Making Dog Treats From Your Leftovers
At a loss with what to do with those leftovers in the fridge? Have a dog that will eat just about anything, but your feel bad spoiling them with "people food"? Don't waste your money throwing them out, turn those leftovers into treats for your dogs. With this easy recipe you can make dog treats using the leftovers in your fridge and a few other ingredients that you will generally find in your pantry. This is a great way to use the extras leftover from a meal like the extra potatoes and carrots or all that food that goes to waste after a party or holiday. In addition, what do you do with the gizzards when you make a whole chicken or turkey? Now you can use them to create tasty treats for your dogs.
Remember, these are intended to be treats for your dogs and are not a substitute for a healthy balanced diet.
Always check to be sure that the foods you are adding are safe for your dog first!
Homemade Dog Treats
- 2/3 cup Milk
- 1 Egg
- 2 1/4 cup All-purpose or wheat flour, Wheat flour may be more beneficial to your pet, but All-purpose is fine
- 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
- 1 Cup Peanut butter or Assorted Leftovers, See note at end of article regarding the types of leftovers that you can use
- 1 Tbsp. Parsley, Basil, Mint or Cinnamon, (optional) - Adding any of these may help with bad breath
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Using a food processor, puree the leftovers into a paste. You can add a spoonful of peanut butter if it is to dry.
- Mix all of the ingredients together until a soft dough forms (slightly thicker than cookie dough). If it is too sticky, add more flour 1 tbsp. at a time. If it is too dry, add more milk 1 tbsp. at a time.
- Roll dough out on a flat surface to about 1/4 inch thick.
- Use a knife to cut the dough into squares appropriate for the size dog or use a cookie cutter to make cute shapes. Think about the size treats or biscuits you give them normally and make them about that size.Or you can roll the dough into a rope and simply cut off pieces of it.
- Place treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in oven for 35- 40 minutes flipping them over halfway. These treats do not spread out like cookies when you bake them, so you only need a small amount of space in between each.
- Allow treats to cool completely before feeding them to your dog.
- Store treats in an airtight container. Treats should last for several weeks. Remember, there are no preservatives like those in store bought treats, so they will not last as long. Treats made with any type of meat should be kept refrigerated. Refrigerating or freezing the treats will help them last longer.
Making The Treats
Training With Treats
Using treats to reward your pets good behavior is a very common way to train your dog. Homemade dog treats have an advantage over store bought treats because they can be healthier for your dog to consume. Also, when you make the treats yourself, you can adjust the size of the treats. If you are using the treats as a training tool, you should make the treats a much smaller size. This way you can spend more time on the training without your dog becoming full from to many treats.
Notes on what leftovers to use
You will want to check and see if your dog actually likes the leftovers that you are providing for them. You don't want to waste your time creating treats that your dog will not eat.
In addition, you will want to make sure the food you are using is not spoiled. Refrigerated food will be good for 3 to 5 days after you cooked it and you should never leave your food out at room temperature for more than 4 hours. A general rule of thumb is if you wouldn't eat it, don't feed it to your pets.
You can use yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, meats, string beans, etc. You should avoid things like grapes, raisins, avocados, any kind of sweets and chocolate. Be aware of what the items were cooked with as some spices may harm your pet. For example, nutmeg can be harmful to your dog but cinnamon is safe.
Foods to Avoid: Avocados, grapes, raisins, nutmeg, paprika and cocoa.
Okay foods in Small Doses: onions, pepper, salt - basically in doses that are used for seasoning would be okay, but onion as the only thing in the treat could be harmful to your dog.
Good Foods to Use: Peanut butter, leftover beef, chicken or fish (with fat and bones removed), potatoes, yams, string beans, carrots, etc.
If you are planning on using the gizzards (liver, kidneys, heart) from a chicken or turkey, cook them prior to making the treats. I usually just put them in a pot with enough water to cover them completely, then boil them for about 30 min. You can then use this "flavored water" to moisten the dough for the treats.
Before adding any leftover items to your dog treat recipe, check that the foods and items cooked with the foods are safe for dog consumption. A simple search of "Can dogs eat _____?" will give you the results on whether it is safe for your dog or not.
Be sure to check with your vet in regard to any health concerns, health problems or allergies that your dog may have when you consider making these treats. If you are in doubt about any ingredients either don't add them or consult with your vet as to whether or not it is safe for your pet. Remember, though we may treat our pets like family, they are dogs and may have different dietary needs than that of people.
Additions for Your Dogs Health
Do your dogs suffer from bad breath? Adding parsley, cinnamon, mint or basil can help with bad breath.
Adding 1 Tbsp. of flax seed oil can improve their coats.
There are many other spices or additives you can add to your treats based on your dogs specific health needs. Consult an expert or your vet about what would be best for your pet and their specific needs.