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Dog Food Recipes: Low-Cost Homemade Treats
Making dog treats from leftovers

Table scraps: dogs love them, and their pleading eyes are difficult to deny. However, the consequences of this indulgence can range from minor and annoying to life-threatening and expensive. Some human foods — onions, chocolate, grapes and raisins in particular — contain enzymes that may produce gastrointestinal upsets, neurological problems, seizures and even death if fed in large quantities.

With care and common sense, though, you can turn leftovers into tasty and nutritious treats for your dogs.

How about a canine trail mix? Chop meat, potatoes, vegetables, even fruit, into 1/2” pieces. Spray lightly with cooking spray and place in a food dehydrator or 200° oven until dried for a nutritious treat to take along on those long post-meal hikes.

Holiday meals bring a bounty of leftover meat. Instead of feeding your dog the scraps, create a healthy frozen treat. Rinse off any seasoning and chop into small pieces. Fill an ice cube tray partway with water, drop an equal amount of chopped meat into each cube and freeze. Even dogs who don’t usually chew ice cubes will lick this refreshing treat.

Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, C and E as well as protease inhibitors, which are thought to help prevent cancer in dogs. Remove the peel and slice them 1/4” to 1/2” thick. Place the slices in a food dehydrator or a 200° oven until they’re dry and chewy.

You can also make crunchy dog treats using leftovers. Start by rinsing the seasoning from any combination of leftover meat, rice, noodles or vegetables. Purée until smooth in a food processor. Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and an egg. Use milk or water until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream. Add a tablespoon of dried parsley and enough whole wheat, soy or rice flour to make a stiff dough. Roll the dough to about 1/4”, cut into shapes and bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven overnight to crisp. The treats will keep for about a week in a cool, dry environment.

Healthy and nutritious dog treats are limited only by our imagination — be inspired to create your own recipes!

This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 62: Nov/Dec 2010
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Submitted by Rachel H. | March 12 2011 |

What great ideas!

Submitted by Carolyn | March 13 2011 |

I love and have used all of these suggestions over the years. A couple tips ... for the baked treats, score them with a pizza cutter prior to baking. I usually make thin strips that I can break into tiny training treats for my small dog. I make a big batch, freeze it and break off just enough strips for a day (not wanting to risk spoilage even though they are baked). The frozen treats is another great idea ... I often take a can of sardines, mash them up and freeze 1/4 teaspoon (or more) topped up with plain water in each cell. Wow, is that ever a big hit and a healthy source of Omega 3s, protein and calcium too!

Submitted by NaturalPetEssentials | April 2 2012 |

First, we just want to say that we love The Bark! There are so many super recipes for pet food and treats and the ones above are just super! Also check out these two links for some more ideas.

Again...The Bark is a great resources for all of us dog lovers out there....

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