5 Homemade Dog Treats That Are Healthier, Safer, And Cheaper Than Store-Bought

Ditch the Milk Bones and make 'em yourself.

July 11, 2017
homemade dog treats
Photograph courtesy of Munchkins And Military

Dog treats are a lot like snack foods for people: Fun in moderation—as long as you pick ones that are made with clean, wholesome ingredients.

Problem is, most conventional dog treats don’t exactly fit that bill. It’s not uncommon for those store-bought biscuits and chews to contain sketchy additives, colors, or preservatives. (You didn’t think those bacon bites were naturally bright red, did you?) They also tend to be high in low-nutrition fillers that can make it easy for your pup to put on extra weight, says Carol Osborne, DVM, author of Naturally Healthy Dogs. Think corn, soy, and refined carbs. (Check out these 5 terrible ingredients in pet food.)

Of course, there are plenty of all-natural treats out there made with real ingredients. But they’re not exactly cheap—and there’s still no guarantee that you’ll be thrilled with the ingredients list. (Even natural treats can be high in sugar, after all.) Going the DIY route is easy and inexpensive, and you get to control exactly what goes into them. Plus, watching your pup happily gobble up a snack that you made from scratch will put a smile on your face—promise.

Here are 5 clean, simple recipes to try. 

(Like what you're reading? Sign up for our newsletter to get health insights, clever kitchen tricks, gardening secrets, and more—delivered straight to your inbox.)

homemade dog treats
Photograph courtesy of Baking Mischief
Carrot Applesauce Oat Treats

In the time you could run to the pet store to buy a bag of treats, you could whip up these cute dog cookies from Baking Mischief. They’re made with just four simple ingredients: Oats, shredded carrot, unsweetened applesauce, and a little bit of flour. And they’re ready in 30 minutes flat. Don’t feel like shaping them into hearts? No problem—just scoop them onto your baking sheet with a spoon. Your dog won’t mind one bit.   

Related: What You Should Do When Your Dog Rolls In These 3 Disgusting Things, According To Veterinarians

sweet potato dog chews
Photograph courtesy of Platings And Pairings
Sweet Potato Dog Chews

If your pup is a chewer, he’ll go crazy for these yummy treats made with just one simple ingredient: Sweet potatoes. Platings and Pairings makes them by slicing the sweet potatoes thinly, then baking them in a low oven until they’re tough, chewy, and just right for chomping. The drying process takes about six hours, so it isn’t exactly fast. But since it’s all hands off, these are easy to make anytime you’ll be hanging out at home for the day. 

Related: How To Grow Perfect Sweet Potatoes In Your Back Yard

frozen dog treats
Photograph courtesy of Cooking with Janica
Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Dog Treats

Hot days call for cool treats—and these frozen bites from Cooking with Janica will no doubt be a hit with your dog. To make them, just blend yogurt, banana, peanut butter, and honey in the food processor, then pour the mixture into molds and freeze until frozen. Is it weird to say that you might even like snacking on these, too? 

Related: How To Make Your Own Flavored Peanut Butter

homemade dog treat
Photograph courtesy of Munchkins And Military
Bacon Cheddar Dog Treats

Maybe your pup has been working extra hard to master something new. Or it’s just a special day that calls for a special snack. Either way, these bacon, cheddar, and oatmeal biscuits from Munchkins and Military are exactly what you want to make. Don’t be surprised if your dog starts pacing around in the kitchen while these bake up—the meaty aroma is basically his version of fresh chocolate chip cookies.

Related: 6 Things Your Dogs Poop Can Tell You About Its Health

DIY jerky for dogs
Photograph courtesy of Dalmatian DIY
Simple DIY Jerky

Most experts agree that meat should make up the main component of your pup’s diet. These beef jerky treats from Dalmatian DIY are loaded with high-quality protein—and they’re a cinch to make. Just slice the meat into thin strips, dehydrate it, and you’re done. Want to shake things up? Try using chicken or salmon, or rubbing the meat with herbs like rosemary or thyme. Your pup will wholeheartedly approve. 

Related: 4 Holistic Vets Reveal Exactly What They Feed Their Dogs