Quality Dog Treats

A Guide to Buying or Making them at Home/ Quality Dog Treats

Here are some great ideas on making your own dog treats at home. You can do it!
Nothing can make your canine friend more excited than the sound of a crackling bag being opened. Fido knows that within lies the most precious of treasures, the delectable doggy treat! But just like we humans love a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, that doesn’t necessarily make it good for us. Treats for dogs are just that, treats than can be considered in the same category as junk organic food for humans. Some dog treats have healthier ingredients, and others are the doggy equivalent of a Twinkie. To start with, let’s look at how to buy quality dog treats at your local pet store.

Dog Treats

            First of all, you have to realize that the same nutritional conventions that apply to your dog’s organic food also apply to his treats. This means that soy, corn, and animal by-products are low quality fillers which are not good nutrition for your pet. Unfortunately most cheaper dog treats contain all of these ingredients in the top five list. In addition, many dog treat utilize animal fat to make the treat smell and taste better to your fluffy friend. The bad thing about this is that animals cannot process cooked fat. If your dog has ever gotten into cooked bacon grease, you know of the horror of which I speak.
            There are some good ingredients you should keep an eye out for however. Barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa are all grains that are good for your dog’s digestive system. Also look for animal protein (not by-products) in the top five ingredients. Finally, don’t forget those veggies! A good dog treat will have some veggies in the mix as well. My favorite dog treat has sweet potato, blueberries, carrots, and apples as well as flaxseed in the mix. Vegetable matter is an important part of a dog’s diet and he needs to eat organic food and treats and quality vegetables in the ingredients.
            Of course, there are bones and chewy treats to consider as well. Many products will claim that they can act as a treat and a dental aid, which they do for the most part. Personally however, I prefer natural bones and pig ears as chewy treats for dogs. These natural products were chewed by dogs for thousands of years, and their digestive systems know how to cope with the chewed matter. Though man made chewy products claim to be digestible, they aren’t as natural as a bone or pig ear. I have also had personal experience with a pup getting a clogged intestine because he wasn’t digesting his man made chewy properly. You can even feed you pup the beef or roast bones at home! But please, make sure to never feed your pup and chicken or pork bones. Their strong jaws and sharp teeth can splinter the fragile bones, creating sharp little daggers of bone which your friend can swallow. Always stick to a beef bone, and keep a close eye on your canine companion while he munches.
            Of course, if you are of a culinary bent, you can always make your dog’s treats at home! This is a great way to control the ingredients that go into your dog’s treats as well as to make something tasty for someone you love. You can add veggies, flaxseed oil, and all sorts of things that are good for your dog. The negative side to homemade treats is that they have a shorter shelf life because they lack preservatives, but at least you won’t be feeding the chemicals to your dog. Some of these treats are so yummy they are even appealing to people. In fact, to get a close approximation to chocolate treats you can add carob to your dog’s treats, which tastes rich and delightful (I like to eat it too). Remember, don’t add onions or raisins to any treats, because these foods can cause renal failure in dogs. Below I share with you one of my favorite dog treat recipes. My pups love apples, but perhaps you could try pears for a special spin?

            Good luck picking out the perfect treat for your canine companion. As for baking treats, well, you couldn’t possibly have a more thankful audience!

 ~ Apple Cinnamon Delights ~

1 large apple
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
Core, slice and mince apple. In a large bowl, combine the minced apple, honey, water, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Gradually blend in the wheat flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.
In a small bowl, add 1/8 cup wheat flour. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5cm) apart. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the wheat flour (to prevent sticking), flatten each spoonful of dough into a circle.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each cookie to brown evenly on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F (165°C). Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool overnight.

Makes about 3 dozen crunchy cookies, depending on cookie size.

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