Your Four-Legged Friends Will Love Homemade Pet Treats



The number of commercial pet treats available will stagger you when you visit the pet store or even the pet aisle at your local supermarket.

And before you buy, it's a good idea to do some research.

Christy Powers, who writes the pet column for the Payson Roundup, "Focus on Pets," recommends the following.

Dog and cat treats should not take the place of or interfere with regular, nourishing meals. Some pets are very clever about demanding treats and can keep at us until we give in.

Two rules about treats: we should decide the kind of treat and when the pet receives one.

As with pet food, treats should not contain artificial color, flavor or chemical preservatives. Reading the label is important.

It is not necessary to buy expensive pet treats. Lots of dogs love carrots and they are a wonderful, healthy treat that's good for their teeth and gums.

Popcorn, without butter, salt and other additions, is a great treat, unless the pet is allergic to corn.

Liver, boiled in water and cut into bite-size pieces and then microwaved for a few minutes, will have your dog jumping through hoops and your cat dancing around you.

Slice turkey hot dogs and microwave them for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your microwave. The liver and hot dogs are great treats for motivation during training

Rice cakes or rice puffs, while made for people, are great treats for dogs with allergies.

There are many recipes for dog treats you can make yourself, including a great collection compiled in a booklet by Barkery Bakery, a division of Paws in the Park. When you bake them yourself, you can alter the ingredients according to your dog's special wants and needs.

Another "Focus on Pets" column featured two treasures for pet treats from "The Crazy Kids Guide to Cooking for your Pet," by Barbara and Missy Denzer that are easy, healthy and fun. USA Book News chose this book Best Children's Non-Fiction Book 2004.

Baked Biscuits

3-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup finely chopped or grated carrots

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1-1/2 cups very warm water

1 beef bouillon cube

3 tablespoons canola oil

In a large bowl, mix flour and cornmeal. Add garlic, carrots and parsley and mix well. Dissolve bouillon in water and add to mixture. Add oil and mix until a thick dough is formed. Knead on floured surface until you have thoroughly relieved all pent up stress. Take chunks of dough and roll out 4-inch-long logs. Curve the tops like a cane and place on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Kitty Treats for Two

3-ounce can "Mice" (1/3 cup cooked rice, 1/2 can of liver flavored cat food (or your cat's favorite flavor)*

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon catnip

1/4 cup peas

  • You may substitute 1/4 cup finely chopped tuna or cooked chicken. It's so hard to find canned mice at this time of year.

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Additional recipes for homemade pet treats can be found in abundance on the Internet. Here are a few we came across in just a brief search.

These homemade pet treats are from the program, "TIPical Mary Ellen," which airs on HGTV:

Kitty Fish Cakes

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup dry milk

1 tablespoon honey

3-1/2 ounce canned or cooked mackerel, mashed and boned

Milk (optional)

Combine wheat germ and dry milk, then drizzle honey on top of the mixture. Stir in mackerel, forming the mixture into small balls. Add a little milk if necessary to get the mixture to the right texture.

Place balls on a greased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies should be chewy, like fudge. Place in a sealed jar and store in the refrigerator.

Peanut-Butter Puppy Biscuits

1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup chunky peanut butter

Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth with a hand mixer that is set on low speed. Knead the dough on a floured surface and roll out to 1/3-inch thick. Cut out cookies using a bone-shaped cookie cutter (available at home or pet stores). Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Refrigerate or freeze the biscuits if you're going to keep them longer than three days.

The following are from the Internet site,

Basic Dog Biscuits

2-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 cups powdered dry milk

6 tablespoons meat drippings

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup ice water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Combine flour, dry milk, salt, garlic powder and sugar. Cut in meat drippings until mixture resembles corn meal. Mix in egg. Add enough water so that mixture forms a ball. Using your fingers, pat out dough onto cookie sheet to half-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter or knife and remove scraps. Scraps can be formed again and baked. Bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from tray and cool on rack. Food coloring can be added to give the biscuits some color.

Cat Biscuits

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoons oil or fat

2 tablespoons wheat germ

1 tablespoon kelp or 1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup soy flour

1/2 teaspoon bone meal

1 tablespoon molasses (unsulphured)

1/3 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together. Knead, roll out and cut into narrow strips or ribbons. Bake 25-30 minutes in a 350-degree oven until lightly toasted. Watch the narrow strips as they tend to get done sooner than the others. If the biscuits are not hard enough, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off for an hour or as long as desired.

Bow Wow Rewards

3/4 cup hot water

1 beef bouillon cube

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup powdered milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon sugar

1 beaten egg

3 cups whole-wheat flour

Dissolve bouillon cube in hot water. Stir in margarine. Mix in powdered milk, salt, sugar, egg and flour to make a stiff dough. Pat onto cookie sheet to half-inch thick, then cut into shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Let cool completely in the oven.

If you modify any recipes, or find other pet treat recipes, there are some ingredients you should never use when making food for dogs:

  • Do not use chocolate. Some pet treat recipes do use carob, a perfectly safe alternative.
  • Do not use onions in dog treats. They can cause anemia. The toxic effect of onions is the same whether they are raw, cooked or dehydrated.
  • Do not give your dog raisins or grapes. Raisins and grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and possible kidney failure.
  • Do not give your dog macadamia nuts. When ingested, macadamia nuts can cause muscular weakness, depression, vomiting, incoordination, tremors, fever, abdominal pain and muscle stiffness.

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