Healthy Pet Treats You Can Make at Home
It’s Easy, Healthy, and Less Expensive Than Store-Bought
Petco and Petsmart, the two largest retailers of pet supplies in the US, both announced this week that they would stop selling pet treats made in China because of persistent concerns that they are making pets sick. Since 2007, the FDA has issued several warnings about these products, although no specific cause for illness has been identified. Over the past few years, the agency has received more than 4,800 complaints about Chinese-made pet treats causing illness with another 1,000 pet deaths, mostly dogs, reported.
These announcements highlight how careful pet owners need to be about what they give their pets. There are so many different kinds of pet treats available, and they can cover a range from mass-produced dog biscuits to “gourmet” artisanal bonbons for pets. The problem with the mass-produced treats is that you really don’t know what you’re feeding your pet. The most well-known commercial brand, for instance, contains three dozen different ingredients the names of most of which are unpronounceable. Gourmet treats may have fewer mystery ingredients but with wheat-free organic sweet potato treats costing $18.00 a pound, they can be a pretty spendy.
The good news is that you can give your pets really healthy, delicious treats that are the ultimate in hand made artisanal yummies by making them yourself. Homemade pet treats are healthy, inexpensive and surprisingly easy to make, and the best part is you know exactly what’s in them. You can even customize your treats to meet your pet’s needs. For instance, if your dog has a case of puppy breath, just add some dried parsley to their treats to help freshen their breath.
Here are two easy recipes for healthy pet treats your pets will love:
LIVER & BACON DOG TREATS
These biscuits are so easy to make. Liver and bacon are flavors dogs love, and will make these your dog’s favorites.
½ lb. chicken or beef liver, raw
6 slices bacon, cooked
2½ c. oat flour*
1½ c. brown rice flour
1 large egg
½ cup water
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a food processor, puree the liver. Pour the puree into a medium mixing bowl.
- Break the bacon into pieces and put them in the food processor and grind to fine pieces. (Take the time to wash your food processor’s bowl at this point. You don’t want the liver and bacon to dry in the bowl; it’ll be a real pain to clean out later)
- Combine all ingredients except the water in the mixing bowl.
- Mix the ingredients, adding the water a little at a time just until a dough forms.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness.
- With a cookie cutter or knife, cut the dough into shapes.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cookies on the sheet. They won’t expand much, so you can place them fairly close together.
- Bake 22-27 minutes or until golden brown. For crisper cookies, turn off the oven and leave the cookies to cool in the oven for 6 to 8 hours.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
*Oat flour is available at Whole Foods and most natural grocery stores. You can also make your own oat flour with a food processor or blender. It only takes a couple of minutes and costs a fraction of what stores charge. Just put two cups of organic rolled oats in your blender or food processor and blend until the oats reach the consistency of flour.
CRUNCHY CATNIP TUNA TREATS
1 (5 ounce) can water packed tuna, no salt added, drained
1 cup oat flour*
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon dried catnip
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and blend until mixture forms a smooth dough. It should be pliable but not too sticky.
- Roll small pieces of dough into 1/2 teaspoon balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment paper. Use a skewer to press an X-shape into each cookie ball and slightly flatten them.
- Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until they are dried on top and lightly browned. Cool completely and store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.