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Creating your own homemade dog treats is rewarding in so many ways. It’s always comforting to see your best friend happy and healthy, but doubly so when you can contribute to that yourself.
Despite the convenience and variety in quality and price of commercial treats, there is no substitute for treats prepared in your own kitchen. With homemade dog treats, you know every ingredient that went into them.
Commercial Dog Treats?
Commercial treats often contain preservatives, fillers, and that nebulous category of ingredients listed as “byproducts.” Those may include hooves, ears and internal parts with no nutritive value. They may make good chew toys, but ground up and added to food, they can only be classified it as more filler.
Filler, by the way, is usually a grain, such as wheat or corn. As long as this dog food ingredient is used in moderation, and is not stale or processed from the poorest part of the plant, it can be a nutritious addition to the final product. Wholesome grain flours are helpful in forming the treats into shapes, too.
With any ingredients, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would eat it. If not, don’t feed it to your dog.
Homemade Dog Treats Instead of the Commercial Variety …
Because it’s not always possible to learn exactly what has gone into the making of dog treats, or any other pet food, it’s important to use homemade dog treats and other foods as often as possible. This becomes even more important if your dog has a medical problem, such as allergies, kidney disease, bone and joint problems, or other conditions that may be caused or made worse by poor nutrition, most notably, some forms of cancer.
If convenience is important, try to make large batches of homemade dog treats in one session, freezing bags of treats for later.
If price is a concern, it might help to know that buying your own ingredients is usually less costly than commercial treats anyway.
Homemade Dog Treats Recipes
Recipes are very common and easy to find on the Internet, but it seems the basic framework of a healthy dog treat recipe is made up of a wholesome grain, perhaps an organic wheat flour or rice, a meat ingredient, such as ground beef or poultry, vegetables, especially carrots or broccoli, and sometimes fruits. This “mash” can be mixed with a liquid such as broth, or just water, to create the right consistency. If it is to be baked, it probably should come out like a cookie dough so it can be cut into interesting shapes… which mean nothing to the dogs, by the way. Occasionally peanut butter is used to add a flavor that dogs love.
Making Homemade Dog Treats
Making homemade dog treats is also a great opportunity to add special ingredients, such as flax oil or brewer’s yeast, or certain medicinals, if your dog has a specific health problem. Checking with a veterinarian who is familiar with wholistic animal care is your best bet to find truly nutritional ingredients.
The variety of flavors and ingredients used in making healthy dog treats is enormous, and dog owners often find the experience challenging and fun. It also is an activity that can be shared with the kids or grandkids, teaching them responsibility and consideration for the family pet.
Dr. R.J. Peters is a retired health professional who established a pet rescue shelter in 2002. Learn why pets need insurance, too, at Every Pet Matters.
And information on some healthy ready-made dog treats.