Baking is a well-known way of showing a loved one how much you really care. But it doesn’t have to be reserved just for our fellow humans. Show your canine companion some love with this simple recipe for homemade dog treats. Treat your pup to a healthier option using only four ingredients!
Why make your own dog treats?
Aside from a great excuse to get baking, there are a myriad of benefits to making your own dog treats. Your dog depends on you to give them healthy food that provides them with the right nutrients. When you give your furry friend good food, their coat will be shinier, they will have more energy and they will be less likely to get sick.
By making your own dog treats, you’re avoiding an array of fats, preservatives and chemicals that many store-bought treats contain. Homemade treats mean that you know exactly what goes into them. Making them yourself means they’re not destined to sit on store shelves for long periods of time. They will only contain fresh, natural ingredients.
Harmful ingredients found in store-bought dog food
Unfortunately, the market is oversaturated with dog treats that contain low-quality pet food ingredients. These can cause serious health problems for your canine. The profit pet food brands make from using cheap ingredients is too attractive, and makes buying healthy dog treats a minefield.
Here are a few of the worst ingredients:
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are synthetic antioxidants that can disrupt hormone function. It can affect lung function and cause liver, thyroid and kidney problems. A study also proved that high doses and long-term exposure of BHT in mice and rats cause tumours.
- Ethoxyquin is a fat preservative that is a component in making rubber and a pesticide. Would you want your pet to eat that? Studies have shown that continuous exposure to the additive can cause liver problems. Scarier still, you may not find it listed among the ingredients, even if the preservative is present.
- Ethoxyquin is rarely added directly to dog food. Instead, it’s often added indirectly through certain poultry or fish-based ingredients that already contain the chemical. Even if your dog food only contains trace amounts, eating it every day can cause build-up in the system and create serious health problems.
- Corn is best kept far away from your dog. Its most common variation is ‘corn gluten meal’ and is a cheap filler that only exists to bulk out the food and make it look better than it is. Although using corn fulfils pet food brands required protein content in their treats, it’s only a poor imitation of animal fat proteins. These proteins offer several essential amino acids that corn-based substitutes lack. Corn is also a big culprit when it comes to weight gain. As it’s a carbohydrate with an extremely high glycaemic index, corn can cause high blood sugar and contribute to pet obesity. While some veg in your dogs’ diet is usually a great choice, this isn’t the case with corn. Dogs can’t digest corn, which makes them prone to blockages and possible perforations should they get through the intestines.
Recipe for tasty homemade dog treats
The simplest recipe for homemade dog treats ever. Just combine ingredients, roll out and cut. Although we use a bone-shaped cookie cutter to make sure nobody confuses these for regular cookies, use any shape you have to hand!
Adjust the baking time as per your dogs’ preferences. If they often struggle to chomp down on hard, crunchy foods, shorten the baking time for a softer treat.
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs. Using the paddle attachment, beat ingredients on medium-high until well combined. This should take between 1 – 2 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed and beat until just incorporated. From here, add a further 1/4 cup flour at a time until the dough loses its stickiness.
- Lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough 3 - 4 times until it comes together. Take your rolling pin and roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes using your cookie cutters and place them onto the baking tray you prepared earlier.
- Place treats into the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, between 20 – 25 minutes.
- Let cool completely before you treat your pup!
Any good dog owner knows the importance of treats. They play a huge role in fostering a life-long bond between you and your companion. You likely feed your pet healthy, well-balanced meals, so why hinder your dog’s nutrition with sub-par dog treats? You may be surprised to see a transformation in your pup after a few weeks of feeding them these healthy homemade treats!