We all love to spoil our pets, and for many of them, treats are a part of this every day love. Sure, you can get pet treats pretty much anywhere, but what could be better than a treat made with lots of love, right at home? Did you know that there are also a lot of health benefits of homemade pet treats? What's more, these treats make great gifts for folks on a budget who have pet loving friends. You just whip up a batch of personalized pet treats, put them in a nice mason jar, and there you go -- unique and cost-effective holiday gifts!
One important health related benefit to homemade treats is that they can be sized specifically for your pet. You can certainly purchase treats of different sizes commercially, but it isn't great if your pet's favorite treat is way too big for her. From 2 pound Chihuahuas to 200 pound Mastiffs, homemade treats can be exactly the right size.
Another benefit is that you choose the ingredients. If you have a pet with a food sensitivity, you can be sure that the treats you give him will be safe for his stomach and skin. Anyone with pets who suffer from food allergies knows that finding treats and foods for your pet can be frustrating.
Here's a little peek into the science behind homemade pet treats, too! First of all, your pet's treats are not a balanced diet. All the treats your pet consumes in a day should account for no more than 20% of his or her caloric intake. Eighty percent of the calories need to come from an AAFCO balanced diet (the AAFCO statement is in small print on the back of all commercial foods that are balanced). What's not on the bag or can is the calorie content. You're going to have to do some math here, as well as some internet research. If you email me photos of your pet's food, as well as the recipe you use for your pet's treats (or photos of your pet's commercial treats), I will do the math for you and let you know how much you can give. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org! Other than controlling calories, don't forget that there are some delicious ingredients our pets can't enjoy. Here are some ingredients that you'll want to avoid:
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
- Onions or Onion Powder
- Garlic or Garlic Powder
- Macadamia Nuts
Now, onto the recipes! Though I am not the creator of the recipes, I did review and approve them for pet safety. Follow these links to some safe and fun pet treats. Feel free to use cookie cutters and create fun, personalized shapes that also make terrific gifts. Here are the recipes below:
- Martha Stewart (the last recipe called Martha’s Dog Food is not a balanced dog food, but also a treat)
I hope you and your furry friends will enjoy this adventure. Don't forget to stop by Joy the Baker’s page for a photographic journey of what it means to let your pet help to bake!
About the Author:
Casey Hill, DVM, cVMA
Dr. Casey Hill, the Doorstep Vet, graduated from veterinary school in 2010 at Virginia Tech. Upon graduation she moved to Austin with her husband, Christian, and two cats. Since that time she has been working to keep the pets of Austin happy and healthy. She has worked as a traditional cat, dog, and exotics practitioner but now concentrates on her housecall work with Doorstep Vet. Dr. Hill’s acupuncture training was completed in 2016 in Fort Collins, Colorado and she is excited to offer this valuable modality to her housecall patients. You can also follow her on Facebook!