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Making your own dog treats is simple, fun and easy to do with just a small amount of equipment and a few basic ingredients. Many of the commercially available dog treats are full of added sugars, salt, preservatives and artificial flavors and making healthy, wholesome dog treats at home can ensure that your dog is eating healthy and avoiding foods that may lead to obesity and other digestive and health related problems.
There are some very simple ways to make dog snacks or treats that are ideal for training rewards. One of the easiest ways is to purchase a package of all beef, low sodium or no salt added hot dogs. Cut the hot dogs cross wise into small, thin circles, then microwave for a few seconds until the fat and moisture are removed, leaving you with dry, crispy, healthy dog treats. These treats can be stored for several days in an airtight container such as a freezer bag. If they are not stored in an airtight container they should be discarded after the first day to avoid any possible bacterial contamination.
Believe it or not small amounts of fruits and vegetables are also very appealing to many dogs. Raw carrots, peas, broccoli and apples are a real treat for many dogs. Cut into small pieces these treats are easy to store in the fridge for a quick treat or snack for both humans and dogs. Be sure to avoid some fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, avocados, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions and some nuts as they can lead to toxicity, seizures and even death in some dogs with intolerances for these food items. If in doubt check with your vet or one of the many websites that list all the possible poisonous or hazardous foods for dogs. Also remember that each dog will like different things, watch to see what your dog seems to prefer and look for ways to substitute this in the various dog cookie recipes available.
Doggy Breath Busters
There are home made treats that can be used to help control bad breath. These treats usually contain a variety of natural herbs that can help alleviate the cause of the odor, however brushing the dog's teeth on a regular basis and having their teeth checked by a vet is also important if bad breath is an issue.
A basic recipe for a breath sweetening dog treat is:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tablespoon activated charcoal (available at a drug or health food store)
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley, fresh
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup low fat milk
Mix all ingredients together until moist and combined. Preheat oven to 400F and drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet by the teaspoon. Place each cookie about an inch apart and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, cool on a cookie rack and store at room temperature in a sealed container.
For an extra good job a highly nutritious meat snack may be just what your dog needs. These snacks can be made in any shape desired, many hobby stores and kitchen stores now sell small bone shape cookie cutters, ideal for making your snacks look just like store bought. If you don't want to take the time to cut them out, just cut into squares with a knife after rolling and before baking.
1 pound raw liver, chopped fine or run through the food processor
1 1/2 pounds of whole grain flour
8 oz of slow cooking Quaker Oats, uncooked
3 low sodium beef bullion cubes
1 cup warm water
Mix the oats and flour together, then add the bullion dissolved in the water. Add the eggs and processed or chopped liver and mix until a sticky dough is formed. Small amounts of additional water may be required. Roll or pat out on a floured surface, then dip the cookie cutter in the flour to make the shapes if desired. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for one hour at 350 degrees. If the biscuits or cookies are very thin less time will be needed for baking, so chefs will need to use their own judgment a bit on the actual cooking time. Cookies should be crispy all the way through. Store in a sealed container in a dry location.
Peanut Butter Treats
Most dogs absolutely love peanut butter, however there is a lot of sugar in most commercial peanut butter. If your dog is having troubles losing weight or is diabetic, use unsweetened peanut butter available at a health food store. Do not use artificial sweeteners in the biscuits as these products are very bad for your dog's health.
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup peanut butter either smooth or chunky variety
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
Mix completely until a thick dough forms. Add a slight amount of water if needed to make the dough stick together. Roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter or a knife into the desired shapes. Bake at 375 F for about 15 minutes, however these cookies will scorch easily so check at about the 10 minute mark to see exactly how long they will take.
Making your own doggy treats is a great way to save money using typical items in your pantry. There are many different sites on the internet as well as books and recipes on home made dog treats. Be careful to only use high quality ingredients and avoid using processed and bleached flours and try to stick to whole grains, fresh meats and avoid adding artificial preservatives or flavors. In many recipes bullion cubes and liquid can be replaced by home made beef or chicken stock that can easily be made by simply boiling chicken or beef bones along with carrots, beans and other root vegetables in plain water. Simmer for several hours then strain the liquid and save the stock. Stock can easily be frozen in one cup measures in freezer bags or plastic containers and just taken out to thaw when needed.
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