Homemade Salmon Dog Treat Recipe - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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Homemade Salmon Dog Treat Recipe

Kristin is a dog agility instructor and competitor with 20 years in the sport.

Salmon Crack bagged and ready for the freezer or training.

Salmon Crack bagged and ready for the freezer or training.

A Great Reward to Teach Impulse Control

When my sheltie Asher was young, he was obsessed with motion. Coming from a strong herding and performance line, Asher would get really ramped up when he saw motion of any kind. Other dogs running, people running, birds flying, cars zipping by—it would all cause him to lose focus and lunge at the end of his leash in a desire to chase the moving object.

I spent countless hours working to teach him impulse control against this behavior, but was met with little success until a reward that he loved more than watching motion came into our lives. When I first tried Salmon Crack dog treats with Asher, his focus problem found its solution.

This treat is called "Salmon Crack" because it's jokingly like "crack," the highly addictive and illegal drug, to dogs. They become enslaved to its fishy smell and flavor and just can't get enough. My dog started showing immediate improvement in his focus after I started using these treats. Over time, I have decreased usage of these, and now we only use it ringside at agility trials to get Asher happily focused on me before our agility runs. He always knows when Salmon Crack comes out that we are headed into the ring.

Go to 2:07 in the video to see Asher focusing for these salmon treats. He's right outside of the agility ring where a fast dog is finishing his run. You can see Asher sit calmly and walk nicely into the ring, something he couldn't do before the addition of these treats.

Salmon Crack's easy ingredients.

Salmon Crack's easy ingredients.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

Depends on dog's size/training session duration.

Ingredients

  • 1 14.75 oz can pink salmon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
Freshly baked Salmon Crack Dog Treats hot from the oven and cooling before bagging.

Freshly baked Salmon Crack Dog Treats hot from the oven and cooling before bagging.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Open a can of pink salmon. Don't drain. Put salmon and its juices into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Crack and add two eggs. Dispose of shells. Flake salmon and mix it with the eggs.
  3. Take the flour and mix it into the salmon/egg mixture. You don't have to be precise with the flour and may add more or less than recommended. You will want a consistency similar to the photo below.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with no-stick cooking spray and dump the dough mixture onto the sheet. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your hands as you press it flat.
  5. Press the dough out flat until it is about 1/4 inch thick. If you want it more moist, you can make it thicker. If you want it crunchier, you can make it thinner. You don't need to make perfect corners as this will later be broken into small treats. Just flatten it out into any old shape.
  6. Place the cookie sheet in the center of the oven. Let it cook for 25-35 minutes, depending on whether you prefer moister treats or crunchier treats.
  7. Remove from the oven. Use a spatula to lift off of the cookie sheet before cooling, otherwise it may stick to your cookie sheet. You can let it cool on a rack or in the cookie sheet.
  8. Once cooled, divide the Salmon Crack into desired portions, bag it, and then freeze it.

Rate Salmon Crack

Two eggs, salmon and juices.

Two eggs, salmon and juices.

Canned salmon and eggs flaked and mixed together.

Canned salmon and eggs flaked and mixed together.

The proper cookie dough consistency.

The proper cookie dough consistency.

Spreading the dough on a cookie sheet.

Spreading the dough on a cookie sheet.

Salmon Crack dough ready for the oven.

Salmon Crack dough ready for the oven.

After people began to see the change in Asher from wild child to something controllable, I began getting requests for my Salmon Crack recipe. In fact, I've been asked for this recipe far more than any other. I'm not sure if this bodes poorly on my abilities as a cook or favorably on my abilities as a dog trainer.

  • Salmon Crack is extremely easy to make, filled with healthy ingredients, and its vitamin packed. However it is not a substitute for regular meals. This is designed as a treat to be fed during training or as a special reward during the day. Dogs don't have to be performance dogs or in training to get a healthy, tasty treat, and this one fits the bill.
  • Since it contains fish, it does need to be refrigerated or frozen. According to the USDA, cooked fish when stored for human consumption should be kept in the fridge and consumed within three to four days. It can be kept frozen for three months before consumption. While still warm, I divide my Salmon Crack up into daily portions and place it into freezable storage bags. When I need them, they are there ready for instant focus. Asher doesn't mind if the treat is a little frozen upon use. Cold or warm, it's still delicious to him!
  • This recipe is very versatile. You can change it as you'd like. I know some like to add a little cooking oil to the recipe for a moister treat. I personally don't like adding fats to my dogs' diets, so I avoid this. You can also use gluten/wheat-free flours instead of white bread flour. In the ingredients, I don't list what type of flour to use as any flour should work.
  • In addition, if you like your Salmon Crack to be more moist without adding oil, cook for less time. Some dogs prefer a good crunch to their treats, so a longer cooking time will make for a crispier treat. As Asher prefers a moist treat, I spread the dough slightly thicker, and I don't overcook.
salmon-crack-dog-treats-great-treats-for-gaining-focus-during-dog-agility-training-or-competitions

Nutrition

Please note the below nutrition label is rated for humans, not dogs. Therefore, while the grams should be fairly accurate, the percentages will reflect percentages for a human's diet. This nutrition label was created through the use of an online recipe calculator.

It is hard to determine how many servings go into one batch of Salmon Crack. The nutrition label below is based on 20 servings, but if you use more or less in one sitting, the nutritional values will change. If you are feeding only a small bite each day as a treat, there will be far more daily servings than 20. If you are using it in training, you may easily use far fewer.

Also, although the below nutrition label shows zero sugar and fiber, it actually has 0.1 grams of sugar and 0.4 grams of fiber. The other calculations were also rounded for the label.

Variations

This basic recipe can be changed to fit your dog's tastes.

  • If you dog doesn't like salmon or you don't have salmon on hand, no problem. Tuna is a great substitute for the salmon. In fact, you can substitute any meat for the salmon as long as it can ground up and mixed easily with the flour. The simple concept of flour with the egg binder and added meat for flavor can be used to make any variety of different treats.
  • One word of caution: I don't recommend "seasoning" the treats. Your dog will get enough flavor just from the delicious salmon. Adding in salt only increases unhealthy sodium levels. Also, don't add garlic. Garlic is dangerous for dogs

I hope you give this fast, easy recipe a go. If you do and if you make variations on it, please let us know how your dog likes it in the comments below.

It's a proven winner!

Hey Mom, Is That Salmon Crack You Have There?

The author's three dogs waiting expectantly for the Salmon Crack during the photo shoot for this article.  You can see the intense focus as the dogs await their instructions.

The author's three dogs waiting expectantly for the Salmon Crack during the photo shoot for this article. You can see the intense focus as the dogs await their instructions.

Comments

Traci437 on June 14, 2019:

Are there any good dog recipe books that you can recommend?

S'Thrn BreeZ on April 02, 2018:

Excellent! Thank you for the recipe and the name is great.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 03, 2018:

Fantastic!! I'm glad your pups like them!

Reva on January 28, 2018:

So I made salmon treats for my dogs today and I only had a half a cup of flour in the house so I switched it out for a cup of oats and a cup of cornmeal and you're right about how the dogs will go crazy for these treats my dogs were sitting by me while I cut them up and when they were cool enough I asked them to sit. The one dog I have problems with would not sit for me until after the tenth time of saying sit but the second time I said sit she was on her butt ASAP lol. My other dog tried to steal the other dogs treat from me. I'm glad I found you thank you so much for this. Awesomeness

Reva on January 26, 2018:

Oh I have to try these. My dogs are getting older and the store treats seem to be getting old for them also, ha. I have just started to make treats for them a lot of trial and error good thing mine aren't fussy thanks

Kath on December 29, 2017:

If I dehydrate the salmon before making the treats, would they still need to be refrigerated?

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on December 11, 2017:

Very short. It's fish, so they would need to be refrigerated right after baking. I would think only a day or two days in the fridge before going to the freezer where they can last as long as fish normally lasts frozen.

They aren't like regular dog biscuits that can sit on the shelf for practically ever.

Bri on December 10, 2017:

Do you know how long the shelf life would be on these?

Alicia on November 06, 2017:

Thank you for the recipe! Made today for my pups and they love it! I used Brown Rice Flour and it worked great!

FarmMomVA on August 10, 2017:

Just ran a search for a recipe as the store bought are so expensive! This looks very similar to a recipe I use with liver for my 3 boys. I also use ground up dog food as the "flour" in these types of recipes as I like to cut the outside ingredients and the dogs love the treats no matter what. TFS.

cheryl eggleston on July 27, 2017:

My dog loves the store salmon treats but they are expensive, so I wanted to try to make them at home cheaper, I will have to see how many cookies this recipe makes compared to the bagged ones in the store , anyhow, I know he will love them ! thanks for posting this !

bdp on May 28, 2017:

Made this today for my Blue Healer Toby. He loved them. I can tell he loves them because he is the most polite dog I've ever seen. He never reaches for food or treats, waits patiently to be given it. He won't even walk out an open door before being verbally invited to do so. After one bite of this stuff, he was reaching for more, something he doesn't do for anything.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 15, 2017:

I am glad your dog loved them! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Jill Spencer from United States on January 14, 2017:

Made these for our dog today in donut pans, and he loves them. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. It was super easy to make.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 03, 2017:

Thank you, and you're welcome!

Rebecca @ tailsoflife on January 03, 2017:

Definitely trying these this weekend! I have a lab/spaniel pup who seems to be allergic to everything under the sun. He is fed a salmon based diet anyway, so I'm going to try these with a few substitutions to fit his needs! Thanks for the recipe & your dogs are adorable! :)

Kirstie M on December 30, 2016:

The big cans of salmon here have bones in them, is that ok?? I picked up 2 smaller cans for my first try because I could get them without bones.

I'm worried there could be an issue with the bone stuff.

ilovemydogs on December 03, 2016:

I have been making these for about 2 years now. My 90 lb stubborn dog responds to them so well in training. I soak a cup of dog dry food and a quarter cup water in the salmon oil for a half hour before putting this into the recipe. I cut pea size squares with the pizza cutter and split the salmon crack into four bags to freeze. On training days I just subtract a cup of dog food from the feeding that day. Some times I make this with just pumpkin or peanut butter. If you double the recipe you can split the dough and do half salmon and half pumpkin or peanut butter and roll into strips. Twist the two and bake.and cut into short serving after baking .Great for christmas presents. I am the most popular granddog mother ever! So thanks for the recipe!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on September 12, 2016:

As with all dog treats, you don't want to give too much. Treats can upset the tummy if the dog gets too many. I use very tiny bits when training - about the size of a half a dime to a dime. Your Sheltie should only be getting so many calories in a day, so if you feed treats, you need to feed a bit less dog food. It is very hard on a dog to get overweight, so I keep my dogs trim. Trim means you can feel the ribs when you GENTLY rub their sides. There should be a SMALL layer of fat over the ribs. For active, working, performance dogs, this layer of fat should be thin. For house dogs, the layer can be thicker, but you should still feel the ribs easily without much pressure when you rub the sides. By watching how many treats I give and adjusting each dogs' dinner accordingly, I can keep my canine athletes in tip-top shape.

Joanie on September 12, 2016:

Hi. I'm getting the ingredients to make some today. How much do you give your Shelties per day / training session / other time frame? My Sheltie is very alert to everything that happens outside of the dog park and I'm trying to get that out of him as much as possible. I hope he reacts to this like yours did.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on December 21, 2015:

Merry Christmas to your pups!!! I'm glad they like the treats. :)

Puna on December 21, 2015:

Just made these for the first time (stocking stuffers) and it really is crack! My four pups are following me around trying to convince me that they need to do more taste testing.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on July 16, 2015:

It is salmon, so yes. Absolutely refridgerate them. I wouldn't keep them in the fridge longer than 3 days without freezing. I keep them frozen until I need them. Good point!!

LauraM on July 15, 2015:

How long do these treats last, and do they need to be kept in the freezer or does fridge work short term?

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on March 11, 2015:

Great tips hbirdannas!! I hope everyone reads into the comments to get them!! Thanks.

hbirdannas on March 10, 2015:

This is a terrific recipe. It's healthy and easy. I, too, use parchment paper on the cookie sheet. In addition to easy ckeanup, it makes it easy to lift off the sheet and onto the counter for cutting. I use a pizza cutter for that, cutting into a grid of about 1/4 " pieces. Also, instead of using extra flour to prevent sticking the dough from to my hands, I bought some disposable plastic gloves at the dollar store and use those; another easy cleanup idea which I'm all for! Thank you for sharing this recipe; it IS a wonderful training treat. I give it only then so my dog "NOSE" it's time to get down to business!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on January 21, 2015:

I love hearing all the variation people have tried. thanks for posting how yours worked out!!

Carol G. on January 20, 2015:

I finally made these using spelt flour instead of wheat. Turned out pretty nicely!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on March 03, 2014:

Your first day of dog school!!! How exciting!!!! I do recommend taking a second or third treat with you to dog school too. I usually take a cooked hot dog and maybe a store bought treat along with the salmon crack. If my dog gets tired of salmon crack, then the hot dog may get his attention. Take a toy or two as well. I always go with lots of rewards for focus when my dogs are first starting training. Thanks for dropping by!!!

JLou on March 03, 2014:

Just made some Salmon Crack and waiting for it to cool. My pup and I are starting dog school tonight and she is waiting patiently to try her first taste!! She was very interested as soon as I opened to Salmon can!! Thanks for the recipe!!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 28, 2013:

It's in Oklahoma City this weekend over Labor Day. You'll have fun at Purina Farms!! I haven't ever been to the facility, but everyone says it's great fun. You're gonna be there with a lot of my friends. Enjoy!!!

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 28, 2013:

Where is the trial?? We are headed to Gray Summit, Mo next week for the Border Collie National Specialty. I'll drop by!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 28, 2013:

You're welcome to drop by the agility trial and claim some. Asher is willing to share. OK - maybe not so much, but I'm willing to share. :D

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 28, 2013:

Send me some!!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 28, 2013:

Thank you for dropping by Solaras!! I'm going to be making some Salmon Crack today or tomorrow for an agility trial upcoming this weekend. It really is awesome stuff. :)

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 28, 2013:

Thanks for posting; I have a can of salmon that has been taking up space for years! Sharing with my FB friends!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 26, 2013:

Thanks WonderpupsMom!! I appreciate you sharing your versions of this great treat. It's so versatile. Thanks so much for dropping by. :)

WonderpupsMom on August 26, 2013:

Hi!

We have made many variations on this using oat flour, rice flour, spelt flour and we have also used tuna and sardines in place of the salmon. My rescue agility pups both LOVE fish and they love these treats especially since they always seem to show up for agility practice! They are super easy to prepare and easy to portion into tiny soft treats for smaller dogs.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on August 22, 2013:

If you put oil in the recipe, I bet it would be more less crumbly and more easily rolled out for shapes. You can play with it and see how the dough changes with the addition of oil or more or less water, egg, etc.

As far as tiny pieces, if you don't bake it too long till it gets rock hard (which I've done a few times), it can easily be broken up with your fingers into tiny bites for the real little guys. I feed Salmon Crack in very tiny pieces to my friend's Chihuahua at trials all the time. It works great!!

I hope this works for your dog's allergies. :D Thanks for dropping by, and thanks for the non-stick tin foil tip!!!

magnoliasouth from Mobile, Alabama on August 22, 2013:

Ohhhhh. This sounds marvelous! I have a dog with allergies too and I think this is the treat we've been looking for. Is the dough thick enough to cut them into shapes, by chance? Or maybe even rolling it into a long - very thin - log (about 3/4" wide), then slicing them into teensy pieces, like a little bigger than a pea. Normally I buy Zuke's training treats, but I'd much rather give my girls something homemade if it'll work. I might have to experiment.

Oh and non-stick foil is also good at stopping them from sticking. :) Just save yourself some cash by only using it for baking, but not covering left-overs and such.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on July 14, 2013:

The parchment paper tip is excellent!!! My dogs start getting excited when they smell it cooking too. I'm glad your dogs love it!! Thanks for posting your results with it. :)

Keli on July 13, 2013:

I just made tonight for the 2nd time, my dogs LOVE this! They are freaking out waiting by the oven while they cook. I also use partchment paper since I hate cleaning cookie sheets. Thank you for the recipe!

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on July 13, 2013:

I think you can use any meat that is capable of being ground into the flour. Let us know how it works for you. :)

amanda on July 13, 2013:

Can I used cooked salmon steaks instead of tinned salmon please

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on April 16, 2013:

That's an excellent tip, runswdogs!!! Thanks for taking the time to comment and add that. I will need to give that a try as clean up of my cookie sheet is a bit of a drag.

runswdogs on April 16, 2013:

I make a very similar Salmon Treat recipe for my dogs- one thing I might add, I use parchment paper on the cookie sheet and it makes removal and cleanup a whole lot easier.

kcmetric on February 24, 2013:

Thanks for the alternatives, I'll give it a shot next weekend and post my findings =)

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 22, 2013:

Hmmm. In this recipe, the eggs are just used as a binder to keep the flour mixture together. I don't know how well these ideas would work, but here's something I found on a Google search:

"Eggs as a Binder

For recipes which use eggs primarily as a binder (such as drop cookies), possible substitutions for one egg include:

1/2 of a medium banana, mashed

1/4 cup of applesauce (or other pureed fruit)

3-1/2 tablespoons gelatin blend (mix 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, and then use 3-1/2 tablespoons of that mixture per egg)

1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water; let stand 1 minute before using

Commercial egg replacement products (see above)

Keep in mind that the addition of pureed fruit may impact both the taste and the density of the finished product. "

If you try one of the above, please come back and let us know how it worked so others who have dogs with egg allergies can know. Good luck!!!!

kcmetric on February 22, 2013:

Can I make it without eggs or with a substitute of some sort (what could it be)? My dog is allergic to eggs =(

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 17, 2013:

Thank you Stockholm!!!

StockholmWriter from Stockholm, Sweden on February 17, 2013:

I liked to read about how to make a treat for your dog. great photos.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 10, 2013:

I'm sure it can. I haven't used different flours myself, but I don't see why not. :) As long as the dough consistency ends up like a cookie dough-type, it should be good to go.

celticfire on February 10, 2013:

Can oat flour be used for wheat sensitive dogs?

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 10, 2013:

wetnosedog, my American Eskimo had food allergies too. She would get a terribly upset stomach from some proteins. I eventually tried Salmon, and she ate it for years. This treat sounds like it might be great for your allergic dog!! I hope you find the right food for her/him.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on February 10, 2013:

Oh, I will have to try this one day.

My dogs eat salmon dog food now(vet thought change of diet would help my allergy dog) and they love it.

Thanks for hubbing this.

Kristin Kaldahl (author) on February 09, 2013:

If you make some, let me know how your dog likes them. All of my dogs love them, but Asher is bonkers for them. :) I edited the title as your response alerted me that "recipe" isn't in there!!! Thanks!

Adrienne Farricelli on February 09, 2013:

That treat sounds awesome! I was about to ask where they sell it and then saw you actually make it! Voted up and useful, thanks for sharing!