Feeding your dog homemade food and treats allows you to decide which ingredients go into each newly prepared batch. This is an excellent idea for owners with dogs that need to go on a specific diet, dogs with allergies, or simply switching from regular dog food to home-cooked one.
Cooking from scratch requires time and attention to detail. However, just as cooking for the entire family, the right thoughts, love, and care become ‘ingredients’ in the finished product. Your dog will certainly appreciate this!
You could even transform the cooking process into a shared activity between pet and master:
- Teaching the dog some words
- Showing certain ingredients then teach to recognize by words/shape
- Hiding then asking the dog to seek for an ingredient that will then be added to the mixture
- Telling the dog about what you are doing at that moment
Are homemade dog treats safe for your dog?
As long as the person that prepares the food avoids adding extra salt, sugar, toxic ingredients, and unhealthy additives, these treats will be safe for your dog. More so, there is the added benefit of being able to work with the ingredients that your dog really loves, save some money, and enjoy some quality time with your pet.
A healthy and safe treat should contain only high-quality ingredients, with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and lots of love.
It’s essential to avoid adding any of these ingredients to your dog’s treats. They can make your dog too ill and even cause death:
- Macadamia nuts
What is a healthy treat for a dog?
Vegetables, fruits, some types of nuts and grains can be either given on their own as a healthy snack or transformed into dog treats by mixing some of them together.
Dogs love these in their snacks:
- Peanut butter without added salt or sugar
- Apples without the seeds and the core
- Simple popcorn (no salt, butter, or sugar)
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans (raw or cooked)
- Beef, chicken, turkey meat
- Baby food (no salt/no sugar)
- Rolled oats
It would be best if you used whole wheat flour when needed. For dogs that have a gluten allergy, a good alternative to it is chickpea flour.
Milk and derived diary ingredients may be exchanged for almond, rice, or oatmeal alternatives.
It’s essential to keep in mind that dog treats must be only given in small quantities to avoid having an overweight dog and prevent other health-related issues.
How long do homemade dog treats last for?
The way the treats are cooked/made, their ingredients, and the storage have an effect on how long these products will last for.
Homemade treats need to be kept as you would keep any food cooked in the house: in an airtight container in a dry area. Depending on the ingredients used, some might require to be held in the fridge.
Bearing in mind that these treats don’t contain additives and preservatives, their shelf life is two-three days, if moist, or up to a week in case of dry biscuits/cookies.
If no meat ingredient was added, the biscuits could last for around two weeks.
Adding Vitamin C and Vitamin E or a mold inhibitor (can be bought online or from specialized stores) will keep these treats fresh for a bit longer.
Healthy homemade dog treats
Some examples of the variety of treats that can be cooked at home from scratch are:
- Homemade dog treats with peanut butter – easy to find ingredients at affordable prices requiring only 40 minutes of cooking time in total.
- Simple dog biscuits made with simple dough (flour, water, and eggs) – the easiest treat to cook from scratch in just 35 minutes.
- Frozen yogurt with strawberries and chicken soup – mixed before placed in the freezer. The only cooking required is when you boil the bones to make the chicken broth.
- Rolled oats mixed with banana
- Apple, carrot, and egg treats
- Baby food mixed with whole wheat flour (or rice flour) – super speedy cooking time
Some dog treats recipes and ideas for home-cooked dog meals can be found on specialized websites and blogs where dog lovers share their recipes. There you can find a list of ingredients and the methods used for cooking and storage. Also, plenty of step by step photo guidance and videos are uploaded on these pages to make our life easier.
Alternatives to homemade dog treats
If you struggle to keep up with cooking after long working hours and family commitments, you might decide on finding homemade dog treats online or in small shops near you. This is not a bad idea; however, you might spend more money than necessary, plus wasting time searching online, placing the order, and then paying and picking your order. You will also have less choice and control over what goes into your dog’s food.
You can buy homemade dog treats from Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and even the Facebook market, where people local to you advertise their business.
Homemade dog treats as a bonding activity
Instead of looking somewhere else for these dog treats, try to include the preparation and cooking time in your family life/ dog and owner relationship. This can transform into a fantastic opportunity to bond with your dog and the other family members.
Choose a weekend when all of you can afford to spend an hour together, ask your partner or children to pick the ingredients, and give a job to each one of them. Involve your dog in this activity too. The cooking will look less like a chore for everyone and can even become a favorite pastime for rainy days.
Stick with a few simple recipes in the beginning. Make a bigger batch of dry treats that can last for longer. In this way, you will manage your time much better.
Keeping things simple, spending on a few quality ingredients will save money in the long term, maintain your dog’s health in good condition while enjoying tasty treats made with lots of care and affection.