Want to save money and give your dog a healthier snack where you control the ingredients? Try these easy homemade dog treats recipes your pooch will devour!
Confession time: my Pharaoh Hound is getting a little pudgy. While that’s not healthy for any breed, sighthounds are aerodynamically built with sleek frames, so even a few extra pounds can put a strain on their bones, joints and heart. A lot of it has to do with the fact that she’s not as active in the winter, mostly because we won’t let her spend too much time outside in the cold since she refuses to wear her coat.
She’s already dropping some of her winter weight, but I want to keep her on the right track. That means making more homemade dog treats for her and playing closer attention to the calories in store-bought chews (I can’t figure out how to make these myself).
With homemade treats, I control the ingredients, so I know she’s getting more bang for her calorie buck.
Homemade Dog Treat Recipes to Try
Read on for some of Freya’s favorite dog treat recipes, as well as a few that we haven’t tried yet but that are on my “to make” list. Stay tuned after for some tips on choosing healthy ingredients, making hypoallergenic swaps, and more.
- No Bake Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treat | DogVills (this is Freya’s all-time favorite!)
- Homemade Chicken & Wild Rice Dog Treats | A Cultivated Nest
- Chicken & Parsley Dog Biscuits | The Flying Couponer
- Super Simple Homemade Dog Biscuits| Red Ted Art
- Homemade Frozen Apple and Blueberry Dog Treats | Miss Molly Says
- Frozen Apple Dog Treats | Irresistible Pets
- Coconut Berry Dog Cake Recipe | Other People’s Pets
- Frosty Breath Dog Treats | Three Little Ferns
- Bacon Cornmeal Dog Biscuit Recipe| Ann’s Entitled Life
- Pumpkin Peanut Butter Pretzel Twists | Sweet Recipeas
- Pumpkin Yogurt Easy Frozen Dog Treats | A Magical Mess
- Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Pops | Newlywed Survival
- Banana and Squash Dog Treats | Mom Does Reviews
- No-Bake Coconut Hypoallergenic Dog Treats | DogVills
- Easy 2-Ingredient Dog Treats | Dog Milk
- Limited Ingredient Dog Treat for Super Sensitive Pups| DogVills
- Sweet Potato Fries for Dogs | Beagles and Bargains
- Ginger Apple Dog Treats | Lola The Pitty
- Homemade Chicken Jerky for Dogs | PopSugar
- Fruits & Vegetable Strips | Just 4 Pet Care
- Apple Cinnamon Pumpkin Dog Cookies | My Baking Addiction
- Banana-Almond Puppy Treats Recipe | Pretty Fluffy
- Homemade Dog Bone Treats | A Cozy Kitchen
- Gluten-Free Carob Crunchers | Doggy Dessert Chef
- Homemade Frosty Paws Treat | Staying Close to Home
Tips for Making Your Own Homemade Dog Treats
Let’s take a look at some of my tips for choosing the best ingredients, how to make hypoallergenic swaps, and my favorite tools for making treats!
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Choosing Safe Ingredients
Peanut butter, for example, is a super popular dog treat ingredient. While it’s safe overall, some brands add xylitol to sweeten their butters, which is absolutely toxic to pets. The good news: only a few specialty brands use it, so if you’re sticking with things like Skippy, Jif, or even generic store brands, you’re most likely safe. Of course, you should still check the labels.
Pumpkin is another common ingredient, and it’s important to buy PLAIN pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie mix. The mix has added sugar and salt, as well as spices that you may not want to include in your dog treat recipes.
When in doubt, look it up. I usually search “is XYZ safe for dogs.” I also ask Alexa on my Echo Dot since she has a skill for that enabled. All Dogs World has a pretty good infographic-style list as well. It’s probably the most complete and reader-friendly list out there.
Making Hypoallergenic Swaps
If you think that a recipe is off the menu because it contains an ingredient that aggravates your dog’s allergies, think again. Making hypoallergenic swaps in dog treats is actually pretty simple. Dogs aren’t as picky as us, so even if a swap alters the overall flavor, he’s really not going care (unless your dog was a Chopped judge in a past life).
A few examples of swaps for the most common allergens include:
- Coconut flour in place of wheat flour
- Vegetable broth in place of chicken or beef broth
- Banana or yogurt in place of eggs (here are some more alternatives for eggs)
- Coconut milk in place of regular milk
If you need to swap out other ingredients, try this. First search for “alternatives to XYZ,” then choose a few alternatives and search “is it safe for dogs.”
- Non-GMO: 100% pure coconut flour free from unwanted additives in your bread mixes and other baked goods
- Exceptional Nutrient-Dense Profile: source of fibre, iron and healthy saturated fat to be part of your everyday bread mixes and baked goods and treats.
- Gluten-free alternative: suitable for those following a gluten-free diet
- Paleo-friendly: suitable for those following a Paleolithic diet
- Low-carb: suitable for those following a low-carbohydrate diet
Essential Tools for Making Homemade Dog Treats
When I say “essential” I really mean “things that are helpful” because, honestly, you don’t really need any fancy tools for homemade dog treats recipes. Sometimes I just use a plain old mixing bowl and spoon. Still, if you want to get fancy or making things a little easier on yourself, try these:
- Stainless steel mixing bowls -this is one thing I always use for Freya’s treats because they’re non-stick and non-toxic).
- Cute bone-shaped or paw-shaped cookie cutters
- A really good mixer (like a KitchenAid) – some dog treat “dough” can be really thick and a good mixer comes in super handy.
- Deviled egg carriers – these are perfect for holding no-bake treats (like Freya’s favorite) that need to be refrigerated.
- Stone baking sheet – I just like them better than nonstick baking sheets.
- Parchment paper– whether you use a nonstick baking sheet or a stoneware one, parchment paper makes clean-up a lot easier.
One last thing: like I said, I couldn’t really figure out how to make my own chews for Freya, so I give her the healthiest ones I can afford. She loves Bones & Chews All Natural Dental Sticks. If you get them on Chewy, you can save 50% off your first bag (not sure when that expires, so YMMV).
I think that about covers it! Maybe the most important tip: feel free to experiment! As long as you’re choosing safe ingredients and treating your dog in moderation, go ahead and come up with your own creations. Your dog isn’t as likely to yell “blech” as your kids are, so you can get a little more creative with their recipes. 😀
Do you have any favorite homemade dog treats recipes? I’d love to hear about them!