Making Your Own Dog Treats

Making Your Own Dog Treats

Food & Nutrition

Buying treats for your dog can be very expensive, especially when you're training, or if you are one of the many dog walkers who always has a pocket full of treats just in case your furry friend does what you tell them! When buying treats, many owners tend to buy something which looks pretty and appetizing, without giving any thought to the actual ingredients. The contents of some dog treats can be quite disturbing, and do not match the bright, tasty appearance of the product. They are also notoriously high in fats and sugars, as well as ingredients which are not terribly healthy for dogs.Trying to find suitable treats for a dog with a food allergy, whether it is beef, turkey, or wheat, can be incredibly frustrating. You read the back of the packet for a list of ingredients, and often get vague information, such as "meat and animal derivatives" - what meat? It is frustrating for you and limiting for your dog, because you will be wary of buying something with unknown ingredients for fear of making your dog unwell. You can always contact the manufacturers to check, but often they are unsure of the exact contents of the "animal derivatives." When you make your own treats, you know exactly what you are feeding your dog, and can easily avoid harmful or unhealthy options. By producing your own treats you can eliminate many common allergy causing foods, reduce fat, and save a significant amount of money in the process.Home made treats can be made quickly and easily - the process does not have to be time consuming, or require a great deal of baking skill. As an added bonus, many of the treats you can eat yourself. For simple, healthy, instant treats, you can shop up a carrot, as most dogs love them. Other vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, and peas can also be used raw as treats. Small pieces of low fat cheese can be used if your dog is not dairy or lactose intolerant, but it should be noted that feeding too much cheese can cause stomach upsets. Cooked chicken breast is another option, but this can be expensive.Baked treats involve combining healthy ingredients, kneading them into a dough or very stiff batter, cutting into small, bite size pieces, and baking in the oven. The flavour choices are limitless, ranging from honey and peanut butter to liver, carrot, and cheese. It is advisable to avoid beef, as a large portion of food allergies are beef related. Another advantage of making your own dog treats is the ability to make a large batch and freeze it, meaning you can simply defrost a few at a time, or give as an icy treat on a hot day.It is difficult to provide exact quantities because the recipe largely depends on how much flavour you want the dog to have. Your dog may favour honey over peanut butter, or may hate honey, but love peanut butter. Therefore all of these recipes can be adjusted to suit the needs of an individual dog. If a mixture is too stiff or dry, you can add egg, milk, water, or honey to create the right texture. If the mixture is too wet, adding extra oats or flour will solve the issue. The exact measurements also depend heavily on the type of flour used. Many dogs are allergic to wheat, or other cereals and grains, therefore alternative flour should be used, such as rice flour or corn flour. In which case the amount of flour used will need to be adjusted.

Honey and Peanut Butter Bites

For honey and peanut butter bites, you need self raising wholemeal flour, oats, peanut butter, either smooth or crunchy, clear honey, an egg, and some milk. You simply combine all the ingredients until you have a stiff, workable dough. Then, simply roll out the dough and cut out shapes, or, for smaller treats, pinch off small amounts and roll into balls. Do remember that the dough will rise a little, but if the treats turn out too big, you can break them up easily. The biscuits should be cooked at 180'C or 350'F in a preheated oven. The timing varies slightly depending on the size of the biscuit. Smaller biscuits should be cooked for around five minutes, while larger biscuits can take 10 to 15 minutes. Leave the biscuits out on a cool rack overnight, which will allow them to fully harden.

Frozen Meaty Morsels

These are incredibly simple, and brilliant in hot weather. Dogs love the taste, and the ice helps to bring down their temperature. All you need is a stock cube, warm water, and some very small pieces of cooked chicken, turkey breast, or lamb. Dissolve the stock cube, in the water, and pour into an ice cube tray, add very small pieces of meat, and freeze. They will last for around six months in the freezer, and can be given to your dog directly from the tray. Not very practical for taking on walks or to training sessions, but ideal for helping to cool your dog in the summer.

Liver Munchies

These meaty treats are simple to make, and freeze very well. They are also a big hit with most dogs, even the fussy ones. You need oats, self-raising wholemeal flour, cheese, lamb or pork liver, carrot, milk, and egg. The liver should be cooked through and set aside to cool. Grate the carrots and cheese, chop the cooked, cooled liver into small pieces, and add to the other ingredients. Knead the mixture until it becomes a stiff dough. Roll into small balls and cook at 350'F or 180'C for five to seven minutes. Allow biscuits to rest on a cooling rack overnight to harden.When freezing home made dog treats, it is advisable to freeze them flat on baking trays, ensuring that no biscuits touch. When frozen they can be placed into a bag or storage box. By freezing them flat, you ensure that when you only want to remove a few, they will come out of the freezer easily, rather than clumping together during the freezing process and forming a single lump.

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