My dog loves these homemade, all-natural dog treats, and I know they're free of preservatives and artificial flavors and colors.
A Little Time and Fresh Ingredients Make for Good Dog Treats
Yes, it's easy to pick up that box of dog treats at the store, but have you read for yourself what is put in them? If you need a degree in chemistry to figure out what you're giving your pet and hazmat sheets to handle any of the ingredients, you may want to reconsider feeding them to your pet.
Making your own dog treats at home is not difficult or expensive. You'll be spending no more money for them than the preservative-laden and artificially flavored and colored commercial versions.
In this article, I'll show you how to make your own dog treats at home made from all-natural ingredients.
Baking Dog Treats With Simple Ingredients Found in Any Kitchen
These beefy, crunchy treats contain five basic ingredients:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of water
A batch will make two full baking sheets worth of dog treats. Though how many treats you will get from a batch depends entirely on the size of the cutter you choose to use.
I use bone-shaped cutters in three different sizes. You can certainly cut these in small squares or rectangles with just a knife. Feel free to use any cookie cutter you'd like to make fun shapes. Your dog will love them no matter what they look like.
These treats will keep for two to three weeks. And if you'd like to bake two or three batches all at once, you can freeze them (once they're thoroughly cooled) to make them last even longer.
Step 1: Mix Ground Beef and Eggs in a Food Processor
- You'll start with a pound of ground beef/hamburger. When you find ground beef on sale, make a note to buy some extra for treat-making.
- To give the dough a more even consistency with beef throughout, I suggest blending your ground beef with two large eggs in a food processor or blender. A full-sized food processor makes it easy to do all at once.
- Process until the beef and eggs are a smooth, paste-like consistency, stopping often to scrape the sides down into the bowl.
Step 2: Add Oats and Flour
Once you're done processing your beef, combine 1 cup of rolled oats and 3 cups of whole wheat or all-purpose flour into a mixer bowl and add your beef mixture.
Step 3: Mix Ingredients Together Into a Dough
Mix until well combined. You can use your dough hook if you'd like.
This will be a very heavy and thick dough, and although you can mix it by hand, a mixer makes it a lot easier!
Step 4: Add Water
Add 1 cup of water and mix well. Your dough will be quite sticky at this point.
Step 5: Knead Dough Until Smooth
- Remove your dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Knead the dough, incorporating just enough flour as you go along to make it smooth and not quite so sticky—about 2 minutes and perhaps a shy 1/4 cup of flour usually works well.
- Knead by pushing down and away with the heel of your hand, folding over and turning your dough, then repeating.
Step 6: Roll Your Dough Out
- Once your dough is smooth, form it into a ball and cut it in half.
- Roll one half of the dough out to 1/4–1/2 inch thick layer on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin.
- Use your cutters to cut your shapes.
- Because the beef is fibrous, they will not cut as cleanly as a typical "cookie" dough. To make them tidy, just push any bits extending out of your cutter in before placing them onto your lightly greased baking sheet.
- Re-roll the scraps until you've used up all the dough.
Step 7: Bake for 1 Hour
- You can place your treats fairly close together on the sheet. They will shrink in size a bit as they bake and dry out in the oven.
- Bake at 325°F for one hour, then place on cooling racks until completely cool.
Note: These store best in a non-airtight container—a traditional cookie jar works best. But you can also store them in a jar with the lid not screwed down tight, or even a paper bag. They will keep for two to three weeks, although they never last that long around here because our pup loves them so much!
You can also freeze them once cool. Simply place back on a baking sheet, freeze, then store in a freezer bag.
Dog Treat Cutters
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
R on June 01, 2018:
A little hard to read information and isn’t very clear but makes a good end product
Fiona from South Africa on July 09, 2013:
Oh dear, my Pinterest to do list just keeps getting longer - this looks simple and wholesome for my little monsters - I'll have to try this.
Kathy (author) from Minnestoa on April 08, 2013:
They take a little time, but they are not difficult and your dog will surely appreciate your efforts!
Donna Seldomridge from Delaware on April 08, 2013:
I always wondered how home made dog treats were done. Now I know. Thanks for the Hub.