Tuesday, September 17, 2013

For the DIY Pet Parent: Recipes to Make Your Own Healthy Dog Treats

Today we're bringing you a guest post by Paige Weaver, an animal activist, artist and mom originally from Florida. She provides some great suggestions for homemade treats below... which we'd try if we had the inclination to actually cook something! We also like raw veggies and some tasty made in the USA treats and chews... so there are plenty of options for everyone!

There have already been 23 recalls or expanded recalls on pet foods and treats so far this year, the Humane Society reports. You just can't be sure what you're giving your beloved pet is safe, and one vet told WebMD that more pet owners are experimenting with homemade dog food as a result.

But food safety isn’t the only reason to make your dogs homemade treats; as Americans learn more about the importance of a fresh, healthy diet, we’re inspired to provide our best friend with the same.

What to Avoid

A 100 percent homemade diet requires a time commitment that few pet owners are prepared to make, but supplementing nutritious commercial food with homemade snacks provides a good balance. Preparing your own treats reduces the possibility of your dog eating unsafe food and gives you an opportunity to experiment without completely changing Fido’s diet. However, as you practice being your dog’s personal chef, be sure to stay away from this list of doggie-toxic foods provided by the Humane Society:
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pits and seeds, such as apple seeds
  • Chocolate and candy
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts and walnuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potato leaves or stems and tomato leaves or stems
  • Raisins
  • Tea and coffee


There are lots of safe and healthy recipes for dog treats. Here are a few tasty snacks to get you started:

Yam and Turkey Meat Balls

Mix one pound ground turkey, one egg, one-half cup oat bran and one large yam that’s been baked until tender, cooled, peeled and smashed. Form the mixture into meatballs about the size of a walnut (or smaller for small dogs), and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Refrigerate only as many meatballs as you will use in two or three days, and freeze the rest. The oat bran and yam in these treats is especially good for a dog’s digestive system.


Mix one cup of cooked, chopped chicken with one cup of plain Greek yogurt. Freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. Slide the trays into freezer bags for long-term storage. These are especially good to help keep your dog cool on a hot day.

Carrot Chips

Thinly slice several carrots (use a mandolin slicer if possible), keeping the slices at about 1/8-inch. Lightly toss the carrots in a few drops of olive oil and place on an oiled cookie sheet. Cook at your oven’s lowest temperature, essentially dehydrating the carrots. Cooking time will vary according to your oven, but may take two or more hours.

Remove the chips when they feel crunchy but not tough. Let them cool overnight, and place in a sealed plastic container for storage. If the chips become soft or limp, throw them out.

The same method can be used to make yam or zucchini chips and even jerky treats. When drying meats in the oven, turn the slices over about halfway through the cooking process. Allow the jerky to air dry for 48 hours before packaging and reprocess any soft or limp slices.

Have you tried any recipes like those mentioned above? Which ones have worked best for you? We haven't tried these yet because, we don't know how to use the oven  don't cook much, but these sure look tasty! 

Today we're also joining up with the Tasty Tuesday blog hop brought to you by our pals at Kol's Notes and Sugar the Golden Retriever. Check out some more tasty treat ideas at the blogs at the hop below!


  1. Good tips and some great recipes! Sharing.

  2. Brofur Ku says: yumyumwuwmuwmwum!

  3. Great post Rocco, thanks for sharing. SlimDoggy Jack says "thank dog bacon isn't on the restricted list".

  4. Great post! I've gotta do more DIY treats for Kayo!

  5. We too have to make time for some more cooking. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. Those look like easy recipes and if I had some time, I might try them...lol.

  7. We make all sorts of homemade treats. Usually the problem is that we have too many, maybe with a third dog that will help out with the eating. Just had some banana paws...frozen banana, yogurt and honey...yummy!