Making low-calorie treats for your dog and eschewing high-fat commercial ones is a sound choice that benefits her waistline, well-being and longevity. Whether trying to attain or maintain your pup’s ideal weight, nutritious homemade treats fed in moderation can be a small, but healthful component of the overall diet. Quick and simple to make, homemade, low-cal crunchy biscuits and mouth-watering jerky are perfect for training rewards, special occasions and celebrating the bond you have with your best friend.
Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit
Low-calorie treats are just as tasty as higher calorie ones but healthier. Vegetables, herbs and fruit not only enhance the flavor of treats, but also deliver vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in every bite. They also contribute roughage, which aids in digestion.
Raw finely grated carrots and zucchini and cooked sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peas and corn add texture and taste to cookies.
Herbs add intense flavor to treats and are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Dogs love parsley, alfalfa sprouts, rosemary, watercress and sage -- use dried herbs or double the amount of fresh ones.
Finely diced dried apples, apricots, cherries, bananas or berries are sweet additions to cookie dough. Homemade unsweetened applesauce and pureed canned pumpkin are also staples for the homemade dog treat pantry.
Lean Poultry, Meat and Fish
High in protein and low in fat, boneless and skinless turkey and chicken breasts, lean beef chuck or tuna make tantalizing jerky or grind in a food processor and add to biscuit dough. Select fresh, organic meats or wild-caught fish for your dog’s treats. Canned albacore tuna in water is a good substitute for fresh.
Sesame Chicken & Herbs Jerky
Heat the oven to 300 F. Place the following ingredients in a bowl:
- 1 cup of cooked boneless and skinless chicken breast pieces
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- Oil from one 100 IU vitamin E capsule
Dredge the poultry in the molasses until all pieces are well-covered. Transfer to an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of dried mixed herbs and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until slightly crunchy. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Feed portions appropriate for your dog's size considering her overall daily caloric intake. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Turkey & Sweet Potato Biscuits - Ingredients
Heat the oven to 350 F. Combine the following ingredients in a bowl or food processor:
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup raw, lean ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cooked, mashed sweet potato
- 1 egg
- Oil from one 100 IU vitamin E capsule
- ¾ cup distilled water
Turkey & Sweet Potato Biscuits - Preparation
Mix the ingredients until a dough forms. Add a dash of water or a dab of mashed sweet potato if the mixture is too dry, or a pinch or two of oat flour if it’s too moist. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place them close together on an aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Insert a butter knife into one cookie; if it comes out clean and dry, they’re done. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Feed portions appropriate for your dog's size considering her overall daily caloric intake. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M, PhD. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
- The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook; Jessica Disbrow Talley and Eric Talley
- Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog; Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, D.V.M.
- Photo Credit smcarter/iStock/Getty Images
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