You love your dog, and you show it in many ways. Whether you let your pooch share the bed with you or you wake up at five in the morning for a walk on their schedule — or both — you make it clear how much you care about your four-legged family member.
Whipping up your own doggie treats is the next frontier for you. You probably already buy your dog pre-made snacks from the pet store, but not all come with the kind of healthy ingredients you want for your dog. Plus, the treats you buy aren’t always appropriately portioned — you might be giving your extra-small dog an extra-large bone, which isn’t good for them either.
Treats should make up 10 percent or less of your dog’s diet, according to the American Kennel Club, so they should be high-quality.
The following eight recipes give you power over two crucial factors: ingredients and portion size. Try your hand at baking a few, and see just how much your pooch loves a homemade touch to their treats — and how good you feel knowing exactly what your pet is eating.
1. Frozen Fall Pumpkin Treats
This recipe bills itself as seasonal, but pumpkin tastes delicious to your dog all year long. Plus, because these treats are frozen, they might be better for warmer months when your pup needs to cool down after playing or going for a walk in the blazing sun.
To a can of pure pumpkin puree, you’ll add a cup of plain yogurt and a half-cup of peanut butter. After blending all of that with a hand mixer, you can pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze your quick-and-easy treats for 12 hours before serving them to your pooch.
Just make sure you place the frozen snack into your pup’s bowl since they can’t chew it like they would a room-temperature biscuit. In other words, they’ll probably make a mess if they’re not licking their pumpkin popsicle out of a dish.
2. Breath Fresheners
Dogs aren’t usually known for having good breath, and these treats take that fact into consideration. They naturally freshen your pup’s mouth without any artificial flavors — instead, you’ll combine a half-cup of fresh mint leaves with a half-cup of fresh parsley to perk things up.
The rest of the recipe is simple too: a large egg, coconut oil, rolled oats and water round out your must-haves to make dog-friendly breath fresheners.
3. Carrot Oat Applesauce Treats
If you have a farm full of pets to treat, you’re in luck — this recipe works for both dogs and horses. You’ll need a half-cup each of instant oats, unsweetened applesauce, finely grated carrot and flour.
After mixing all four ingredients, you'll spoon and plop them onto a baking sheet, where they'll cook for 20 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees. The final treats will last in the fridge for up to a week, and your dogs and horses will be happy about it.
4. Sweet Potato Dog Chews
It doesn’t get much simpler than this recipe, which calls for a single ingredient: sweet potato. Grab three of the orangey tubers from your local grocery store, bring them home and slice them lengthwise into 1/3-inch strips. Once you’re finished, you’ll leave them to cook for six hours in a 200-degree oven so that they get nice and chewy.
The finished product can last for up to two weeks in a sealed container. If your pooch can’t get through the entire stash in that time, they make a great gift for other dog owners in your life.
5. Chicken Dog Treats
This recipe calls for chicken, but notes you can pack your homemade treats with any other meat your pup fancies. Let’s face it though: It’d be hard to find a dog that doesn’t like chicken.
To a cup of your chosen protein, you’ll add a half-cup of cooked-and-mashed rice, one tablespoon of parsley, an egg and three tablespoons of rice flour. The recipe’s creator spooned the resulting mixture into a silicone mold and baked little heart-shaped treats, which might make it easier for you to portion yours out too. After that, pop your tray into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes before letting the treats cool and storing them in the refrigerator.
6. Two-Ingredient Dog Treats
Do you have a dog and a baby? You’re in luck — you probably have both of the ingredients required to make this recipe already in your pantry. All you have to do is mix two cups of whole wheat flour with two four-ounce jars of pureed baby food. Choose a flavor depending on your pup’s taste, although the recipe’s writer suggests flavors like blueberry, chicken, beef and sweet potato.
Once you have your dough, roll it out — you might have to add water or flour if it’s too stiff to flatten. Stamp out cookie cutter shapes, or simply use a knife or pizza cutter to create treat cubes that you’ll bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Bacon Cheddar Dog Treats
Somewhere, your dog’s ears just perked up — bacon?! Yes, this four-ingredient recipe centers on the meat favored by both man and beast, and it’s very simple to whip up as long as you have a mixer on hand. The machine’s movement will break bacon and shredded cheddar into smaller bits so that each treat has a bit of that savory flavor your dog craves. You’ll add oatmeal and eggs, too, so that your mixture has a bake-able base.
8. Easy Peanut Butter Dog Treats
You’d be hard-pressed to find a dog that’d turn down a peanut butter-flavored snack. This one’s super simple to make too: Just mix two cups of flour, a half-cup of peanut butter and two eggs. Then, add just enough water to make the dough malleable enough to roll out flat. You can use a cookie cutter to create fun treat shapes before baking them for 15 minutes — after that, your pooch can munch away on their new, simple snack.
Treat Your Pup
These recipes show just how simple it is to whip up a healthy, all-natural, portion-controlled snack for your pooch. Roll up your sleeves and get to baking — your four-legged friend will be glad you did!