With a lot of tasty treats around the house this time of year, it’s tempting to share a bite with your dog (yes, it really is that hard to say no to those big puppy-dog eyes). But no matter how interested he or she is, human food isn’t always good for your canine pal.
According to the ASPCA, foods like chocolate, avocados, onions, garlic, bread dough, raisins, grapes and macadamia nuts can cause your dog serious health problems.
Don’t risk offering a leftover that could make your companion sick. Instead of sharing your goodies, learn how to make homemade dog treats that are much healthier.
The Basics About Dog Treats
Most homemade dog treat recipes are quite easy to put together, and allow you to tailor treats to your dog’s own dietary restrictions.
When making your own treats, remember these tips:
- Watch for allergies. You should certainly avoid foods that are known to be harmful to dogs, but you need to be aware of your own pet’s allergies as well. Don’t use ingredients to which your dog has reacted poorly in the past. If you’re unsure how your dog will respond to a new food, serve only a small portion at first.
- Control the ingredients. You’ll know exactly what your dog is eating and that he’s enjoying a nutritious and wholesome treat.
- Avoid unhealthy food additives. Commercial dog treats can contain preservatives, fillers and byproducts to keep them fresh, at the expense of the natural ingredients that make them beneficial. Learning how to make homemade dog treats will keep your dog from consuming these artificial ingredients.
- Provide variety in your dog’s diet. Even dogs can get bored with the same thing all the time. Tempt their taste buds with homemade dog treats that offer a balance of diverse flavors and textures.
- Save money. Oftentimes, you can make dog treats with ingredients you already have in your pantry or fridge. There’s no need to purchase specialty products that hike up the price.
- Make it fun. Use cookie cutters to make dog treats look like bones, fire hydrants or whatever shape you’d like.
Incorporate fall flavors into your dog’s treats with apple crunch pancakes. The recipe combines applesauce, apple chips and whole wheat flour into a delicious cookie that you can enjoy too. This recipe for dog biscuits that combine peanut butter and pumpkin are another good option.
Leftover Trail Mix
Dogs enjoy trail mix too! Cut leftover meat, veggies (no onions or garlic), potatoes and fruit (no grapes or raisins) into half-inch pieces. Spray lightly with a non-stick cooking spray. Cesar’s Way suggests either placing your product in a food dehydrator or a 200-degree preheated oven until it’s dry.
It’s no secret that dogs like meat. So, combine ground pork or beef with flour, vegetables and shortening. Bake your concoction into a crunchy biscuit and tempt your pup with this meat-filled treat by Allrecipes. Experiment using different types of protein like rabbit, duck or fish.
How to Store Them
Because they don’t include as many preservatives, homemade dog treats are best kept in the freezer. Put them in an airtight container and they can last for up to six months. Allow them to thaw for 15 minutes before letting your dog dig in.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.