Aside from being a huge nerd, I’m also a big animal lover. I have shown dogs (Borzoi) since I was ten years old, and have worked in a veterinary hospital. I’ve been devouring books on animal health since I was a young child, and love to find healthy, homemade alternatives to the treats you see on the shelves. As someone who worked a popular pet supply store, I have seen numerous recalls and dealt with countless returns of dog and cat treats. Those popular, store-bought treats may not be the best possible option for little Sparky over there. Instead, check out why homemade dog treats are a healthier option.
(Don’t worry, cats will get there moment soon!)
Why are homemade dog treats better than store-bought?
Sparky has some terrible breath, right? You feel like you’re going to suffocate every time he tries to give you kisses? Instead of going out and spending money on bag after bag of treats that claim to “freshen bad breath”, why not just add some parsley to your dog’s diet? Adding some parsley to homemade dog treats will help combat bad breath in a fun, healthy, and affordable way. There are TONS of other advantages to homemade dog treats, too!
They Are Healthier!
Is your dog dealing with a weight issue? Is he in need of some dental work? Homemade dog treats are a healthy, great way to throw together special ingredients in a way that optimize your dog’s health – and they love them! So, while your dog may start dancing and wagging his tail wildly, do not overdo it on the treats. Your dog needs a balanced diet, and your delicious treats should be included in the overall calorie count – rather than added on – as an effective means of preventing obesity.
Be sure to take your dog’s size into account, too! When you make homemade dog treats, you have complete control. Make them an appropriate size for your dog. A Great Dane and a Yorkshire Terrier most certainly do NOT need the same size treat! The choices available online are numerous, and you can use them for buying fun and cute dog cookie cutters in different sizes and shapes.
They Have Better Ingredients!
Unlike with store-bought treats, you have complete control over the ingredients of homemade dog treats. Leave out the unhealthy additives, preservatives, fillers, and by-products that do more harm than good. Plus, if your dog has allergies or sensitivities towards certain ingredients, you can just leave those out and not have to worry about spending money on specialty treats and foods.
Stinky breath? Here comes that parsley again!
Dull coat? Itchy skin? Throw in some fish oil!
They Are Cheaper!
Making homemade dog treats will save you far more money than if you purchased store-bought treats – even those that are on sale. Necessary ingredients that you do have to buy can be found in bulk in the produce section of your grocery store. Furthermore, you can make several batches with just ONE store trip.
See For Yourself!
While the following recipe is healthy for dogs, not all of the recipes for homemade dog treats that are online ARE good for your dog. If you are unsure about any ingredients or recipes, be sure to check with your pet’s veterinarian.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Cookies
Yield: About 24 small treats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oats (If your dog should not have grains, substitute an extra 1/4 cup grain-free flour)
2 cups whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten-free flour
3 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon (Optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, oats, and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, and peanut butter until they are thoroughly combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Pour the mix out onto a floured surface and roll the dough until it is 1/2″ thick. Cut out the biscuits using one of your cute cookie cutters. The dough will be a little sticky; a dusting of flour on your hands and on the rolling pin will help a bunch! Bake the cookies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Place on cooling racks and let cool thoroughly. The biscuits will harden as they cool.
* 1/2 tsp of salt can be added to these treats to help extend the shelf life, but it is optional.
* Cinnamon is fine to use in recipes for dogs; however, do not use a pumpkin spice blend or anything that could contain nutmeg. It is toxic to dogs and, even in small amounts, can make them sick.