Healthy and Safe Ingredients for Homemade Dog Treats

Homemade treats are a great way to control what goes into your pet’s diet, cater to any unique dietary restrictions, and limit the intake of fat and calories. Homemade pet treats are also healthier alternatives to many commercial brand dog treats, which are often filled with unhealthy additives, preservatives, fillers, and byproducts. Furthermore, your beloved pet will appreciate the variety and fresh flavors.

Many recipes for healthy dog treats contain pantry staples, saving you time on an extra grocery store run. However, before hitting the kitchen, it’s important to understand which foods are beneficial to dogs and which can be toxic.


Foods to Avoid in Homemade Dog Treats

Xylitol: One of the most common ingredients in our sugar-free foods, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested in fairly small amounts, this artificial sweetener can cause low blood sugar, seizures, and liver failure, possibly leading to death. This can’t be stressed enough – avoid all sugar-free foods and artificial sweeteners when making pet treats!

Chocolate: Most pet owners are aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. All chocolate, except white, is toxic to dogs, but the recent surge in popularity of potent dark chocolate has increased this risk even more. Toxic doses can lead to abnormal heartbeats, kidney failure, and death. Small dogs are more at risk.

Grapes and Raisins: Ingesting grapes and raisins has fairly recently been found to cause kidney failure in some animals. It doesn’t appear to correlate with the volume ingested, nor are all animals are equally susceptible. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid grapes and raisins altogether.

Onions: While tasty to dogs, ingesting high levels of onions or onion powder can lead to changes in red blood cells and anemia. Again, it’s best to play it safe and steer clear of onions.


Healthy Ingredients for Homemade Pet Treats

Pumpkin: Pumpkin is full of healthy antioxidants and vitamins C and E. These help with cataracts and heart problems in animals. Pumpkin is also great for weight loss and digestion.

Peanut Butter: Dogs love peanut butter, and this healthy snack is beneficial for them, too. It is full of protein, vitamins B and E, niacin, and heart-healthy fats. Make sure you pick raw, unsalted peanut butter, while avoiding sugar-free, or “light”, peanut butter.

Yogurt: Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. It can also contain active bacteria, which acts as a probiotic and aids in digestion.

Salmon: Full of omega 3 fatty acids, salmon helps ensure your best friend maintains a healthy and shiny coat. It also supports a robust immune system.

Eggs: Eggs are full of protein. They also contain easily digestible selenium and riboflavin, making them a great addition to homemade pet treats.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which is especially beneficial for older dogs with irregular digestion. It is also a great alternative to grain for dogs with certain wheat allergies.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon helps improve circulation and contains anti-inflammatory properties. This helps relieve joint pain due to arthritis. Cinnamon also helps regulate blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels, which is especially good for diabetic pets.

Parsley: Add parsley or parsley flakes to dog treats to freshen breath. Parsley also contains vitamins A and C. Plus, your dog won’t even know it’s there.