The Best Ingredients for Homemade Dog Treats

Dog treats on a pink background.

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Quality, pre-made dog treats often cost too much money to buy continuously. If you want your dog to eat some healthy treats but don’t want to break the bank, you can always consider making them yourself. Different recipes call for different ingredients in certain treats, but you should know some of the best ingredients to include in your homemade ones. This way, you can keep your dog healthy and happy — and know that they enjoy their treats, too.

1. Peanut Butter

Every dog owner should know the joys of peanut butter. It is an excellent distraction for dogs who need it and carries a lot of protein, making it a fabulous snack for any occasion. The only thing you need to watch out for in peanut butter is the individual ingredients of each brand.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute often found in several foods, but it’s extremely toxic to dogs. While it’s common in many items dogs don’t regularly consume, peanut butter is where the sweetener might be hiding that dogs might eat. Make sure to check your jar of peanut butter before adding this sweet ingredient to your dog treats.

2. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are great for both humans and dogs. They contain both Vitamin C and B6, which can benefit your brain and nervous system, but they can also regulate blood pressure, helping your heart. The dose of Vitamin A can help dogs have healthier skin, fur and eyes — and reaping these benefits is as simple as including sweet potatoes in your dog’s treats.

3. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a tasty snack available in significant quantities during the fall. If you want to give your pup a seasonal treat, pumpkin is a great ingredient you can add to your homemade dog treats. Adding a small amount of pumpkin to your dog’s treats can help them feel fuller, among other health benefits. It’s an excellent option for pups who need a little help with digestive regulation, including those who always seem to be hungry, no matter how much food you give them.

4. Bacon

Bacon is a complicated ingredient, as it’s okay in small quantities, but you shouldn’t use it in every treat or every human meal. Eating too much processed meat has been linked to cancer, so it’s best to stay away from copious amounts of bacon when possible. Every now and then, you can treat yourself and your dog to some bacon. 

Bacon should only be used as a special treat. When you bring a dog home, you should prepare a training plan to help both you and your dog understand one another better. Bacon, when used sparingly in treats, can be an excellent reward for a successful training session. As long as you include it sparingly, bacon can be a great treat for your pet.

5. Apple

Apples are particularly great for older dogs who might need more Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and they’re also great for digestion because they’re high in fiber. You can feed apples to your dog as they are or choose to include them in dog treats in an applesauce form. Make sure to regulate how much of an apple you give your dog. With all the sugar it has, a whole apple might be too much for your dog to eat. Consider including just a small amount of apple in the treats to see how your dog likes it first. If they handle it well, you’ll know that you can include more.

6. Yogurt

Milk is one of the four most common allergies in dogs, so it’s not recommended to feed them dairy products once they’re past the puppy stage. Instead, dogs can get a creamy treat in the form of yogurt. Yogurt has a lot of calcium and protein, meaning that it can be a great inclusion in your dog’s diet. Every dog will love the opportunity to try yogurt in a treat. Just make sure the yogurt you use doesn’t have any added sweeteners and isn’t flavored.

7. Blueberry

Blueberries are one of the fruits that are best for dogs to eat. Rich in antioxidants, this tasty ingredient will spice up any dog treats. Large and small dogs alike can stomach blueberries as ingredients and on their own. Frozen blueberries alone make a great treat for a hot day. Baked into a treat, they might lose some nutritional content, but it’s still a healthy, sweet snack that your dog can enjoy.

Make Your Dog Treats Special

Creating your dog’s favorite snacks at home is a great way to learn more about the nourishment your dog needs and teach yourself new skills. You might want to purchase silicone baking molds so you can make your dog treats in fun shapes that will make treat time even more exciting. By making treats yourself, you can save money on buying pre-made treats and know precisely what goes into your dog’s snack. Plus, your pup might even like them more.

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