream
You can never go wrong with ice cream. Here is a refreshing dog ice cream recipe for those warm and sunny days.
- 1 ripe banana
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup Greek or plain yogurt, or any unsweetened dairy-free alternative
- Cut a ripe banana into small pieces.
- Blend together bananas, blueberries, cinnamon, and yogurt (make sure your yogurt option is free from xylitol and added sugars).
- Pour the smooth mixture into dog molds and freeze.
Gingerbread Cookies For Dogs
Gngerbread cookies are a holiday favorite … and there’s no reason your dog can’t enjoy them too. You’ll just need to modify the treats recipe a bit by using this grain-free treat recipe. Ginger has health benefits for dogs as well!
- 2 ½ cups chickpea flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp ground ginger
- Honey (depending on your dog’s size, ¼ teaspoon per 20 lbs of weight)*
- ½ cup warm water
- ¼ cup flaxseed or MCT oil
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Mix ginger, cinnamon, and flour in a large bowl. Then, in a small bowl, stir together honey, oil, and water.
- Pour the honey mixture into the flour and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
- Roll out the cookie dough to thickness of approximately half an inch.
- Cut the cookies into shapes.
- Lightly oil your baking sheet and place the cookies on it.
- Bake for 20 minutes and then let the biscuits cool down.
*Caution: Don’t give honey to puppies under 1 year old. Raw honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores that can make puppies sick.
How Many Dog Treats To Feed
When we talk about healthy homemade dog treats, remember these are not meals or substitutes for meals. You should use dog treats as rewards for training sessions and good behavior.
As a general rule of thumb, dog treats, even if they’re healthy and homemade, should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. So, 90% of your dog’s diet should come from his dog food.