This versatile dog treat recipe lets you build delicious, healthy, DIY dog treats using your dog's favorite ingredients and flavors.
It couldn't be easier! All you have to do is:
Choose the ingredients your dog loves and are suitable for his specific digestive system and health. It's simple to adjust for dietary restrictions or sensitivities.
For example, if your dog doesn't do well with dairy products try non-dairy milks, nutritional yeast instead of cheese and non-dairy yogurt. If he hates peanut butter (yes, that can happen, my GSD Dax won't touch it!) use almond butter instead or don't use either.
Dog treat recipes come in all shapes and sizes, and following a recipe which has specifically measured and balanced ingredients is the easiest way to make sure your treats come out perfectly.
But there are times when you don't have all the ingredients that you need for a certain recipe, or when you want to customize the ingredients or you're simply feeling creative. This customizable homemade dog treat recipe gives you the chance to do any/all of these things.
My basic method is to mix the flour and dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients, egg or egg substitute (if used) and mix again. Then I'll add the liquid a little at a time until dough forms.
I also often add optional 'extras' (such as shredded vegetables, fruit or cheese and nuts/seeds/spices/oils) and then simply increase or decrease the amount of liquid used so that the dough is workable and neither too sticky nor too crumbly.
It really is that simple.
I've put together a suggestions for ingredients in each category below, but honestly, the sky's the limit with this.
As long as the ingredient fits into the physical characteristics of the category (ie wet or dry) and isn't a food that's dangerous for dogs to eat feel free to be as creative as you want to be.
Your dog's taste isn't as sophisticated as yours and mine, and my dogs seem to really love some pretty odd combinations (by human standards). I'd suggest always adding at least one ingredient that has a fairly strong smell/flavor to your dog treat recipe as the smellier and tastier the better according to my boys!
For this recipe you will need two cups of flour.
Unless I'm making grain-free or gluten-free treats I usually always start with at least one cup of whole wheat flour because it makes easy-to-work-with dough and helps add crunch to treats. Sometimes it's the only flour I use.
When I want to change things up, the flours I'm most likely to substitute with are
Other favorites include almond flour and coconut flour but these tend to require you to pay more attention to the liquid you're adding because coconut flour will soak it up like a sponge and almond flour adds oils.
You can mix and match flour ratios however you want as long as you end up with two cups of flour total, here are just a few examples:
For gluten free dog treats you can use a combination of gluten free flours or try a homemade gluten free flour blend or buy one that's ready-made.
Gluten free flours are trickier to work with than wheat-based flours and might be a little stickier, or crumblier, than you expect. Luckily you can simply add a little extra flour, or little extra liquid (do this slowly, maybe a tbsp, or even a tsp, at a time) until dough is workable.
GF flours also burn more easily when baking, so set your oven to 325F instead of 350F, and keep an eye on your creations as they bake to make sure they don't get burned.
The wet ingredients in the versatile dog treat recipe pretty much live up to their name by having a significant water content.
My favorites include:
There are lots of different dry ingredients you can add to your recipes. Most are either in powder form, or are finely ground.
I believe that everything you put into your homemade dog treats should add nutritional value as well as flavor.
Here are some of my favorites:
Not all recipes need an egg, or even an egg substitute, but if you're using all gluten free flours or a GF flour blend you'll need at least one egg and probably additional 'binders' (such as xanthan gum, guar gum etc.)
For recipes using wheat flour you can use an egg, or not, and adjust wet and liquid ingredients to account for that.
If your dog is sensitive to eggs and you want an alternative, a flax egg or chia egg is probably the best substitute.
The liquid ingredients are super simple and there are only a few choices.
The simplest is just plain cold water and this always works.
My favorite is bone broth because it's nutrient dense and adds value to the recipe.
Other options include:
Once you've chosen the basic ingredients for your versatile dog treat recipe from the categories listed above, go ahead and put them all together and you'll have a stack of healthy, tasty dog treats in no time.
But... you don't have to stop there!
There are loads of extra (and totally optional) ingredients that you can add depending on what you have on hand, your dog's taste, general health etc. etc. Choose one or more. Be creative.
Of course when you add something extra it will change the balance of wet/dry ingredients and you may need to increase/reduce fluids or flour, but the great thing is that you don't need to be an experienced baker, or have any special skills to do this.
You are aiming for a workable dough (ie one that isn't too sticky, or too dry/crumbly) which you can roll out, or even press out using your hands, and cut into whatever shapes you want. It isn't rocket science and you'll very quickly figure out how to do it perfectly.
Here are some of the optional ingredients that I love to use:
So... there you have it. A versatile dog treat recipe template that will help you make an infinite variety of treats for your best friend. It's very simple to follow and you can use whichever ingredients you have on hand, so you could literally start right now!
One of my favorite part of making treats for my dogs is the creative process, ie choosing and combining ingredients to make goodies that I KNOW they will love, and that are healthy and nutritious too.
I hope you have as much fun with this as I do. Everyone enjoy!