Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 29, 2015

Homemade Dog Treats - Easy Recipe Ideas

Because Szuka is such a large pup (weighing in at 95 pounds these days), people always ask us about our food bills.  Everyone assumes we're going broke buying dog food and treats for such a sizable pup.  The thing is, she's pretty low energy so she doesn't eat as much as we expected.  Her cute, mod bowl always has kibble in it and she'll graze throughout the day, but she never eats more than four or five cups a day - often only three.  She's a really picky eater and isn't very food motivated.  Even when I finally find a snack or treat she favors, she will still turn it down if she's not in the mood/distracted/angry with me/guarding the house/too tired/lazy. 

Cheese is her only weakness.  She also really likes freeze dried liver (we buy Pure Bites), but only if we dole it out sparingly.  Too much, too often, and it looses its appeal.

That girl has willpower to spare!  I, on the other hand, recently swerved the truck and hit a gravel shoulder so hard I created a dust cloud that engulfed us, and five cars behind us, in pursuit of roadside pie.

Easy DIY Dog Treats - Use Leftovers from your Fridge

Because she is so picky, I often bake Szuka dog treats and these homemade treats gets ranked pretty high up there - just below cheese.  I call them "kitchen sink cookies" because I don't use a recipe.  They end up being somewhat budget-friendly too, because I usually use leftovers from our own cooking/baking.

Excellent DIY Dog Biscuit Ingredients:
  • Shredded carrots
  • Unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • Bits of bacon
  • Bacon grease (secret ingredient she salivates for)
  • Chicken broth
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Unsweetened peanut butter (she finds peanut butter very agreeable)
  • Shredded cheese (her weakness!)
  • Oats
  • Dried Blueberries
  • Mushed banana
  • Apple pieces

For ideas, I look at the ingredients on the wholesome doggy biscuits I've bought her (ones she didn't turn her nose up at).  Of course, I don't add any ingredients that are harmful or poisonous.  I'll pick a few ingredients from the list above, then add an egg or two, some flour (whole wheat, preferably), a little chicken broth or bacon grease, and mix until the dough is firm enough to roll out onto a floured cutting board.  I use a cute, dog-approved set of cookie cutters and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned (usually about 10-15 minutes).  Easy! 

I like experimenting with different ingredients.  The batch pictured has pumpkin puree, oats, peanut butter, flour, eggs, and a bit of water.

Bake Easy DIY Dog Treats - Budget Friendly and Wholesome

She must recognize her cookie cutters because when I'm baking for her she seems to know it, and she'll watch the oven the whole time.  Because she's so blasé about her food, it makes me happy to bake her something she actually likes!  We don't feed her table scraps, so maybe it's the thrill of getting to eat something made in the human's kitchen that makes these cookies such a win for her.
Two Year Old Komondor Dog, Szuka

If you've got a picky pup, I encourage you to try your own "kitchen sink cookies".  It won't take long before you land on a magic ingredient that appeals to your own pup.  But if you're not a fan of winging it, I found a some great-looking recipes to help get you started: 

Easy to Make Dog Treat Recipe + Ingredient Suggestions

If you've got a recipe of your own (or a secret ingredient), I'd love to hear it!



  1. These look great! Totally wholesome ingredients, too. My dog will eat anything and everything so I don't have much of a problem with treats. If anything my problem is that we run out too fast! Love the idea of just working with what ingredients you have at home. What a nice way to spend a couple hours :)

    1. I used to have a Jack Russell who had that kind of appetite. It was so weird discovering szuka is a picky eater. Didn't know there were dogs like that! Wholesome dog treats can be so expensive, so if you're going through a lot, baking them might save you a few bucks!

  2. I'm terrible with following directions, so this is my kind of recipe! I usually just buy a large box at Sam's club since my dog will eat ANYTHING, but I'll have to try making our own instead.

    1. Haha, I hear ya! I don't think I've ever followed a recipe to the letter. If I don't make substitutions, then I play fast and loose with measurements!

  3. Hey Tanya, I would be a bit careful with the bananas, as they can be bad for their teeth!

    1. That is good to know, thanks! I try to give her everything in moderation (wish I could follow the same rule myself - ha!) but I will be sure to skip bananas next time.

  4. Have you tried raw feeding your dog, Tanya? The great thing about it is that you can bulk it up with a lot of the good stuff so you get a good healthy mix, and plenty bang for your bucks! I feed my boys once a day, and like yourself bake my own bickies for them, as well as mix and freeze tasty concoctions in their kongs. Lucky boys mine! ;-) Happy to pass on my mix to you. Just shout out. (heather at micanip dot com)

    1. Hi Heather,
      I have thought about switching to raw because our friends switched their dog and he seems happier and healthier (shinier coat, etc). But I'm so nervous that once we switch, she'll never go back! We travel quite a bit with her and I just can't imagine her eating raw on the road. But I feel incredibly guilty every time I eat meat and she stares at me like, "hey, that's what I'm supposed to eat..."


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