3 Healthy Homemade Dog Treat Recipes
Reaching for the treat bag and seeing the instant excitement of your dog can put a smile on your face. You love making them happy. But dishing out tasty treats is not all about making your dog, or you for that matter, feel good. Treats can also be an extremely powerful tool when it comes to training your dog, but for this reason we need to ensure that the treats we are giving out are as healthy as they can be.
Here, we are sharing three healthy dog treat recipes that you can make at home, but first, let’s take a look at why treats are important in the first place.
Why Are Treats Important?
Treats are a great way for pet parents to develop and create a close bond with their dogs. When you first adopt a new pup or rescue dog from an animal shelter, treats can be used to establish trust and build a relationship. The most effective use of treats, however, is when it comes to dog training.
Using treats to keep your dog or puppy concentrated on you during the learning process and as a reward for good behaviour is a form of positive reinforcement. What this essentially does is rewards the dog for performing a certain way by giving them something they like. If a dog performs a behaviour that leads to nice things, they are more likely to repeat that behaviour.
This is an extremely persuasive technique used by pet owners and dog trainers alike, however, the risk is that we might get carried away with the amount of treats given or we may be choosing the wrong types of treats to give.
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What Is A Healthy Treat?
Treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s calorie intake and so they should not be used as a sole or supplementary source of food. They can often be higher in fat, salt, sugar and calories and lower in nutritional value. This makes them more suitable for occasional rewards only. When choosing healthy treats for your dog, it is important to look at the ingredients and nutritional benefits. Choose something that is low in fat and sugar and avoid anything with artificial ingredients. Choosing a trustworthy brand who offers high quality products is a good place to start.
On the occasions that you run out or you want to offer your dog something a little different, there are lots of healthy recipes you can try at home. Though it can often be difficult to find time to cook for ourselves let alone for our furry friends, we have chosen three simple and easy to make recipes that you can follow to create some healthy homemade goodies for your canine companion.
Homemade Dog Biscuits
You can’t beat a biscuit, but these ones are specifically designed with your pooch in mind. You will need the following ingredients:
- 150 g plain flour
- 150 g wholemeal flour
- 1 large free range egg
- 150 ml chicken stock
- 100 grams of peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons of seeds (such as flaxseed)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the flour in a large bowl, then add in the wet ingredients and dough until you have a mix. Roll the mix out using a cutter, and to a thickness of about 2 cm. You should be able to create 15-20 biscuits from this mix.
Place on a baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. Cool the biscuits, and that’s it!
These homemade biscuits can last for several weeks if placed in an airtight container.
Sweet Potato Fries
Fried foods aren’t typically healthy for your dog, but swap the frying for baking and you still get the same tasty sweet potato fries? All you need for this recipe is:
- One sweet potato
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (425 degrees Fahrenheit). Wash and peel the potato, then cut it into even fry-shaped strips. Use a large bowl or plastic zip-lock bag to coat the strips in spices and oil. Place the fries on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Flip them over so that they are cooked evenly, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Always make sure to let hot treats cool off completely before feeding them to your dog. This recipe is particularly great for when your dog might need some extra vegetables in their diet.
This next recipe is surprisingly low in calories but high in fibre. Here is what you will need to get started:
- 15 ml of olive oil
- 115 g grated cheese
- 200 g lentils
- 1 tin of carrots
- 15 ml of lemon juice
- 15 ml honey
- 850 ml of chicken stock
- 115 g ounces of rolled oats.
Make the chicken stock first, or use a good store-bought version. Put the lentils in a pan and cover it with the chicken stock, but only use as much as necessary and keep extra stock to the side. Add the lemon and olive oil into the pan.
Bring the pan to a boil until the lentils are cooked and soft. Sieve the lentils and place them in a bowl. Now, wash the carrots and add them to the bowl. Mash down the carrot and lentils while everything is still warm.
Now add the grated cheese to the bowl. Stir the ingredients and add any more remaining chicken stock, if required, to maintain texture. Stir the mixture until firm, then add the oats and honey, and then continue to stir until firm again. Portion them out as needed and pan-fry until crisp on either side.
Voila, now you have some healthy homemade flapjacks that should be good for up to five days if stored in a cool dry place.
So there you have it, three healthy homemade dog treat recipes that you can try out at home. We’re sure your pup will appreciate the extra effort and that you will feel great knowing you are proactively looking out for your dog’s well-being.