Homemade dog treats are a great way to save money while ensuring your Aussie has nutritious and delicious rewards when you train. Many owners try to steer clear of commercial treats due to their low-grade ingredients and lack of nutritional value. Need ideas for dog treats and tips on how to make them at home? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
DCM is a heart condition that has been reportedly linked to certain low carbohydrate dog foods. However, the FDA has still not confirmed a specific cause and its latest study is also inconclusive. As such, at the time of this writing (July 16, 2020) there have still not been any recalls. For further information see: FDA, Dog Food Advisor article, and an article by Daniel Schulof, the founder and CEO of KetoNatural Pet Foods, Inc. addressing potential Bad Science and Financial Conflicts of Interest Plaguing the FDA's Investigation Into "Grain-Free" Pet Foods and Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
Most dogs are quite fond of peanut butter, so this is an ingredient you can use in a range of different treats. If you're concerned about additives and preservatives, make sure you buy an organic peanut butter. You can use peanut butter to make cookies by mixing it with flour, water and oil to make a dough, cutting it into squares and then baking them. Alternatively you can use peanut butter as an ingredient for frozen treats – see below for more ideas on this.
Here's one peanut butter biscuit recipe you can try:
2 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of peanut butter
1 Tbsp of baking powder
Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).
You can stuff homemade dog treats into dog toys like Kongs to keep your Aussie happy and amused.
Zoe at 8 months old.
Cheese is a food that gets most Aussie's tails wagging (or butts wiggling), and when you combine it with meat it can make for a highly motivating homemade treat to use while training. To do this you can simply cut up some sausage meat into cubes and use a knife to create a hollow opening in the middle of each chunk. Then simply stuff some cheese (in chunks or grated) into the hole. While this may be a popular treat, make sure you don't go overboard with the cheese as too much can cause constipation in dogs.
You can create biscuits for your dogs the same way you might do family baking, although obviously you'll want to vary the ingredients somewhat. For instance, you could try making cookies with tiny pieces of liver instead of chocolate chips. However there are a couple of warnings to keep in mind – dogs aren't used to the refined sugar we usually use in baking for humans, so keep sugar to a minimum in any recipes you use. Also, keep in mind some Australian Shepherds have wheat and gluten intolerance issues, so if your dog displays a bad reaction to baking that includes wheat, that may be why.
Frozen homemade dog treats are a good way to give your dog something new if you're bored of making the same old biscuits all the time. Most recipes for frozen dog treats include peanut butter and yogurt – some also throw some fruit and honey into the mixture. To make these treats you simply blend up the ingredients with some ice cubes the same way you would when making a smoothie. You can then separate the mixture in an ice cube tray to create frozen bite-sized pieces.
Although these aren't exactly homemade dog treats, there are toys available called Kongs which are flexible and have a hollow center. You can fill this center with virtually any food you can think of and the result is the ideal chew toy/treat combination. One option, if you want to keep your dog occupied is to fill the Kong with peanut butter. Your dog will keep himself busy trying to get all the peanut butter out of the hole. Alternatively you can fill the Kong with kibble or anything your dog likes. KONG Extreme Dog Toy available at Amazon.com here.
One good rule of thumb to use if you want to make sure the ingredients you're using for treats are nutritional is to only include foods that are as close to their 'natural' form as possible. For instance, an orange is a natural, whole food – orange juice is a processed food derived from an orange. So when you're considering including an ingredient in a treat, ask yourself, “How many times has this food been refined or processed from its natural state to become what it is now?” The closer you can stay to natural whole ingredients, the 'cleaner' your dog treats will be nutritionally.
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