Contributed by Sarah Frazier, 9 to 5 Pets Team
Store bought dog treats are easy and convenient. But for certain dogs, especially those with skin sensitivities or dietary issues, they may not be the best choice. Homemade dog treats are a great way to test out recipes and cater to picky eaters! Even for dogs who enjoy store-bought treats, making treats at home can be a fun activity for special occasions; and useful for monitoring your dog’s weight and keeping your furry companion cool in the summer heat.
To experiment, I tested some dog treat recipes out with my own fur family! There are all sorts of treat recipes out there to try, with many different beneficial ingredients. Like coconut oil, for example, which while being high in fat, can be helpful for dogs with dry or itchy skin; and can be frozen into cooling treats for active pups. I chose a variety of treats to see what worked best for my pups. I tested a no-bake coconut treat, two frozen fruit-based treats, and a healthy, classic dog biscuit. Many of these options were also vegan and/or hypoallergenic!
This first option is a quick and easy no-bake treat based on coconut oil and a classic favorite, peanut butter! With rolled oats and shredded coconut for texture, these treats can be served cooled and rolled into all different serving sizes for all different-sized pups.
- 1⁄3 cup coconut oil
- 2-3 tbsp of peanut butter
- 2 1⁄2 cups rolled oats
- 1⁄3 cup shredded coconut
Mix the first three ingredients together thoroughly; preferably in a food processor. Next, roll the dough into your preferred size, and toss each in shredded coconut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve at your leisure.
These treats were such a hit! And it was very convenient to be able to make them in all different sizes for my dogs who benefited from more coconut oil vs. those who needed less. Luckily all of my dogs, even the picky ones, really enjoyed this one! And my two dogs who suffer from dry skin followed me around begging for more! These treats harden up very well in the fridge, and the recipe made a nice large batch that will last me for a while. While making these, I did have some trouble with the consistency of the dough due to the oiliness of the organic peanut butter. But that was easily remedied with some whole wheat flour; or for a grain free option, rice flour.
This second option is wonderful for active, outdoor puppies in this Florida heat! It’s a delicious and hydrating treat while the simplicity of the recipe makes it easy to customize, if for example, your pup isn’t too fond of blueberries. Coconut oil is high in fat, so portion size is important. But larger treats can easily be cut down into smaller pieces.
- Small ice trays or silicone molds
- 1⁄2 cup coconut
- Frozen blueberries
First heat up the coconut oil until it fully liquifies, and then pour into molds over frozen blueberries. Place the mold in the freezer and pop them out as needed!
With these treats I do wish I had gotten smaller and thinner silicone molds to make the coconut oil portions easier to monitor and to make them easier for the dogs to eat. Regardless, all of my dogs enjoyed licking up this cold treat after spending time out in the hot sun!
This next frozen treat is much lower in fat and will take your pup a little longer to sit and eat.
- Equal amounts of strawberries and blueberries depending on desired quantity
- Ice trays or silicone molds
- 2 1⁄2 cups rolled oats
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of honey per fruit
Blend blueberries and honey until smooth and fill molds half-way. Then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Next, blend the strawberries and honey until smooth and fill molds the rest of the way up. Then freeze until solid and pop out as needed.
This treat was similar in size to the coconut oil treats, but much harder to break down into smaller portions. It took my pups a messy minute to eat, but it excited them nonetheless! My pickiest pup, Cody, enjoyed his slowly while sunbathing on the deck!
For this last treat I wanted to give my dogs a healthy, low-fat and low-sodium option to see if they’d enjoy that too! This vegetable based dog biscuit is also grain free and hypoallergenic on top of just being a great substitute treat for puppies with weight issues!
- 2 1⁄2 cups rice flour
- 1 cup cooked vegetables (squash, zucchini or sweet potatoes)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 7 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
- 7 1⁄2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together all the dry ingredients and then gently combine them with the wet ingredients. Knead until a smooth ball forms. Next, flatten the dough with a rolling pin and cut into desired shapes. Bake for about 25 minutes on a nonstick baking sheet.
This last treat was also a winner; though I’ll be excited to try another batch so I can make them thinner and crispier, and in little dog bone shapes! This recipe makes a very large amount of dough for a long supply of treats. I even refrigerated some extra dough for later! All but my pickiest dog liked these. And I just loved being able to treat my weight-conscious puppy Moxie to these while I gave my other pup with skin issues the no bake coconut oil options!
As convenient as store bought treats are, I had such a great time doing something special for my pups! And as I searched for these recipes, I found many more that I can’t wait to try in the future, like:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (rice or coconut flour for dogs with a grain issue)
- 1⁄2 of a banana (mashed)
- 1⁄3 cup peanut butter
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened almond milk
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and slowly mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Next, roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes. Then bake for about 20 minutes on a nonstick baking sheet.
I loved this experience and I’m always happy to encourage others to try new things; especially when it comes to pampering their pups! If these recipes don’t seem to please your fur family, there are plenty more to try. I for one will definitely continue trying out new treats on my pups; and especially on their birthdays when they are deserving of something extra special! Let’s show our pets some love!