10 Homemade Treat Recipes for Dogs and Cats – Greatist

Making homemade treats can be a less expensive, healthier, and more manageable option for pets than going the store-bought route.
Our pets deserve the world. Since most of us can’t quite give them that, let’s go with the next best thing: treats. Homemade treats, to be exact.
There’s no better way to show your love for your pet than by feeding them with ingredients from your very own kitchen (but not table food).
We’ve got 10 puppy-perfected and cat-craved homemade treat recipes ready for you to try. Some might even have you tempted to taste them for yourself.
So preheat that oven, dig up those bone- and fish-shaped cookie cutters you ordered in the summer of 2020 when everyone was baking, and let’s make some treats!
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*The Food and Drug Administration is looking into a possible link between grain-free diets and the development of heart disease in dogs. While grain-free treats are likely OK, a totally grain-free diet may not be the best bet. If you’re currently feeding your dog a grain-free diet or considering it, be sure to talk about it with your veterinarian.
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First of all, making homemade treats is an expression of love — kinda like making brownies for your kids or whipping up your partner’s favorite meal.
Homemade treats also give you way more control over the ingredients. Many store-bought treats are made with the leftovers of the leftovers (like, stuff they won’t even put in hot dogs) and other fairly low quality filler ingredients.
Your dog or cat may not tolerate store-bought treats very well, or they may have allergies or another condition that requires a more specialized diet.
Plus, homemade treats will be less expensive than high quality store-bought treats made with similar ingredients. Cha-ching and meeee-ow!
Generally, vets recommend that your pets get no more than 10 percent of their daily calories from treats. This may require a little bit of napkin math and a call to your vet to ask how many calories your pet needs each day.
You can usually find the calorie content of your pet’s food on the bag or container. And you can easily calculate the nutrient content of your homemade dog treats using recipe builders on human food tracking apps like MyFitnessPal.
It’s important to stick to this guideline because the treats you give your pet may be a little more calorie-dense (have more calories in a smaller serving size) than their food. Feeding your pet too many calories could lead to obesity, which could put them at an increased risk of diabetes, heart problems, and joint problems.
In making homemade dog or cat treats, you may have a few that cause your pet to have a bad reaction, such as an allergic reaction or digestive issues. If this is the case, of course, stop feeding your pet the treat immediately and take them to the vet if they need medical care.
It may actually be easier to pinpoint the no-no ingredient in homemade treats than in store-bought treats, because homemade treats have fewer ingredients overall.
If your pet has a pet food that they tolerate well, comparing your treat ingredients to the ingredients on the food container can help you narrow down the new ingredients introduced in the treat that they may be having issues with. Of course, you should also be in contact with your pet’s vet for help and guidance.
Here’s a quick reminder list of things that dogs and cats should NEVER eat (in treats or otherwise):
It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that are high in fat or salt, because they can cause problems with your pet’s pancreas as well as other metabolic issues.
Hey, if you’re using human-safe ingredients, making them from scratch, and cooking them fully (or using ingredients that are safe to consume without cooking), then you do you, boo.
However, because our pups and kitties don’t really need any extra salt, sugar, or fat, their treats may not taste as yummy to you. You may also get some major side-eye from your pets for making moves on their munchies.
BTW, you should not eat store-bought pet treats or treats that are made from store-bought cat or dog food. While these products are technically made from ingredients that are safe for humans to eat, they’re typically made with leftover animal parts — like bones, skin, and cartilage — and they’re definitely not intended for human consumption.
Homemade pet treats are a great way to control the quality of the treats your pet gets, show them love with a yummy homemade goodie, and save money.
Be sure not to feed your pet too many treats (no matter how adorably they beg for them), and be careful to avoid ingredients such as chocolate, xylitol, onions, and grapes, which can be harmful to dogs and cats. And if you wanna give your homemade treats a taste, make sure they’re fully cooked.
Last medically reviewed on April 29, 2022
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