Dogs, and pets in general, are the perfect companions. They love unconditionally. They entertain. They even make us healthier! We think they deserve a treat or two. Or three. But dog treats can be expensive and have a lot of filler ingredients.
Instead, you can show your dog how much you appreciate and love them by making the treats yourself. There are even treats you can give your dog that don’t require any cooking! Best of all, these treats are healthy for your pet, as long as you don’t give them too many. So, treat your dog and give them something special.
While the tips and treats in this article have been researched and are generally healthy for dogs, they may not be healthy for your dog. Please consult with your veterinarian before making significant changes to your dog’s diet.
A lot of time, the best and easiest way to go is natural! By giving your furry friend some fresh fruits or vegetables right from the cutting board, you’ll be giving them healthy nutrients and a loved treat all in one. Of course, you’ll want to do your research before giving your pet a new fruit or vegetable. Some of the big ones to avoid are grapes, onions, garlic, avocado, cherries, and unripe tomatoes, though this list is not exhaustive.
Of course, there are raw treats that are healthy for your pet — in fact, there are a lot of them! While these are safe for your dog to enjoy, you should be cautious of overfeeding, since even the healthiest foods can become a problem if your dog has too much. Be sure to give these fruits and vegetables a try!
For our first homemade snack, we’ll be combining five healthy ingredients to make a cakey bar that your dog will love. The egg and applesauce give these bars some moisture and something for the flour to bind with. The carrot and zucchini are there for texture, flavor, and nutrition. Try to find applesauce without added sugar, as too much sugar can be bad for your dog. Otherwise, this recipe is as simple as mix, bake, and serve!
Zucchini-Carrot Cake Bars
- 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg (or the equivalent egg substitute if your dog is allergic)
- 2-4 cups of all-purpose flour (you may need more or less depending on how wet the ingredients are)
- 1 cup of carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 cup of zucchini, peeled and grated
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly grease the inside of an 8x8 baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix the applesauce and egg until combined.
- Add in the carrots and zucchini and stir into the applesauce and egg mixture.
- Add the flour into the mixture 1 cup at a time until a batter forms.
- Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and place in the preheated oven.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and the center of the cake is firm but springy.
- Let cool before slicing into bars and storing.
- Store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days or freeze them* to keep fresh for a few months. If frozen, allow them to thaw completely before giving to your dog.
Peanut Butter-Banana Treats
This second treat is one you may even be tempted to try (and technically, there’s no reason you couldn’t). To make this, all you need is three ingredients — bananas, peanut butter, and oats. You can easily adapt this simple recipe. If you want them to be a bit more substantial or firmer, add an egg and about a half cup of flour and bake for an additional five to 10 minutes. You can even mix in other healthy ingredients for your dog, like mashed pumpkin or sweet potato.
It’s important that you pay close attention to the peanut butter you use, though. Watch out for the sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Peanut butters that claim to be naturally sweetened or sugar-free are more like to contain xylitol, so be sure to check the ingredient list before using. Your safest and healthiest bet is buying a peanut butter with peanuts as the only ingredient.
Peanut Butter-Banana Treats
- 1 banana, mashed
- ½ cup of peanut butter
- 1 cup of oats
- 1 egg (optional)
- ½ cup of flour (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Spoon tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet.
- Lightly press the batter flat until the treat is about ½-inch thick.
- Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes or 15 to 20 minutes if you added the egg and flour.
- Remove the sheet from the oven, and place the treats on a wire rack until they’ve cooled.
- Store in an airtight container for around a week or freeze them* for longer. If frozen, allow them to thaw completely before giving to your dog.
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It’s our firmly held belief that all dogs are good dogs and probably deserve a treat right now. We know your dog will love these simple homemade treats! If you do make some, be sure to share a photo of your dog enjoying them on our Facebook and Twitter pages! We’d love to see them.