Greening the family pet: making homemade dog treats
Since we've added a dog to our family, I've found one more area that we can look for ways to save in our monthly budget, while not sacrificing health. Since we feed him California Natural, we're already spending a little bit more than some other kibble brands, but his glossy coat and happy tummy are signs that it's money well spent. We adopted him at the age of eight from a friend, so I didn't want to mess with his food after all this time. If it ain't broke, right?
His only treats right now are his dental bone and glucosamine/chondroiton chews, which he gets everyday. For the occasional indulgence, I’ve been looking at getting him giant kongs to fill with peanut butter, because they look like they'd be fun. However, a friend said that she just gave her dog the leftover peanut butter container, so that all you have to do is rinse it out and put it in the recycling bin. Genius! (Make sure to supervise your dog to make sure they don't chew into and/or eat the plastic.)
In addition to occasionally giving him some chicken breast and rice or other protein sources that were not fatty or rich, my friend said that she would occasionally bake a batch of peanut butter “cookies” for him instead of a commercial treat. Since I noticed that commercially packaged, eco-friendly dog treats carry a higher price tag - and I love to bake - I was excited to have a new project that would also save money.
Dog biscuit recipes
For a straight peanut butter biscuit, the ingredient list is simple and the hands-on time is small. You can also add another dimension of flavor like these Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Biscuits. If you don't want to be hemmed in to peanut butter-based treats, Bullwrinkle.com has a long list of dog treat recipes as does All Natural Dog Treat.
It's important to remember that if you're not already using an all-natural or organic peanut butter for all your daily uses, you should get some for these treats so that there isn't too much extra salt, sugar or preservatives. That’s really the main reason you're making them in the first place, right?
I made a batch of the Peanut Butter Dog treat and next time I'll try the Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Biscuits. As with all sweets or treats, moderation is the key. Check with your veterinarian if you're unsure how much your dog should be having, or if they should have these at all.