Looking for recipes for homemade dog chews and training treats
January 4, 2018 7:42 PM   Subscribe

I have searched Pinterest and most are dog "cookies" with elaborate ingredients. I'm looking for simple chews and training treats I can make at home with minimal ingredients. If the recipe is a little complicated, I can handle it because I love to cook. I'm just looking for fresh and budget friendly above all.

This is for my two dogs (larger approx 50 lbs each) for chews and treats for dog training. This appeals to me because I am trying to cut down on my budget and pet food and dog treats are something I'm spending a chunk of money on every month and would like to reduce by 10%.

The pet food (what they eat in the morning and evening) is something I think I'll have to continue shelling out for (making that seems really tricky) but the treats and chews seem up my alley.
posted by rabu to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you have access to a food dehydrator, you can cut sweet potatoes into chunks and dry them out. Some dogs really love them. It’s possible that you could do this in a low oven too. You could also try foods like apple or whatnot.
posted by theperfectcrime at 7:51 PM on January 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Training treats are best if they're small (so you can give plenty without filling up your dog) and smelly (so the dog knows there's a tasty treat at stake). How about getting some cheap meat at the butcher (like chicken hearts), and either dehydrating or just frying up in small bites?
posted by Jaclyn at 7:56 PM on January 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

For training treats, I just cook meat and organs (heart and liver), cut them into bits, freeze them, and take them out as needed. I've never seen the point in anything more elaborate.

For chews, drying sweet potatoes does work but your 50 lb dogs will go right through them. They'll be more of a snack than a chew. You can also dry chicken strips, but again, not much of a chew for a big dog. I don't think there's a homemade chew that will really stand up to a big dog.
posted by HotToddy at 8:01 PM on January 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I take some beef liver, chicken, or cheese, mix it up with whole-wheat flour and eggs in a blender, and then stick it in the oven at 350 until it looks done (usually about 30 minutes). I more or less eyeball the amounts, but I think it ends up being 2-3 cups of flour, 2 eggs, and either a scant pound of liver/chicken, or one of those 8-oz packages of shredded cheese. The liver kind of liquefies and so it makes a runny-ish batter that has to go into a baking dish, whereas the chicken and cheese both yield a more dough-like, um, dough that can be rolled out and baked flat on a cookie sheet. When it's done, I'll use a pizza wheel to cut the result into tiny squares that I can use as training treats or treats while we're out walking.

Another thing I do is oven-dry deli meat when we occasionally buy too much and clearly aren't eating it fast enough (i.e., I wouldn't do this with meat going off, but if you ever have too much on hand it's a good way of using it up). Stick it on a baking sheet in a single row, leave it in the oven at 200 degrees until it's done (time varies but is often around an hour - just check on it). Our pup only gets small tidbits of this at a time - she'd gladly snarf the whole mess down at once if she could - but we find they add a little variety for her.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:33 PM on January 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I do dried beef liver treats, and my hounds will do handstands for them. Smelly to make, so I like to do it when I can have the windows open (not today!). Buy sliced beef liver (if the store only has whole beef livers, ask the butcher to slice it). Boil liver on stovetop until cooked through, then drain and cool enough to be able to handle slices. Slice into small cubes and put on a sheet tray in a single layer. Bake in oven at low temp, 200-225 until dry, let cool completely and store in freezer. You can also do this with chicken or duck hearts if you can find them.

The second kind I make is more of a recipe, and more of a treat-treat, since they're larger and I don't give many at a time. They're also a big hit with the puppers.

Sardine and Cheese Balls
Makes approximately 300 (25 dozen) treats (recipe can be halved if you don't have multiple hounds or give treats to all the neighborhood dogs :)

6 eggs
6 cans low salt sardines in water, undrained
1/4 cup vegetable or safflower oil
1 cup shredded low fat mozzarella
2 cups quick rolled oats
3 cups+ all-purpose white flour

Mix sardines, eggs and oil. Stir in cheese, then oats. Add flour a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly; continue to add flour gradually until dough becomes stiff.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into small balls (dusting dough and hands with a bit more flour can make this easier) and flatten into cookies. Place on baking sheet covered with foil (treats can be placed closely since they don't spread during cooking) and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, then lower heat to 300 and continue baking for another 20 or 30 minutes until treats are crunchy/dry (not spongy in the middle) and slightly toasted. Let cool completely, then store in freezer up to six months, or fridge for a week.

Alternative to rolling all those little balls, roll dough flat to between 1/8" and 1/4" thick, then score into 3/4" squares with a knife. Bake until dry as above.
posted by vers at 5:48 AM on January 5, 2018

I make teeny tiny peanut butter bites for treats for our dog because that's what motivates him. Peanut butter, oats, whole wheat flour, hot water, mix until it's a dough, make tiny bites of them, bake until dried out. There are plenty of recipes around with more details.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:51 AM on January 5, 2018

I dry out sweet potatoes for my pup without a food dehydrator:

• slice up a bunch of sweet potatoes with a mandoline
• lay them out on an oven-safe cooling rack
• put them in the oven on its lowest setting for hours.
• use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door cracked so air can circulate

As you might imagine, this is something that is best to do during wintertime weekends where I'm home all day.
posted by redsparkler at 10:24 AM on January 5, 2018

Not quite what you asked, but I make homemade dog food for my two 50 pound mutts. It's basically oatmeal, protein (ground beef or canned mackerel), pumpkin, olive oil and a mixture of supplements. It takes me about 20 minutes for a batch that feeds them both for just about a week. I found the recipe (plus others) in this book. So if you want to try making homemade food, give it a whirl. My vet always comments on how healthy our dogs are.
posted by sarajane at 1:32 PM on January 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I made homemade food for our two largish dogs for years with ground beef, brown rice, and pureed vegetables.

Now we have one dog on a mix of oatmeal, sweet potato, pureed veggies, hardboiled egg, and chicken breast, and the tiny dog on a spoonful of the previous mix plus some commercial kibble. Our dogs on homemade food also get fish oil and vitamin supplements. Nothing too taxing or complicated.

I used to make training treats out of various simple recipes featuring peanut butter, pumpkin or banana, eggs, and flour. Roll it out, score into small squares with a pizza cutter, and bake. There are a bunch of recipes out there.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:59 PM on January 5, 2018

I make a whole grain variant for my dogs. This is easy for me since I'm a home brewer, and I use my leftover grains from a batch of beer, but if you're not a brewer, or don't know any brewers, you can sub in whole grains of your favorite sort (wheat berries, cracked barley) that have been covered in hot water, soaked for one hour and drained (ideal water temp would be around 160, but it can't be boiling hot).

2c whole grains
2c flour
2 eggs
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 c oil (corn is best, but I also use any leftover fat I have from any stocks or other projects)

Mix ingredients until dough comes together and then form. Dough should be dry and hand formable, like a dry cookie dough. I use a silicone mold for small (like 1"x2") loaves, but you can hand form them into almost any shape as well. I brush the tops of mine with bacon grease, but you can skip this step or brush with any oil or fat. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then drop temp to 250 and bake for two more hours. You will now have the pups attention. Let them cool and then, enjoy! They freeze really well, but will start to mold after a week if left on the counter.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:13 AM on January 7, 2018

« Older Why can't I use a foot peeling mask while...   |   Did I zap my new computer? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.