By Laura Pakis, Cynologist
Variety is the spice of a dog’s diet, and nutritionally complete and balanced treats can provide that spice. Treats can also be an integral part of your dog’s training program am, so it’s important to know what snacks are the safest, healthiest and most palatable for your pet.
Many of the treats currently available in pet supply stores contain large amounts of sugar and fat, which can lead to an overweight animal. It’s a good idea to read the label on any treat you’re considering. If sugars are high on the ingredients list, it’s best to avoid that product, especially if your pet is obese or diabetic. The ASPCA recommends low-fat, high-fiber varieties. Chewable pet vitamins, relatively low in calories, are also a good choice, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggested dosage.
You can solve the treat issue by making your own treats. Here are a few that my dogs love and aren’t too complicated.
OATMEAL GO-BANANAS DOG TREATS
3-4 lg eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup milk
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups whole wheat flour
3-6 cups cooking oats, depending on texture
Mix together by hand eggs, oil, honey, molasses, milk and bananas. Add flour and oats, mix until it has the consistency of cake mix. Spread the batter in a greased 10×15 pan. Let the dogs like the bowl and spoon. Bake 1 hour @ 325, turn oven off and let treats sit until oven cools. Cut into desired shape with knife or pizza cutter. Cover and refrigerate or freeze if they won’t be used within a week to 10 days.
* I really like this recipe because you don’t have to roll them out and use cookie cutters. My dogs surprisingly really liked them even though there isn’t any meat or peanut butter to be found in the ingredients list 🙂
PEANUT BUTTER BONES
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup water
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cooking oats
Combine wet and dry ingredients separately. Then mix all together well. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead until thoroughly mixed together. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick, cut out with bone shaped cookie cutter.
Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool on rack.
Cover and refrigerate or freeze what won’t be used within 7-10 days.
*This recipe is really easy to roll out, unlike others I’ve tried that are really sticky and hard to work with.
HEALTHY GARLIC HEARTS
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Mix all ingredients, roll out and cut with heart shaped cookie cutter. Place on greased baking sheet and back at 325 until golden brown (30-45 minutes)
After they’ve cooled, cover and refrigerate or freeze what won’t be used within 7-10 days.
* The original recipe called for 1 cup oil and no eggs. It was WAY too much oil and impossible to form into a call let alone roll out. You may need to adjust oil, eggs and water to get it to the right consistency. Remember with those who use garlic not to overdo it with your dogs…especially the little ones…it is a natural blood thinner. Just a helpful hint!!
Mix all these dry ingredients together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 cup dry milk powder
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup corn meal
1 tsp. sugar
Cut in 1/3 cup shortening. Mix in 1 egg. Dissolve 1 Tablespoon instant bouillon in 1/2 cup hot water and add to mixture. Mix with a fork and form dough into a ball. Knead for 5 min. Roll out to 1/4 inch or less, (less is better) and cut into shapes or slice into rectangles or squares. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10-12 min. Do not under bake as they will mold quickly if not dry.
May be frozen for future use.
About the Author
Laura Pakis, owner/founder of Acme Canine, is an experienced certified professional dog trainer and writer. Pakis is well known throughout the canine community for her knowledge of dog behavior, high standards, and professionalism. Published author in several national and local magazines, invited speaker by the media and pet equipment companies for canine expertise, Laura Pakis assists dog owners worldwide with improving dog behaviors using down to earth, common sense techniques that only require 15 minutes a day of training.