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Top 7 Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

How to give your furry friend healthy snacks

By: Aleksandar Mishkov

Last Updated:

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Header photo: SANDRA DEL RIO/

One of the keys to establishing an amazing bond with your puppy and succeeding in training is giving treats. And lots of them. That is the key to positive reinforcement dog training. Now, when it comes to treats, I like to keep things natural and homemade. Instead of buying commercial treats, I look for and experiment with dog treat recipes with natural ingredients.

Now, my cooking might not be Michelin-star, but I can make a thing or two in the kitchen. And here is a dirty little secret few people will share with you. The higher the value of treats, the more your dog will be willing to work and train.

So, if you want to make some healthy and natural treats for your furry friend, read on.

Why cook homemade dog treats?

First, let’s talk about why homemade dog treat treats are better than commercial ones. First, you control anything that goes into the treat recipe. Do you want organic fruits and vegetables? You can do it.

Most of these dog treat recipes contain a few simple ingredients. I am pretty sure you have most of them in your kitchen. And do not worry, they do not have to turn out pretty for social media. Go for quality, not beauty.

Then, there are no harmful ingredients, no extra sugar, and no other nasties. And I have to say one more thing: homemade treats are an amazing way to show your pets you love them like part of the family.

Some potentially harmful ingredients in commercial dog treats

The most important reason why many dog owners have gone the natural way and cook DIY dog treats is the unknown harmful potential of commercial treats. There are many ingredients in store-bought dog treats that pet parents should be aware of. Here are some of them.

– Artificial preservatives, including BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and ethoxyquin. Google them, and you will see these preservatives have been linked to many health issues in dogs, including toxicity, allergies, and so on.

– Artificial colours and dyes, including Blue 2, Yellow 5, and Red 40, used in treats to make them visually appealing, yet, can cause allergic reactions.

– Added sugars, for example, corn syrup and molasses, which can contribute to your dog’s obesity and dental problems.

– Excessive salt and sodium, causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

– They can contain nitrates and nitrites.

– Can contain chemical additives like propylene glycol, which in high levels, can lead to anemia and other health issues.

– Fillers and by-products, including corn, wheat, and soy, all which can cause allergies or digestive issues.

I would recommend you check the label of the dog treats you buy. There are more than 20 ingredients in simple treats. Do you think they are all necessary for some dog cookies?

More reasons to feed homemade dog treats

Here is one more thing. Natural dog treats are not processed. They contain ingredients that come from nature. And your dog will get nutritional benefits from them, not just empty calories.

Pet parents often find out that when switching from commercial treats to preservative-free dog treats, they can alleviate their dog’s existing health issues.

Top 7 Recipes

Now let’s take a look at several dog treat recipes. They are all simple to make, do not take much time, and are worth the effort. Your dog will appreciate some homemade dog food.

Fishy treats

Dogs love fish, don’t they? It makes you wonder, do you have a cat or a dog at home? Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish-based food and treats improve the skin and health of your furry friend. So, you want that in the diet. Here are the ingredients for this one:

– 2 cups of chickpea flour

– ¼ cup of salmon oil

– 1 egg

How to make it:

1. Start by preheating the oven to 325 F. Combine flour, egg, and salmon oil, stir nicely until you get a smooth mixture, and then add to silicone molds

2. Bake for 10 minutes, let them cool down, and serve to your pup


Healthy low-fat frozen popsicles

These frozen dog treats are amazing for warm days. During the hot summer months your dog deserves some refreshment. Not only do these popsicles provide that, but these treats are rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Here is what you need:

– 1 cup of blueberries

– 1 cup of strawberries

– 1 cup of 0% fat Greek yogurt

– 1 banana

How to make it:

1 Start by mixing plain yogurt, a few strawberries, and one banana

2 Pour the mixture into a silicone mold, but do not top the molds. Leave room for another layer. Freeze for 10 minutes before adding the second layer

3 For the second layer and another colour, add a few blueberries to the leftovers from the first layer

4 Pour the second layer, and leave it to freeze overnight

This recipe can also be made with spinach, yogurt, and banana. Everything is the same, you just add a single layer.


Beetroot dog treats

Fresh beets or raw beets have some of the best nutritional density for your pooch. These cookies are safe and easy to make. Let’s go:

– 1 cup cooked and mashed beetroot

– ½ cup of chickpea flour

– 1 egg

– ½ cup rolled oats

– ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

– ¼ cup chopped parsley

How to make it:

1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 C

2. During that time, in a large bowl, combine flour, beetroot, rolled oats, egg, applesauce, and parsley. Mix until the ingredients are fully combined

3. Roll the mixture into small balls

4. Place them on a baking sheet, and flatten slightly with your hand

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they have a golden-brown color

6. Let them cool down before serving them to your pup

7. You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge for two weeks


Apple and Egg treats

Eggs are some of the best sources of calcium. And here’s a little secret. Most of that calcium is in the eggshells. So, we have to blend them. The ingredients for this treat recipe are:

– 1 apple

– ¼ cup of blended eggshells

– ¼ cup of olive oil

– 1 cup of chickpea flour

How to make it:

1. Start by whisking all the ingredients together

2. Preheat oven to 350 F and place a baking sheet

3. Add the mixture into silicone molds and cook for 20 minutes


Cheesy sweet chews

This is one of my favourite homemade treats. And Milo loves them as well. Once fall is here, and we have some butternut squash, he goes crazy for these treats. Now, I have to warn you, give these treats in moderation.

The recipe contains cheddar cheese, a good option since it is low in lactose. But it is still high in salt and fat, so you want to be careful. I would say one or two treats per week is fine but do not overdo it.

Here are the ingredients for a simple treat recipe:

– ¼ butternut squash

– 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese

How to make it:

1. Start by washing the butternut squash and slicing it lengthwise into thin strips. I know it is hard and challenging.

2. Place the thin strips onto a baking sheet, with space between them

3. Sprinkle grated cheddar over each slice, press it lightly into the surface, and start baking at 300 F.

4. Bake for about 2 hours, or until the butternut squash chews are dried and crispy

5. Let the DIY dog treats cool down before serving them to your puppy


Apple and carrot biscuits

Do you want a simple and easy-to-make, five-ingredient cookie for your puppy? Well, I have you covered. Here are the ingredients for a simple dog biscuit:

– 1 cup grated apple

– 1 cup grated carrot

– 2 cups chickpea flour

– ¼ cup olive oil

– ¼ cup water

How to make it:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. During that time, in a large bowl, mix the apple, carrot, flour, oil, and water. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and aim for a thickness of about ¼ inch

3. Use a cookie cutter to cut them out to desired shapes

4. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until your cookies get golden brown color

5. Let them cool down, and then serve them to your pooch. You can store the dog biscuit in an airtight container in the fridge


Chicken and spinach jerky

Who doesn’t love good old-fashioned jerky, right? Well, I can tell you puppies love it. But instead of buying some beef jerky from the pet store, you can prepare your own. What do you need?

– 1 cup fresh spinach leaves

– 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

How to make it:

1. Start by heating the oven to 200 F and lining a baking sheet

2. Slice the chicken into thin strips, aiming for ¼ inch thickness

3. Lay the strips on the baking sheet, and place a small piece of spinach on top of each strip

4. Bake for 2 hours, maybe even 3. Check the treats, they should be dried and crispy


Do not forget the 90/10 Rule

Now that we have some homemade dog treat recipes, I want to direct your attention to the most important rule. Do not overdo it. Your dog’s diet should consist of 90% food and only 10% treats. No matter if they are homemade and healthy treats, do not overdo it.

As you can see, rarely these treats contain a high amount of meat and lean protein. Your dog should get most of the lean protein from their food. And then, treats are for fun, training, and teaching manners.

Speak with your vet before switching up your dog’s diet.


What is up with peanut butter?

As you can see, I do not use peanut butter in any of the recipes. I know many dog owners love giving peanut butter to their puppies. But, there are valid reasons to avoid peanut butter dog treat.

First off, several brands have begun using an artificial sweetener in their butters. Xylitol is toxic to dogs.

Even if they do not have xylitol, nut butters contain a high amount of fat that can contribute to weight gain. If you must, I would only recommend an unsalted, dog-specific and natural peanut butter, one that you can make at home. That is the only way I would make peanut butter dog treats.


Is it worth the effort?

The reality is that cooking homemade food for your puppy is a time-consuming process. It is lengthy, challenging, pricey, and can make you feel like, “Heck, why I am doing this?” Well, there are plenty of benefits. I would like to summarize some of them in the end, and hopefully, you hopefully you will be inspired to try making dog treats.

– You have control over ingredients and can choose high-quality and fresh ingredients

– You can avoid potentially harmful additives

– Customization to dietary needs, for example, when you have to control the weight of your puppy

– You avoid artificial additives

– Cooking treats and then serving them to your puppy can serve as a bonding opportunity. And you can even teach some manners. For example, have your dog sit calmly while you prepare the cookies!


Author bio:

Aleksandar Mishkov is a 36-year-old dog enthusiast. He has been living with dogs his entire life. He currently shares his life with a six-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Milo. Visit Aleksander at his website The Daily Tail where he shares helpful tips on how to train and make sure your dog behaves properly.


Check out People's Food Safe For Dogs


Last Updated:

By: Aleksandar Mishkov
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