Store-bought dog treats are often filled with nasty additives and chemicals – ingredients that you definitely don't want your dog eating!
While they may take a little more time and effort, homemade dog treats are so much healthier. They also give you the opportunity to get creative and cook up something that your pooch will really love.
Here are five homemade dog treats to try making:
1. Doggy Ice Cream
The hot days of summer can really take their toll on your pooch. What better way to cool your pup down than with a scoop of doggy ice cream?
This frozen treat is so easy to make, and you can really have fun when it comes to adding in different ingredients and flavors.
The method is simple...
Place half a frozen banana, or some plain yogurt, into a blender. Add in a dollop of peanut butter, along with any other ingredients you think your dog may love, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Once you've blended this all together, it will look just like ice cream!
2. Quick and Easy Baby Food Dog Biscuits
Looking for some homemade dog treats that don't take hours to prepare and make?
This is a recipe that you will love...
All you need is two cups of an organic whole wheat flour, along with two four-ounce jars of pureed baby food. Yes, you can use other flours instead – spelt and wheat germ, and even rolled oats, work well.
When it comes to choosing the baby food...
Pretty much any flavor will do, so long as it doesn't contain any onions or preservatives.
Then, mix the flour with the baby food to form a stiff dough. Roll this out and either cut it into cubes, or use cookie cutters to create more elaborate shapes.
Then, place the treats onto a tray lined with baking paper, and bake them for about 20-25 minutes. Leave them to cool before storing them away.
Want to make these homemade dog treats a little more exciting?
Feel free to add a few other ingredients into the mix! You could try some fresh herbs, grated carrots or even a handful of berries.
3. Liver Cake
Ok, so liver cake probably doesn't sound very appealing to you, but this is something your dog will go crazy for! Liver cake makes a great training treat too, with many dogs considering this to be a high value food.
How do you make liver cake?
You need about a pound of liver (it doesn't matter which animal this comes from). You will then need to blend this up in a food processor.
Then, crack three eggs into a measuring jug, before adding in an equal amount of water. Whisk this together before mixing it in with your blended liver. Add in one pound of flour too, preferably an organic, whole wheat variety. Continue blending until the consistency is similar to that of a sponge cake batter.
Pour your mixture into a greased tray and then bake at 350F for about 40 minutes. Then, remove your cake from the oven, leave it to cool, and cut it up into bite-sized pieces.
Make sure that you don't go overboard feeding this treat to your pup. Too much liver can lead to diarrhea.
Just like with the other treats on this list, you can put your own spin on liver cake too. Add in a crushed garlic clove to give your pooch an immune boost, or some fresh herbs to give it some extra flavor.
4. Dehydrated Meats
If you prefer your homemade dog treats to be hard and chewy, dehydrated meats are definitely worth considering.
You can pretty much pick any meat you have available to you, whether this may be chicken breast, liver, turkey slices or anything else.
Simply slice these up thinly and then place them into a dehydrator.
How long do they need to dry for?
This varies greatly depending on how thick your slices are. It can take anywhere from three hours to 12 hours. Keep checking on them during the dehydrating process – once they are fully dry, even in the middle, and snap rather than bending, then they are ready.
You can try this method with different fruits and vegetables too – sweet potatoes, apples and bananas all work well when sliced thinly.
Don't have a dehydrator?
You can use your oven instead. Simply turn the heat down to its lowest setting and make sure that you leave the oven door slightly ajar. This will allow the moisture in the meat to evaporate properly.
5. No-Bake Oat and Peanut Butter Balls
Then you will love these no-bake homemade dog treats. They set in the fridge instead, and stay fresh for up to two weeks. You can prolong this even more by storing them in the freezer.
Wondering how to actually make them?
Mix together the following ingredients:
¾ cup peanut butter (make sure that the peanut butter you use is made from 100% peanuts, without any additives)
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (you can add in other beneficial herbs and spices too, from oregano to ginger to mint)
Keep mixing until you have created a thick batter. You may need to add a little more water to get to this stage. Then, slowly add in one and a quarter cup of oats.
You can then use your hands to form your batter into balls. Choose the size of these balls depending on the size of your dog. Then, place the treats into the fridge to set. If you are feeling extra creative, try forming the batter into different shapes, but remember that the setting times for these may then vary.
Homemade dog treats really are so much better for your pooch than store-bought versions. This is especially true if you are in the midst of training, and need to turn to treats on a frequent basis. Not all homemade dog treats take ages to make – the ones on this list are extremely simple, and your dog will definitely be thanking you once he has a taste of what you have cooked up!