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More Options for Homemade Dog Treats

Updated on July 2, 2011

At a recent dog training class, I found myself comparing dog treats with another pet in attendance. The woman, like me, makes her own liver treats. We both agreed that homemade treats are cheaper than the pet shop treats and healthier with a limited amount of human grade ingredients.

In my previous hub “Homemade dog treats – healthy and inexpensive”
I outlined how to make dog treats using a dehydrator. One of the easiest recipes entails – joke intended – placing thinly sliced raw liver on dehydrator trays and letting the machine run for 12 or more hours. When the liver has become dry and jerky-like, it’s time to remove it and cut it into pieces. A scissors works more effectively than knife. My classmate noted that she didn’t use a dehydrator, but instead placed the liver on a cookie sheet in the oven and baked it at a low temperature until it dried out and baked. She then slices it into cubes.

But there are a few extras that can be added to spruce up the treats; add healthy nutrients; and improve the dog’s quality of life.

Once the liver is sliced and places, whether on a cookie sheet or dehydrator tray, sprinkle on additions.

Hard cheeses like Romano add calcium and a strong appealing smell. Cinnamon adds the blood sugar regulation from which some older dogs benefit. A light sprinkle of garlic thins blood, again, a benefit for older dogs, while dried mint on top helps with digestion and doggie breath.

Grated carrot, apple or sweet potatoes add Vitamin A, fiber and other nutrients that wild dogs get from eating the stomach contents of their herbivore prey.

Peanut butter can be smeared on the liver as can any other type of nut butter, as can applesauce.

Apples with nut butter and sweet potato with cinnamon also can be placed in the dehydrator.

When determining which treats to make, dog owners need to realize that all animals are trained through positive reinforcement. All animals are motivated by something. Some animals are food motivated. Others prefer to receive praise or play with a special toy.

For dogs that are not greatly food motivated, such as my therapy-dog-in-training, food needs to have a strong smell. And remember, dogs aren’t people. What we consider a good smell, may not be appealing to them.

In the treat comparison, my companion mentioned that her baked liver treats smelled good enough to eat. And sniffing the baggie of treats, it did. It smelled good and garlicky. But I’m not a dog. My treats smell unpleasant. But clearly neither my dogs, nor hers, thought so.

And when you think about the things your dog smells on a walk – trees, garbage, other dog’s droppings; you realize there idea of a good time, and ours is not the same.

So take a walk on the wild side, go through the spice cabinet, do a little research into the effects of herbs and seasonings, avoid the salt and get started.


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