homemade dog treat recipe
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Are Homemade Dog Treats Safe?

If you’ve seen a fun homemade dog treat recipe on the internet and you’re thinking about whipping up a fresh batch of frozen or baked dog treats, it’s always best to check the ingredients before you dive in.

The important thing to keep in mind with homemade dog treats is that the recipe that you’ve found on Pinterest or Instagram is safe for the dog that it is being made for but it might not be the safest option for your dog, especially if they have allergies or diet restrictions. 

Even if you’ve researched the ingredients it’s always best to verify with your veterinarian before making the recipe and you always want to make sure to give any treats, whether homemade or store-bought, in moderation. 

Believe me, even I have seen some dog treat recipes that I wouldn’t feed to my dog either because they contain an ingredient that I don’t prefer my dogs to have or because I don’t think they would benefit from any of the ingredients. 

homemade dog treat recipe

An example for me is that I always try to stay away from homemade dog recipes that contain salt and while we occasionally have some fun homemade treats, I do my best to keep the majority of them low-fat because having a giant breed dog that is prone to joint issues, keeping him from getting overweight is a top priority. That’s not to say that he doesn’t get fun food, just in moderation!

Besides additional salt, there are some other ingredients that you should avoid when making homemade dog treats. 

Ingredients In Homemade Dog Treats That Are Not Safe 

  • Nutmeg
  • Onions & Chives
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Caffeine
  • Grapes & Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Seeds
  • Salt
  • Yeast

Be careful of dog treat recipes that call for baby food and broth or stock. Some baby food is safe but some also contain onions and additional additives and the same with soup broths and stock. 

dog safe vegetables

Safe Ingredients In Homemade Dog Treats

It would be super easy for me to add a list of safe ingredients for homemade dog treat recipes but the honest truth is every dog is different and every dog is going to respond differently. My dogs are young and have no current health issues so they do well with a lot of different ingredients but your dog might have allergies, IBD, diabetes or a slew of other conditions. 

Most of the ingredients that you’ll find here are simple and veterinarian approved for us but please, always check with your dog’s veterinarian.

Safe Fruits For Most Dogs 

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Fruit should always be given in moderation and remove the seeds as many contain cyanide and they can be a choking hazard and cause intestinal blockage in some dogs. 

Safe Vegetables For Most Dogs

  • Bell peppers
  • Brocolli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Zucchini

Safe Herbs & Spices For Most Dogs

  • Basil
  • Cinnamon (Ceylon is best and make sure not to give nutmeg)
  • Ginger
  • Parsley-curly not spring
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Tumeric

homemade dog treats on baking sheet

Types Of Flour That Are Safe To Use In Homemade Dog Treats

Most dogs will do well with a variety of baking flours, except for bleached white flour because it is highly processed and contain no nutritional value which defeats the purpose of using it to make healthy dog treats.

Keep in mind that different flours perform differently in a recipe so if you’re changing the type of flour that is called for in a recipe to fit your dog’s needs you might also have to adjust the other ingredients. Check out our list of best flours for making homemade dog treats.

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Oat
  • Pea
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Whole-Wheat
  • Almond
  • Chickpea
  • Coconut
  • Lentil
  • Potato

In addition to fruits, vegetables and flours there are also other common ingredients that you can use in dogs that are safe for most dogs

  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bone broth
  • Carob
  • Coconut oil or flakes
  • Coconut water or milk (unsweetened)
  • CBD oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Nut butter such as peanut, almond, pumpkin and cashew. You’ll always want to use dog-safe peanut butter that doesn’t contain xylitol or you can even make your own easy homemade peanut butter recipe!
  • Honey
  • Hemp seed
  • Green-lipped mussel powder
  • Potato flakes
  • Rolled oats
  • Yogurt (plain non-fat Greek)
  • + many more!

And of course fish and meat protein such as salmon, chicken, beef or liver. 

Other ingredients seen in some treats are cheese and bacon. I try to avoid these most of the time just because they can be high in fat and can result in pancreatitis for some dogs.  

Storing Homemade Dog Treats

Not only are the ingredients important when making homemade dog treat but so is storing them properly!

Homemade dog treats will store differently than store-bought dog treats because they don’t contain artificial preservatives and ingredients will impact how you store them and how long they will last. 

Baked dog treats with fruit or vegetables should be cooled completely and then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Baked treats that contain fish or meat should also be stored in an airtight container and placed in the fridge for 5 days to a week. 

frozen homemade dog treats in a bowl

Frozen dog treats will last much longer than homemade baked dog treats which is why those are my favorite treats to make. Most frozen dog treats will last up to a month or more in an airtight/freezer-safe container or silicone storage bags. 

If you are making a bigger batch of DIY dog treats you can always store the dough in the freezer and simply defrost when you are ready to bake them!

Lastly, you can always label the dog treat container with a date, and if you have any questions about the quality check for mold or just throw them away!

Are Homemade Dog Treats Better Than Store Bought?

There are some really good and healthy store bought treats available so it all depends on what you’re looking for. 

A handful of dog treats available to pet parents are made with organic safe ingredients and some are even single ingredient treats. 

Homemade dog treats don’t sit on the shelf at the pet store or in warehouse for months so they don’t contain extra preservatives and chemicals to keep them fresh. 

Making homemade dog treats definitely has benefits for dogs and dog owners that have the time and resources to make them. 

Making homemade dog treats is fun and a great way to add a healthy boost to your dog’s diet but just keep in mind that they should always be given in moderation and they should make up for no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. 

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