Dog owners everywhere know how important treats are to their furry friends. But pre-made dog treats can often contain all kinds of weird ingredients that arenít necessarily good for your pooch. Rather than sticking to store-bought dog treats, try your hand at making your own. They are healthier, your dog will love them, and they are actually easier to make than youíd imagine.
Think of your pupís favorite flavors
Most dogs go crazy for chicken, bacon, cheese and peanut butter. Think about which flavors your dog finds most appealing and look for recipes that include those ingredients. Most dog treat recipes consist of things like whole wheat, oats, flax seeds, real bacon, chicken broth, peanut butter and even carob chips. Once youíve found a recipe you think your dog will like, try it out to see his reaction.
Experiment with different recipes
Websites like The Kitchn, Cooking Light and even Martha Stewart offer a wide variety of healthy dog treat recipes. Try making a different recipe each time in order to keep things interesting for your pup. While your dog might be thrilled with the peanut butter dog treats you made the first time, experimenting with new and exciting ingredients like carob chips is fun for both you and your dog.
Take allergies into account
Some dogs have allergies to certain foods. If your dog has experienced a bad reaction in the past to what Cesarís Way describes as the most common causes of food allergies in dogs (chicken, pork, egg, wheat, soy or corn), try simpler ingredients like salmon or sweet potatoes. You can even make easy dog treats by slicing sweet potatoes thinly and dehydrating them on a low heat in your oven. Homemade dog treats are ideal for dogs with allergies because itís easy for you to keep track of what they are eating.
Avoid dangerous ingredients
While dogs would like to eat most of the things you put on your table, there are some food items that are poisonous to canines. The ASPCA recommends never giving your dog chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocado, dairy, onions, yeast dough, xylitol or added salt. If in doubt about the safety of a certain ingredient, talk to your veterinarian or just leave it out entirely to be on the safe side.
Think outside the box
Making your own dog treats doesnít equate to spending hours in the kitchen baking. Cesarís Way suggests making a doggie trail mix out of some leftovers in your fridge. You can mix together pieces of unseasoned meat, bits of potato, diced and cooked vegetables (no onions) and various fruits (but no grapes or raisins). Dehydrate everything in your oven at 200 degrees, or use a food dehydrator if you have one. Keep this trail mix in an air-tight container to make it last longer.
Make a frozen treat
Dogs get hot in the summer, just like humans. While feeding your dog ice cream isnít the best idea, there are plenty of ways for you to create frozen treats for your pup. One recipe from Cesarís Way recommends melting 1 cup of peanut butter and mixing in 32 ounces of yogurt. Pour the mixture into cupcake liners and freeze. Another simple idea is to freeze blended banana mixed with peanut butter in cupcake liners and feed that to your dog on hot summer days.
Making your own dog treats is a great way to help ensure your pooch is eating a healthy diet with no unnecessary added ingredients. Once youíve made your own dog treats once or twice, youíll never go back to store-bought.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.