With the holiday season in full swing, you may be scanning recipe sites and cookbooks to find the perfect meal to make for your big family dinner. But what about your four-footed family members? This year, bake them up something special – not only will they enjoy a holiday treat, but you can rest easy knowing they’re eating high-quality, natural foods. Read on to learn the advantages of making homemade dog treats, what ingredients you should avoid, and some of our favorite recipes.
Why Make Homemade Treats?
Besides showing your pup some extra love, homemade treats have many benefits. Just as humans strive to eat nutritious foods, dogs need a healthy diet, too. Store-bought treats can contain a lot of ingredients, some of which may not be healthy for your dog. But even organic brands could still contain high amounts of sugar or other ingredients you don’t want your dog to consume.
By making your own treats, you gain complete control over the ingredients you feed your dog, and can adjust portion sizes as necessary. These nutritious snacks can come in handy when teaching new behaviors, as the novel flavors will make your dog extra-focused. Plus, homemade treats are more cost-effective than their store bought alternative.
What Should I Avoid?
There are a lot of recipes for dog treats out there, and as a general rule, you should look for those that contain relatively few ingredients (typically between 5 and 10). When choosing a recipe for your dog’s treats, avoid the following ingredients:
- Xylitol: This artificial sweetener found in candy, gum, baked foods, and diet foods can cause vomiting, lethargy, and coordination problems.
- Onions or Garlic: Whether these ingredients are powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated, they can cause anemia by killing your dog’s red blood cells.
- Raisins: Although raisins taste great in human snacks, they can cause kidney failure for dogs.
- Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause weakness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
- Chocolate: Chocolate, even white chocolate and baking varieties, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, and seizures.
Easy-To-Make Homemade Dog Treats
As long as you stay away from the foods listed above, you can experiment with different recipes to see what your dog likes. Some dogs love cheese and have no problems with eating it in small amounts, while others exhibit symptoms of lactose-intolerance and should avoid it completely. As you’re testing out recipes, keep an eye on your dog and note any changes in their behavior or bowel movements. To help inspire you to get baking, we’ve listed some of our favorite, easy-to-make homemade treat recipes are below:
- Peanut Butter Treats: Made with just 4 ingredients, this easy recipe can help regulate your dog’s digestion.
- Cheesy Treats: If your dog enjoys cheese, you’ll have a hard time keeping them out of the kitchen as you bake up this tasty snack.
- Doggy Donuts: Made with peanut butter and topped with bacon, these baked “donuts” are sure to please your canine companion!
- Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats: Bring the flavors of the season to Fido while packing in some extra fiber and vitamins.
What are you waiting for? Start your dog’s journey to better health with these dog treats today.