If you’re looking for a special way to show your dog how much you love them on Dog Day, why not try your hand at making your own home-made dog treats?
Creating healthy dog treats at home is really easy once you know how, and of course, gives the added advantage of the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what you’re offering to your dog, and the quality of its ingredients.
Many commercial dog treats aren’t actually very good for dogs – and to make them more appealing and to counteract the fact that pre-packaged dog treats are often made with low quality ingredients with little nutritional value, shop-bought dog treats tend to be packed full of salt, sugar, fat, and other additives.
Help your dog to live their best life and give them something extra special for Dog Day this year, with our pick of recipes for five of the best home-made dog treats to make in your own kitchen.
Canine assistance optional!
1. Wheat-free barking biscuits
If your dog is sensitive to wheat or gluten, finding healthy dog treats for them that you won’t both come to regret later on can be a real challenge. However, making your own basic wheat-free home-made dog treats provides the perfect solution, and these barking biscuits work out infinitely cheaper than buying commercial treats too!
You can also mix up the ingredients and try adding your dog’s own favourites to the recipe as well for a little variety.
For the basic biscuit recipe, you will need two cups of oats, an egg, and a cube or spoonful of stock – beef or chicken is fine, and be sure to choose a low sodium version.
Make up your stock and leave it to cool a little, before blending it in with the rest of your ingredients. Add any other ingredients you might be using at this stage too – perhaps some small cubes of cheese or some slivers of chicken. Knead to form a dough, and then roll out and cut into shapes, before baking on a non-stick baking sheet for around half an hour at 175C.
These biscuits are also great to freeze, so make up a large batch and keep some in reserve!
2. Lean beef meatballs
Lean beef meatballs are versatile home-made healthy dog treats that can be frozen for later, and offered to your dog either cooked or raw if your dog is fed a BARF diet.
All you need is some extra-lean ground beef, grated carrot and apple, a little low fat mature cheddar cheese, and a splash of milk to bind it all together.
Grate the carrot, apple and cheese, and mix it together in a bowl with your ground beef. Add a splash of milk to bind it all together, and form the mixture into balls. Chill or freeze immediately if feeding raw, or bake in the oven at 200C for around twenty minutes.
3. Peanut butter protein pockets
Peanut butter is a versatile protein-rich favourite with most dogs, but it should be fed sparingly to avoid your dog piling on the pounds! It is also wise to choose a good quality peanut butter that is made with peanut oil and not palm oil substitute, to ensure that your dog gets the maximum benefit from their treats.
Mix up a simple wheat-free dog biscuit mix using two cups of coconut flour or rice flour, a level teaspoon of baking powder, an egg, and a little honey. Add your ingredients to the bowl and mix to form a firm dough, adding a little water if required.
Then, form your mixture into small individual open pockets in a miniature fairy cake tin or cake pops tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 175C.
When the pockets have cooled, turn them out and fill them with a smear of peanut butter, and you’re good to go.
4. Chicken jerky for dogs
Making a simple chicken jerky for your dog at home is really easy, and this lean single-ingredient tasty treat is a great pick for both dogs with food allergies, and those with stomachs of steel!
All you need is a couple of firm, lean chicken breasts sliced into very thin strips – try using partially defrosted chicken to make it easier to cut accurately. You can also marinade the chicken in a little honey, peanut butter or both if you wish, to help it to cook up extra crispy and provide a little more flavour.
Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper and lightly oil it, then arrange the chicken on the paper in a single layer and cook at a very low heat (around 70-80C) for 2-2.5 hours until crisp, and allow to cool thoroughly before serving to make delicious home-made dog treats that all of your pooch’s pals will want to try too!
5. Liver lollies
Create the perfect healthy dog treats for those hotter days of the year or to help your dog to cool down after a vigorous romp in the park, by making up a batch of our liver lollies for your dog and keeping them on hand in the freezer.
All you need is a plain lamb stock cube with no added salt, some cooked chopped lamb’s liver, and some small ice lolly moulds. You can also use an ice tray to make individual treat-sized portions to reward your dog, or to place in their water bowl for added entertainment!
Mix up the stock and allow it to cool fully, then chop the liver into small morsels and mix with the stock, before pouring into your moulds and freezing. Lying the lolly moulds on their side as opposed to upright whilist in the freezer will help to ensure that the liver doesn’t collect in the bottom of the lolly!