If you don’t want to give your dog the traditional Milk Bone-style treats that you can pick up at the store for a couple bucks, there’s no reason to start making your own at home. It’s easier than you might think, it doesn’t take longer than it would take to make a batch of cookies, and you don’t need any hard-to-find ingredients. What’s more, you’ll know exactly what goes into them, so you can avoid any ingredients your dog might be sensitive to, like corn or wheat.
Whether you’re looking to create a great gift for a dog owner in your life or you just want to give your dog the very best foods, making things in your own kitchen is always going to win out over store-bought treats—it’s the same way homemade cookies work! Aside from making treats with great ingredients to your dog’s dietary preferences or restrictions, homemade dog treats can be less expensive overall—sure, the ingredients will cost more upfront, but you can make a LOT of dog treats for that cost. Past these benefits, making your own dog treats is a good way to create new and exciting flavors for your dog to eat. After all, most dog treats come in the same four or five varieties—if your dog particularly loves carrots or bananas, for instance, you won’t find dog treats with those ingredients. With homemade treats, the sky’s the limit—you can bake your canine BFF the treats of their dreams.
How to Make Dog Treats
Creating homemade dog treats is pretty easy. It can be as simple as slicing up some sweet potatoes and putting them in a food dehydrator (or a 125-degree oven on a cooling rack for 6-8 hours), or you can go all out and mix up some “cookie” dough. Look online for a recipe that includes things like vegetable puree or even bacon fat as the binding ingredient, peanut butter, bananas and whole wheat flour. In the fall, make pumpkin-peanut butter treats, or for Christmas, make turkey and ham. The options are limitless, so if your dogs like apples and cheddar, you can do that. For optimal ease, combine your favorite flour or flour substitute with a jar of baby food! If you feel like seeking out unique ingredients, brewer’s years can give the treats a distinct smell that your dog will love.
Remember Not to Go Overboard
One catch about homemade dog treats is that they will go stale or mold faster than store-bought options. For that reason, it’s important to moderate your dog’s treat consumption and resist temptation to give them more treats in order to avoid wasting treats before they go bad. You can always freeze treats once they’ve been baked (or make a big batch of dough and freeze them in small amounts, to be baked off when you run out), but one thing’s for sure—your dog will love to eat these up, so be sure that your pet doesn’t overindulge!