Natural Dog Treats Part 2 – Best Natural Dog Treats and Yummy Recipes!
In my previous post we discussed how murky the dog treat world is. It should come as no surprise as it is largely controlled by the same companies that brought your dry, cereal-based food for a carnivore. Whatever regulation is applied to the dry food sector (very little) is practically non-existent in the “complementary feed” sector. Treats only seem to be recalled when pets drop dead, as we saw recently with the spurious meat treats from China. And forget checking the label for some information, they’re usually as spurious as the ingredients inside. For more check out Natural Dog Treats Part 1 – Treats to Avoid.
The article ended with a list of products to avoid, including, but not limited to, all treats, pigs ears and raw hide chews from outside of Europe, dental sticks, cooked ham bones, pound shop treats, and anything coloured. Now that we know what to avoid, what about a few recipe’s and treat recommendations?!
Dehydrate or Bake?!
You need to take the water out of the treat so you can handle it and stop it going rotten. Easiest way is to bake it in the over. Best you do that on a low heat for longer rather than a high heat for shorter time, it better preserves the goodness inside. I haven’t got exact measurements for you as recipes and treat thickness vary.
However, if you want to go fancy, dehydrating is a far superior way of preparing a dog treat, compared to cooking. It retains all the nutritive power of the food when cooking destroys heat liable vitamins and enzymes, amongst a few other bits. In other words all the really good stuff, especially when adding fancy bits to the treat like kelp, turmeric paste, garlic etc. Hence the first few slots of my top 5 favourite treats below are dominated with dehydrated treats. Dehydration is a more laborious process, taking longer to remove the water gently from the treat. As a result they are more expensive when bought over the counter. However they produce the best quality treats.
You can pick up a dehydrator on Amazon for around £30/$40 bucks but always try your local shops first.
While you’re there you might as well pick up some bone shaped treat cutters while on there, don’t they look the part?! Folk love a bone shaped treat. Not sure the dog cares all that much though!
My Favourite Natural Dog Treat Recipe – Heart!
In my opinion, the best dog treats are made on plain meat, nothing else. It’s all they want. The rest is just window dressing.
In this respect my best natural dog treat recipe contains only one ingredient – heart. Chicken hearts (generally for smaller dogs, around the size of a malteser). Duck hearts (the size of a walnut, see image attached). Turkey hearts (twice the size of a duck heart). Beef heart if making treats for the bigger dog. Heart is THE meat for dog treats. Not a scrap of fat, pure high-quality meat, and as Europeans don’t really eat them you can get 1 kilo of the finest meat for only €2-€3/kg from your local butcher or any online butcher.
Spread them out on a tray and bake for 15 mins. They will shrink to half their size. Feel free to sprinkle with salt. I know, very bold, but we all need a little treat now and again and dogs LOVE salt, just like you.It increases the perceived value of the treat, aiding results. If not for training I wouldn’t bother. You can even sprinkle with a few of your favourite herbs pre-cooking too, making treats with an edge!
If training you can pop a cooked heart in one of those egg slicers. Now you have thin slivers of the finest quality meat!
I make lots at one time, bag them off in little ziplocks and freeze them down, keeping one on the go in the fridge.
My Next Favourite Natural Dog Treat Recipe – Liver Cake
Liver cake is an old staple of dog trainers the world over. Dogs love liver. Especially when cooked up. Liver cake is so simple, it’s just 50% raw liver 50% porridge. Pop it in the blender, spread on a tray and bake / dry! That’s it!
You can take it that bit further with some power additions. The first is a pinch of good quality salt. If your dog eats raw dog food, this is naturally a low-salt diet but good salt is great for you, full of harder to find electrolytes. And they love it (if your dog is dry fed maybe skip this bit as that product is already desperately high in kidney-rotting salt already). with a small amount of raw.
Another great addition is raw garlic (brilliant to boost the immunity and keep the bugs away, and yes it is safe for dogs in small doses), maybe a little seaweed for dogs or maybe turmeric golden paste (THE greatest natural anti-inflammatory on the planet, here’s how to make golden turmeric paste) to create something “Power Cake”.
You can make the liver cake idea on pretty much anything. Back when I was producing the world’s greatest raw dog food I simply mixed one of the meat mixes 50/50 with a load of spelt flour and a couple of eggs (and a bit of bicarb soda actually, not sure it had any effect mind you) to make what I thought resembled a very tasty salmon brownie!
A More Naughty Natural Dog Treat Recipe – Peanut Butter & Banana!
Next up is a slightly naughtier recipe, a real treat! This recipe is from dog nut Denise O’Moore. She combined
- 2 large ripe bananas
- half a cup of smooth peanut butter
- 225 grams sweet potato (boiled/ mashed / cooled)
- 2 med eggs, 1.5 cups of gluten free flour (she used Tapioca)
Mash and mix all then spread into lined baking tray. Cook at 160 degrees for 25 mins. Leave for 6-8 hours or overnight before cutting. Freeze anything you don’t need for later. Savage!
Don’t Forget Fancy Ice Cubes for dogs…
Dogs love ice cube treats. They’re great for teething pups (the chewing helps but the ice numbs the gums a bit like bonjela) or simply a dog needing a bit of morning entertainment out in the garden. You can freeze just water with a treat or two in there, maybe freeze some nice gravy, others do really big ones with a variety of meat treats, carrots even some favourite toys!).
Want to take it to another level? Check out this cake mould!
Silicone cake mould of a Shar Pei! If you have a spare 50 bucks, I can think of a worse ways to spend it…!