Homemade Dog Treats: Easy Recipes Your Pet Will Love

Homemade dog treats - Dr. Axe

There are dozens of dog food and dog treat options on store shelves these days. Still, dog treat and pet food recalls regularly appear in the media. That may be one major reason to make your own homemade dog treats.

By doing this, you can avoid questionable ingredients, ensuring safe, fresh treats for your pets. DIY dog treat recipes can also lower the amount of packaging waste you create and have to deal with, too. What’s a side perk to homemade dog treats? You’ll probably also save money making your own simple homemade dog treats.


How to Make Homemade Dog Treats

Cheese Biscuits

My dogs can hear a cheese wrapper from half a mile away, and these simple homemade dog treats make them ecstatic. This recipe just requires five ingredients — in fact, you probably already have most of them in your refrigerator or pantry.

For this recipe, you’ll simply create a quick dough using gluten-free flour. Then roll it out on a silicone mat or between two sheets of wax paper. Cut the dough into squares or rectangles, or use a fun cookie cutter (maybe a dog bone-shaped cutter), place them on cookie sheets and pop them in the oven. Depending on the consistency you want, you can adjust the baking time so they are soft or hard. You may feel tempted to try them yourself — I have to admit to nibbling a few of these myself every now and then! The full recipe with detailed instructions can be found at the end of this article. Note that depending on the size of each treat, you can make roughly anywhere from about 18 very large biscuits to around 100 small treats.

Vegan Jerky Treats

Dogs love dry, chewy jerky, but it doesn’t have to be made from meat. Here’s another easy-to-make recipe your dog will love.

All you need are a few whole, raw sweet potatoes; you may want to start with one to make sure your furry friend likes these treats before you make a big batch. Scrub the skins and then slice the sweet potatoes into one-quarter inch thick slices, skin and all. Spread the slices on a cookie sheet (note that a silicone liner will prevent sticking) and bake them at the lowest setting your oven will maintain. After about an hour, turn the slices over. Continue to bake until they are dry but not brittle (they should bend rather than snap). At 250°F this will take about three hours total. If you have a dehydrator, you can use that instead of the oven.

Variations:

Pretty much any fruit or veggie your dog likes can be dried to create a chewy or crunchy treat. Try slicing a banana in slices and drying that for a sweet chewy treat. One of my dogs was a green bean nut and loved them fresh, frozen or dried!


More Homemade Dog Treats

The above recipes are just two of the many homemade dog treats you can whip up in your kitchen to tickle your dog’s taste buds. To try some new combinations of your own, use the following ingredients:

  • almond, cashew, and natural peanut butter; avoid brands with added oils, sweeteners (especially xylitol), or salt
  • sliced almonds, cashews, and peanuts or meal (flour); avoid whole almonds, which can be a choking hazard.
  • brewer’s yeast
  • beans, cooked or as a flour (for example, chickpea flour)
  • cheeses, except blue cheese
  • coconut, dried flakes or flour
  • cooked eggs
  • fish; wild-caught is best
  • fruits; avoid citrus peels, avocado skins, and all grapes and raisins
  • healthy fats, such as coconut oil
  • meats, especially organ meats; pasture-raised is best
  • pumpkin (Try my recipe for Pumpkin Dog Treats!)
  • quinoa (it is a seed, not a grain) cooked or flour/meal
  • vegetables
  • plain yogurt, made with whole milk

Ingredients to avoid:

Whether you are shopping for pre-made treats or making your own, some human foods can be downright dangerous for dogs. Make sure your pet avoids eating the following foods: (1, 2)

  • chocolate
  • coffee, or anything with caffeine in it
  • cinnamon
  • garlic (this one is on all the “harmful to dogs” lists, but some natural dog care professionals say fresh (not pre-chopped) garlic is safe and even beneficial for most adult dogs)
  • macadamia nuts, walnuts and pecans
  • milk and ice cream (because of the lactose content, which dogs can’t break down; cheese and yogurt, both fresh or frozen, are OK)
  • onions
  • raisins and grapes
  • salt
  • xylitol

We also suggest avoiding:

  • flour with gluten, even whole-grain flour and grains (wheat, rye, oats, rice and corn)
  • honey, sugar or any other natural sweeteners

Precautions When Making Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

Always cook treats containing eggs, meat or fish thoroughly to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Since your treats will contain no preservatives (yeah!) be sure to store them properly (the fridge or freezer is always a safe bet) to prevent problems.

And remember, these recipes are for treats, not full meals. Feeding large amounts of any new food — especially one that is high in fat — has the potential to upset Fido’s tummy, causing diarrhea or vomiting, so stick to just a couple of treats at a time when you try something new. Treats can also add up fast, calorie-wise, so you need to remember to adjust portions at mealtime to account for daily treats, to help keep Fifi from joining the 54 percent of U.S. dogs that are overweight or obese.


Homemade Dog Treats: Easy Recipes Your Pet Will Love

Total Time: 4 hours
Serves: 100 small biscuits to 18 very large biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free baking mix
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheese, a kind your dog likes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • water or stock as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Beat egg in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add coconut oil, then cheese, and, finally, baking mix, a little at a time. Mix well.
  4. Add liquid, a little at a time as needed, until the dough holds together.
  5. Roll out dough on a silicone mat or between two sheets of waxed paper to one-quarter inch thick.
  6. Cut flattened dough into squares or rectangles (or use a bone-shaped cookie cutter).
  7. Carefully place each biscuit, making sure edges don't touch, onto a greased cookie sheet or a silicone mat.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until the bottoms start to brown.
  9. For soft biscuits, take them out of the oven and put each one on a wire rack to cool.
  10. For harder biscuits turn the oven down to 225°F and bake for another 2 to 3 hours.
  11. Store biscuits in an airtight container.
Josh Axe

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24 Comments

  1. Robert Burdekin on

    I have a year and half old yellow lab. He loves to run the trails with me every Saturday (we normally go 9 to 10 miles). We also run 2.5 to 3 miles every morning durning the week. I started to notice on Sundays he is getting getting up slower from laying down. I started him on jerky treats for the hips. I would like to make my own. Would the human grade collagen and glucosamine be safe for him if I mix this in with the rubs for jerky? Him and I normally share the same foods on the trail, since I eat clean and I started him eating clean at 4 weeks when we rescued him.

    Reply
    • Leah on

      I don’t know about your initial question, but Treatibles is a CBD oil that has been working wonders for my dog’s stiff joints.

      Reply
    • Nelle on

      I give my dogs Kirkland brand extra strength Glocosamine/Chondroitin and it really helped. When I switched to the dog brand they got worse. It made a difference. I can’t imagine collagen would hurt at all. Bone broth is good for dogs.

      Reply
  2. ANI on

    I’m surprised peanut butter is on this list. I’m one of many who are against feeding peanut butter to dogs. There are a number of reasons for this, but my main concerns is that peanuts are legumes and are not biologically appropriate for dogs and that there is a high risk of mycotoxin contamination – a cancer causing mould commonly found on peanuts. I would never list this as a top food for dogs.

    Reply
  3. Jasmine on

    My toy poodle is allergic to eggs. Would applesauce be a good replacement?

    I google and found this:
    Use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg in most baking recipes. Some sources say to mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. If all you have is sweetened applesauce, then simply reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

    Reply
  4. Mary Knight on

    I’d expected several recipes; gluten-free flour is a special ingredient. My young neighbor makes dog treats out of oatmeal and mashed up bananas, using a teaspoon measure, and bakes 3 min each side. I’m sorry to hear that oatmeal is not an approved ingredient in your list.

    Reply
    • Scherill Miller on

      What is CBD. Should have added that I need no or lo protein due to elevated kidney enzymes. Older golden. On tramadal for joint paint

      Reply
  5. Henneke Versteeg on

    Dogs should not eat starch in any form! Ik hoped for some recipes that I could make for my dogs. The only good tip is about the dehydrated fruits and vegetables.

    Reply
  6. Sylvia on

    I would certainly consult with your Vet. Sounds like you are Waaaaaaay overdoing the length of the run and the poor animal just does not like it and maybe just does not want to do it any more. Sounds like way to much for an animal. I’m sure that you love your animal but it sounds like it may be beyond common sense. I would never subject my animal to that. Please reconsider.

    Reply
  7. Mary Wilfer on

    I had a receipt made with gram crackers Honey and chicken livers
    Imoved across country and can’t find it
    Does anyone happen to have this recipe made doggie jars from dollar tree filled with these for my dogs friends for Christmas
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Michelle on

    Your baking time is way off. I burnt my sweet potatoes at 250 degrees after the first flip at 1 hr. Within 30 minutes of flipping, my house was full of smoke. All the sweet potatoes were badly burnt. It was a waste of time and energy.

    Reply
  9. Sam K. on

    I read the comments/reviews to get an overall feel about how others responded to this recipe. However, I can’t help but shake my head at those who post something negative towards the writer in regards to this recipe when In fact it was themselves who did not read it clearly or follow instructions properly. SMH!! READ it again!! Ahhhh did you find your mistake? no? Read it again….slowly… ;)
    P.S. I found this article helpful and I confirmed with my vet, the info provided to be accurate. I have tried a couple variations including vegan jerky. My dog and his doggie friends loved their treats! Thank you.

    Reply

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