Editor’s Note: Claire Lower is a contributor to Dogster’s sister SAY Media site, xojane.com. This article first ran on xoJane, but we’re rerunning it (with permission!) so you can enjoy it and comment on it.
It seems like pet treats are always being recalled, so I’m not very comfortable buying them. My mom, a veterinarian, started making cookies for her herd of King Charles Spaniels after the first chicken jerky scandal, and sometimes even her husband eats them.
I’m going to give you some recipes I tried out, with accompanying ratings from my dogs Kira and Angie. Solaris (the cat) cannot participate, as he can only eat his special food (otherwise crystals will grow in his penis). I was intrigued by this and this recipe for cat treats, so if anyone wants to make these and report back, that would be cool!
The first DIY treat is super easy and super good for them:
1. Raw carrot
There is not a lot I can say about raw carrots. My dogs go crazy for them. They are un-processed, crunchy (to clean their teeth), and full of nutrients. Just don’t give your dog a whole bag of carrots, or he will poop them all over your house.
Angie’s vote: 7 out of 10 cat poops
Kira’s vote: Palate cleansing. I would eat these in between chewing on that grasshopper I found and drinking out of the toilet.
2. The heart of a chicken
Or, you know, a whole bunch of chicken hearts. This one is also very easy. All you have to do is pan-fry those guys a little. They are also super cheap, and again, unprocessed. It should be noted that this is not at all for the squeamish; these look like hearts. It’s really obvious. My husband couldn’t even deal. I think they’re kind of cute. You could also feed these to your cat — just cut them into smaller pieces.
I noticed that a lot of people (on the Internet) give these to their dogs raw. I’m not super into this practice, because of Salmonella. Also, I don’t want to handle a bloody, raw chicken heart every time I want my dogs to do tricks. I’ve had people tell me that eating raw chicken makes their dog really happy, but you know what else makes them really happy? Eating garbage. So maybe they shouldn’t make all of their own choices.
Kira and Angie seemed super excited from the smell of these alone. I think these were their favorite, but it’s hard to verify, because they can’t talk.
Angie: I would literally eat these until I puked. Literally. I’m a dog. We do that.
Kira: A stunning main course. I would serve them with a side of anything because I’m a dog and I eat anything.
3. Frosty hearts (or cubes, or cups, or pi symbols)
Fun fact: Dogs cannot sweat. Since I live in Florida, I like to buy my dogs those super-expensive, made-for-dogs ice creams. You know, for the summer months (January through December).
The DIY-version of these are a little more time intensive, but much cheaper, and if you make them yourself, you ensure that you are not including any preservatives or whatever it is you don’t want to feed your furry babies. I used this recipe and added strawberries (good for teeth), because I had some strawberries that were about to turn.
NOTE: Please research which fruits are okay to feed dogs before adding them to the treats. Not all are.
These are easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. My food processor might be usurping the all-time-best-kitchen-appliance spot from my stand mixer. I dunno, hypothetically I can make sausage and pasta with the mixer, so we’ll see. I also used novelty ice cube trays to make these, because my dogs care about the shape of their food. A pancake pen helped neatly deposit the mixture.
Angie: I liked that these were cold, so I was forced to eat them a little more slowly than I would eat a normal treat.
Kira: I got brain freeze.
4. Carrot banana cookies
Like I told you before, these pups go crazy for carrots. I used a really fancy recipe, but I was less fancy about it. I didn’t have any whole wheat, because I hate it. I used regular flour. It’s probably fine.
The food processor is again really helpful for this one, because of all the shredded carrots and the bananas.
The author of this recipe used adorable bone-shaped cookie cutters she purchased off Etsy. I do not have myself that together. I tried to find my Erlenmeyer-shaped cookie cutters, but I failed. Instead, I just used a cookie-dough scoop and plopped the dough on a greased pan.
I think this resulted in a softer treat than rolling them would, and since Angie is lacking all of her teeth, she really appreciated it.
Angie: *endless chewing sounds*
Kira: I wish they were bone-shaped.
I don’t know if you guys enjoyed reading this, but the dogs really enjoyed me writing it. Angie was so grateful, she rubbed her eye boogers all over my bare leg. Kira showed her appreciation by helping with clean up.
What do you guys give your pets as treats? Would you cook chicken hearts for them, or am I just that gross?
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