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The Best Healthy Dog Treats for Conscientious Owners


During the holiday season, we get to enjoy all our favorite treats, and we don’t want for our fur babies to feel left out. But as responsible dog parents we can’t risk the well-being of our pooches, we need to make sure that whatever they eat is full of nutritional goodness. There are certain human foods that your dog might be allergic to and others that are poisonous such as chocolate, but there are others that are safe for your dog to consume.

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Home cooked vs. Store bought

You can buy commercial dog treats available in stores, but your dog will love it if you put in the effort yourself. Another benefit is that while making the treats, you can be sure of what exactly goes in them and ensure that your pet gets the required nutrition. Plus the homemade food is economical and helps you save the extra bucks that you would have had to spend on the commercial food.

I am not a good cook!

Cooking is an art and art requires skill. For people like me who consider themselves average cooks, it almost seems impossible to be able to make something edible and healthy. Well, in that case, there are various options:

  • You can choose the nutritious single-ingredient treats
  • You can select any of the recipes that I’ll be sharing here; they are quick and easy to make

Also with dogs, the best part is that you don’t have to worry about the presentation of the dish, as long as it’s delicious and healthy, the parents and pooches both will be happy.

Single Ingredient Treats:

1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a treat that all canines love to scarf up. Although it is a good source of healthy fats, protein, and vitamins, store-bought peanut butter might not be the best option. Store bought products might contain unhealthy fats and high sugar content. You can prepare it at home and feed it to your pooch, but like all other treats, too much of it can cause health issues in the long run.

2. Cheese

Cheese can help fulfill the dietary requirements of Calcium for your dog, but it isn’t a viable option if your dog is lactose intolerant. You should give only a few chunks occasionally; it is also a good option for training treats. You can give your pup cheddar or Swiss cheese.

3. Greek yogurt

Yogurt is a source of calcium for dogs that aren’t lactose intolerant. Greek yogurt is an even healthier alternative because of the number of probiotics present in it which help in fighting infections.

You can use a small amount of the yogurt to dress you fur-baby’s meal. It is extraordinarily beneficial for dogs that are taking antibiotics.

4. Apples

Apples are packed with vitamin C, phytonutrients and have antioxidant activity. They keep your dog’s teeth clean and aid in fighting cancer. You can freeze apple slices to feed your pooch or give him the flesh of fresh apples. Don’t feed your pup the seeds or stem of the apple.

5. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is rich in Dietary Fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and is low in fat. Dogs love it because of its flavor, and it’s equally beneficial for them. Pumpkin can help in relieving diarrhea and constipation in your pooch. You can feed your dog pureed or boiled pumpkin; canned pumpkin is also a good option and can be added directly to your pooch’s food.

Pumpkin seeds are also nutritious; they contain omega 3 and antioxidants which help in reducing inflammation. Your dog would prefer eating them roasted, or you can grind them and sprinkle over your pooch’s meal. Always keep in mind that the seeds should be given in a limited quantity as they contain fat.

6. Dried Apricots

Apricots are a sweet treat for dogs full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain potassium which supports the function of enzymes & muscles and carotenoids which reduce the risk of cancer.

However, the stems, seeds, and the pit of apricot contain cyanide which is toxic so always ensure that you have removed all these before feeding apricot to your pooch. Since it is dehydrated, it can cause stomach issues. Therefore, you should feed only a small amount to your dog.

Cooked/baked treats:

7. Beef Jerky

Beef is rich in protein which is a building block of cells, tissues, and muscles. Dogs also love this protein but make sure you get the grass feed kind for your pooch.

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 180⁰F. Cut the beef into ½ inch wide pieces and rub them with parsley. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Afterward, place them on a dehydrator at 150⁰F and dehydrate to give it the texture of a jerky for 4 hours. Once the beef pieces have dried out, your jerky is ready.

8. Liver-Pumpkin Cookies

Okay, so I’ll warn you that the process of cooking these cookies won’t be like your usual baking and you might want to throw up in between. But all the effort is worth your pup’s happiness and the licks you’ll be getting once he eats his treats.

Recipe:

  • - Canned pumpkin- one 15 oz. can
  • - About 400 grams of liver

Okay, so I’ll warn you that the process of cooking these cookies won’t be like your usual baking and you might want to throw up in between. But all the effort is worth your pup’s happiness and the licks you’ll be getting once he eats his treats.

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Now you need to boil the liver for 4 to 5 minutes. Once boiled, dry it and mix it with canned pumpkin and blend the mixture. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Put scoops of the batter on the tray and flatten them to give a cookie-like shape. Bake for 20 minutes until they get the right texture. Cut them and into small chunks, and the delicious treat is ready to be served.

9. Carrot and Banana Treats

Some dog owners wonder if carrots and bananas are good for dogs or not. Well yes, both are nutritious for your pooch and combined in a single treat, they provide the best benefits.

Recipe:

  • - 2 1/2 cups (320g) flour (whole wheat)
  • - 1/2 cup (64g) cornmeal
  • - 2 carrots
  • - 2 bananas
  • - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • - 1 egg
  • - 1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • - 1/2 cup water

Like all baking recipes, this one also requires you to preheat your oven to 350⁰ F. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a bowl and add the carrots (grate them before adding), bananas (mashed) &all the other ingredients. Make a dough and roll it out. Use a cookie cutter to cut cookies out of it. Line the baking tray with parchment paper and bake the cookies in the oven for 30 minutes.

10. Apple Cupcakes

  • - 1 egg
  • - 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • - 1/2 apple
  • - 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Finely chop the apple and mix it along with all other ingredients in a bowl. You can use ramekins to make the cupcakes, grease them with oil. Pour the mixture into the ramekins and bake it for 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick if it comes out clean, your cupcakes are ready.

11. Blueberry Pumpkin Treats

Like pumpkins, blueberries are also a superfood. They contain vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Due to these nutrients, it helps in boosting the immunity and also aids in fighting cancer. The two can be used together to make a delicious treat.

Recipe:

  • - 1/2 cup applesauce
  • - 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • - 2 cups(256g) whole wheat flour
  • - 1/2 cup (64g) flax seed meal
  • - 1/3 cup blueberries
  • - 1/3 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350⁰F. Mix the applesauce and pumpkin puree, in another bowl whisk the dry ingredients. Combine both mixtures; add a little water to make a small ball of dough. Roll it out and make cookies of the desired shape. Prepare the baking tray and place the cookies on it, press a blueberry into each of the biscuits. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes on each side. Cool them before feeding your pooches

12. Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal contains fiber; it helps cure digestive problems in dogs, maintain your pup’s coat & skin and promotes weight loss.

Recipe:

  • - 2 cups 1/2 half cup (320g) rolled oats
  • - A pinch of salt
  • - 1 egg
  • - ½ cup unsalted chicken broth

Okay so by now you must know what the first step is, preheating the oven! The only difference is for these cookies the temperature is 325⁰F. Add all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them.

Knead a ball of dough and let it rest for 5 minutes. Flatten it out and cut the cookies using a cutter. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Your cookies are prepared, cool them and serve to your pooch!

13. Bone Broth

Bone broth is more like a comfort food for your dogs; it is full of nutrition and is excellent for your pup’s joint & bone health and boosting the immune system.

Recipe:

  • - Bones
  • - 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • - Water

Add the bones in the pot (you can also use a slow cooker), cover them with water by 1 inch and add three tablespoons of the vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture cook for 24 hours to extract the nutrition out of the bones. Once the broth is ready, strain it to remove the bones and serve it to your pooch when it is warm and not extremely hot.

14. Veggie Cookies

  • - 1 and 1/4 cup (160g) brown rice flour
  • - 1/2 cup cooked vegetables (zucchini or sweet potatoes)
  • - 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • - 4 tablespoon vegetable broth
  • - ¼ cups cold water

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Mix the flour and parsley in a bowl. In another bowl add the vegetables, broth, and water. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and make a ball of dough. Flatten it out and cut out cookies using a cutter. Place them on a baking sheet as explained in the recipes above and bake for 25 minutes.

About the Author:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

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