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Dog Treat Recipes

As a clicker trainer , I use a LOT of treats. Below are a number of treat recipes that I have saved -- these are not my recipes, but come from a variety of different people who have shared them over the years. There are many recipes for liver treats, plus a number of non-liver treats . Included are some recipes for special dietary needs. I also have some ideas for turning hot dogs into treats, and last but not least are some Kong stuffing ideas. At the bottom are links to other recipe websites. Enjoy!

Note to those outside the US: all temperatures given are Fahrenheit. To convert roughly to Celsius (Centigrade), just divide in half. For example, 350 degrees Fahrenheit would equal 175 degrees Celsius. For more conversion information, click on any of the following:

Chef's Calculator
Measurement Conversion Calculator
Interactive Units Calculator
Raw Feeding Calculator (scroll down to Measure Equivalents for Cups/Fl Oz/Tbsp/Tsp/Ml table)

Note about raisins: Raisins (and grapes) can be dangerous to dogs, resulting in kidney failure. I have removed raisins from all recipes below. Although a few raisins should not harm your dog, they should not be given regularly or in large amounts. See Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs for more information.


Liver Recipes

Hint: To easily crumble treats into small pieces for training, use a pizza cutter shortly after removing from the oven.

Liver Bread

Here is a recipe that's quick, easy, cheap, keeps well, etc. and dogs LOVE it.

· 1 lb of any kind of liver, pureed
· 1 cup of any kind of flour
· 1 cup of corn meal
· 2 Tbsp of Garlic powder (amount optional; see Note about garlic below)
· 1 Tbsp of oil

Puree the liver and mix in the other ingredients.  Spread on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan (I line a pan with foil and oil it).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool and break in pieces. I divide into bags and freeze. It thaws very quickly or the dogs will eat it still frozen.  They care not.

Liver Bits

This works well if you want a dry treat that won't leave any residue. It's a bit like the liver bread recipe but less bready in texture. After it's cooked in the microwave and cut up into bite-size bits, the trick to drying it out is the last step.

· 1 lb. chicken liver
· 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
· 3 tablespoons molasses or honey
· ¼ cup parsley

Place all ingredients in the bowl of food processor. Process until smooth. Pour into a microwaveable container, approximately 8" square or round. Microwave on high until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This takes 7 minutes in my microwave, but your mileage may vary. When cooked, turn out of pan immediately, allow the bottom to dry since it will be damp from condensation, and cut into squares while still warm.

Spread bits on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 200° for 1.5 hours.

Freeze or refrigerate.

Liver Brownies (and Variations)

1 lb liver, any kind
1 cup corn meal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp fresh minced garlic OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder (see Note about garlic below)
1 tsp fennel or anise seed
1/2 tsp salt

Pat liver dry with paper towel. Cut into small chunks and grind in blender or food processor. In large bowl, mix liver with corn meal and flour. This will be very stiff and all the flour may not blend in, so add gradually add garlic and salt. Spread mixture on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes; cut into squares. May be refrigerated or frozen.

Being an inveterate recipe-fiddler, I tried experimenting with the recipe and making additions. Here are some of my findings.

I made the first batch with chicken livers and hearts using cumin seed instead of fennel or anise (which I didn't have). That was such a success that I made another batch with beef heart instead. Dynamite! For this batch I also added half a bunch of broad-leafed parsley to the heart when blending it with the garlic. (I never imagined dogs would like garlic so.)

In addition to the cornmeal, I force-kneaded in far more flour than either recipe originally calls for so that the dough no longer stuck to the working surface. I patted this out into a one-inch slab that I dredged in some more flour and then baked on a non-stick cookie sheet for about an hour in a 350 degree oven. After allowing the slab to cool for ten minutes or so, I cut it up into one-inch cubes.

The result was a crunchy crust with a chewy interior. I always have to restrain myself from trying one myself. When I showed them to our vet (who had come to administer Urger's shots) he DID eat one. He said it was delicious. Our also cats think these things are GREAT but our dogs won't let them anywhere near them.

Other good things that you can add are:

A whole egg or two
Fresh yogurt
Grated raw carrots or apples
Crushed walnuts
Coriander, caraway, etc

The quantities are not too crucial. If the dough gets too gloppy, just force knead in some more flour until it isn't any more. Depending on what you add and how much, the baking time will vary but the temperature should be the same (350 degrees). When the slab is done you will know by its (rather delicious) smell, by its ability to spring out of the pan on its own, and by a clean hollow sound that it gives when you tap it.

These things make great training treats by the way. When I was teaching Urger to heel, I always kept a few in my pocket. He NEVER left my side... ;-)

If you make a very large batch and the weather is warmish, it's probably a good idea to freeze the cubes. They won't last in the fridge for much more than a week because they'll start to go moldy.

Thanks to Bob, Kanyak and Urger in Turkey, visit them at http://www.geocities.com/kanyak.geo

Anise Flavored Liver Treats

My recipe has been known to turn grown dogs into pups again! The secret is to boil it first - apologize to your neighbours in advance - in a fair bit of water (2 litres or 4 pints or more for two whole livers) with two teaspoons of aniseed powder. It makes all the difference. I don't know the exact temp for the oven, because I use a food dryer, but about like you would use for keeping food or plates warm (very low). Leave it in until it is able to be snapped apart like a cookie.

But do try the aniseed powder - they go mad for it. All our obedience class ignore their commercial liver and crowd round me for the aniseed variety!

Home-Made Rollover

Rollover, Oinker Roll, and Natural balance all work well, are about as cost effective as making your own, and are a heck of a lot less trouble, but a good recipe is:

Grind up 1 lb. organ meat, any flavor, in blender or food processor.  Add raw garlic & spices to your heart's content (see Note about garlic below).  Put in one pkg. Jiffy corn muffin mix.  Pour into baking pan to a depth of ¼-½ inch.  Bake at 375 until just the very middle is still red, then turn off the oven and let the center cook. Slice and baggie up.

Home-Made Freeze-Dried Liver

You can boil real liver on the stove or nuke it, wash it off and dry it, then toss it all in a frost-free freezer, and in a month or so, you'll have home-made freeze-dried liver, practically free.  I toss a new batch in once a month or so and always have a new "crop" ready.  I use the liver sparingly in training and usually at shows and important events for that added oomph.

Liver Treats

I use beef liver, cut into half inch slices.  Add slices to boiling water and after full boil begins again, boil for 5 minutes. At this time I have also added either garlic or soup stock (usually chicken) to the water so it is "flavored" (see Note about garlic below).  After the first 5 minutes of boiling I remove the strips and put them on paper towels and let them air dry for about 10 minutes.  Then I place them on a cookie sheet with sides..put them into the oven for about an hour at 200 degrees .  Depending on your oven (I have a convected oven that passes warmed air over the food) you leave them in there until they become dry and semi hard.  Meantime I have added more liver to the boiling water for the second batch.  I keep doing this (adding water as needed) until I have made enough treats to last a month or more. Keep on rotating to paper towels, then oven.  When the strips are semi soft, then rub them between two paper towels to remove any seasonings attached from the water.  Now slice them up to the bits size you want.  Put back into the oven until they are dry and stiff to touch.  After they have cooled, I put enough in an aluminum foil or plastic baggie for a ''session''.  I then put all the sealed (with twist tie or just crinkled up foil) bags into a regular brown box, toss them into the freezer and they are ready and waiting. I have also found out that when they are first taken out, it is a good idea to ''whack'' the baggie on the counter so the pieces separate and then let them dry out on the counter on top of a napkin or paper towel.  This way they stay dry and are not messy.  In a rush...(is there ever enough thought time to do everything just when it needs doing?), I have nuked the pieces after spreading out on a paper towel just before a show.  It makes them a little more rubbery and softer but not so messy that they can't be in a pocket or bait bag.

Pocketable Treats

I have two suggestions for pocketable treats. My dogs love BOTH and they are simple and inexpensive.

1) I cut a hot dog into about 50 slices (thin) and then cut each slice into quarters. Spread the little pieces on a paper towel and microwave for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp. These seem to keep for well over a week in the refrigerator, but mine don't last that long with 3 dogs in the house!

2) I buy thin sliced calves liver (the thinner, the better!) at the market for about $1 per pound. Boil it in a large skillet for about 5 minutes, or until there is no more blood coming from it. Then, take the liver out of the water and spread the cooked pieces on a flat baking sheet. Bake this in the oven at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours. This produces a liver jerky type treat. The longer you bake it, the tougher it becomes, so if you want to pocket it, I'd bake until it is good and dried out. Added bonus - I take the boiled water and add it to the dogs food that evening!

I put treats in my mouth rather than my pocket, so these treats work well for me. It keeps my dogs looking at my face, and treats are always handy. I'm sure you'll get other good suggestions for pocket treats.

Beardie Brownies

Another easy recipe that is almost fail proof is what is called Beardie Brownies.  First you take 1 pound of liver (any type) and either have the butcher grind it up or if you have a grinder yourself (chicken is the best if all you have is a blender since beef have stringy tendons)  Then add one box of cornbread mix (we use Jiffy down here but any brand will do)  I usually add lots of garlic powder (see Note about garlic below) and a bit of oil (you can add spinach, an egg what ever) then you pour into a pan (at least 9 x 12 or bigger) first spray with cooking spray and then bake for 15 minutes at 350.  I actually had to bring in copies for the seminar participants (G) Saturday night I baked 5 batches!

Liver Treats

  1. Puree (really liquidize!) 1lb raw liver, 1 egg, and 1 tsp - 1 tbsp garlic (see Note about garlic below).
  2. Pour into bowl and add your choice of flour. I can't say how much flour as it depends on what flour you are using (white, wheat, corn, rice...) and which type (chicken or beef or lamb) liver you are using and how much blood came with it (dump the whole container in the mixer).  The easiest way to learn the best consistency is to make Bisquick drop biscuits!  It is quick, easy and gives you exact measurements to get the right consistency.  Right after making your biscuits is a good time to make the dog treats as the memory of the feel is still in your hands.  It isn't really that vital though.  When first learning to make them I varied from pouring like a cake mix to having to mould into shape.  Turns out Ok from both extremes!
  3. Spread in approx 9" X 13" jelly roll pan or cake pan it will be about ¼ " deep. Comes out much better if you grease the pan first!  I use the cooking sprays as it is quicker and not so messy.
  4. Bake 360 deg. 1 hr.
  5. When you cut into it color should have changed showing brown instead of red/pink. I found it comes out better if you remove from pan immediately instead of cooling first.  Also easier to cut into strips with the spatula. For ease of holding cut down center of length then into 2 - 4 ½ " strips, then down the length into ¼ - ¾ " depending on your preference.
Store in freezer taking out enough to last that day or 3-4 days in fridge. Can go strait from freezer to microwave.  I usually take a 2" diameter roll of strips and microwave 30 seconds at level 5.

The original recipe came from Joyce Stranger in England. She sets it down in a couple of books. One we have over here in the USA is "Thursday's Child" a very good dog book.  All her books are fantastic.  I have never been disappointed in a book of hers and learn something from each one.

Oven-Dried Liver

I buy ox liver because its the cheapest and also easier to handle. I cut it into strips roughly half inch x quarter inch and as long as you like, then place on a wire mesh tray (I use the wire from the bottom of the toaster), then place in the oven on slow cook or as the lowest possible setting and let it cook/dry out for five or six hour or untill it appears dry. I leave it out overnight or for a couple of days to dry further, then place in a container. It does not need to be refrigerated -- I put some in my walking coat pocket and keep it there for weeks. The dogs love it -- it's crunchy and they keep coming back for more.

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Non-Liver Recipes

Amy and the Scotties have come up with a couple of  unique recipes that are drawing raves from the dogs that have tried them:

Tuna Training Treats

· 2 6-oz. cans tuna in water, do not drain
· 2 eggs
· 1 to 1 ½ c. flour (rice flour is best, but any kind will do)
· 1 Tbsp. garlic powder (see Note about garlic below)
· parmesan cheese

Mash tuna and water in a bowl with a fork to get clumps out, then liquefy in blender or food processor. Add extra drops of water if needed to liquefy completely. Pour into bowl and add flour and garlic powder; consistency should be like cake mix. Spread into greased or sprayed pan; I find that a round pizza pan or square cake pan is perfect. Sprinkle with LOTS of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; edges will pull away and texture will be like putty. Use a pizza cutter and slice into teeny squares. These freeze beautifully, and the dogs love them...and, no liver to mess with!

Go Bananas Training Treats

· 3 cups oatmeal
· 1 1/4 cups flour
· 2 eggs
· 1/4 cup oil
· 1/2 cup honey
· 1/2 cup milk
· 2 mashed bananas

Blend liquid ingredients, eggs and mashed bananas, making sure to mix well. Add flour and oatmeal. Mixture will be similar to cake mix. Spread into a well-greased pizza pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cut into tiny squares or strips using a pizza cutter. Keep refrigerated; store unused in freezer. The Scotties give these two paws up!!!

Turkey Treats

· 1 lb. ground turkey (pure turkey, NOT turkey sausage)
· 1 cup oatmeal
· 1 egg
· parmesan (I used 1/2 cup)
· garlic powder (see Note about garlic below)

Mix all ingredients together using hands and pat into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool *thoroughly*, then cut into thick strips (these do not hold together when slicing into small squares); freeze unused portions and keep the portions you're using refrigerated. Has the consistency of meatloaf.

Salmon Cookies

In memory of Cosette

· 15oz can of Salmon or Jack Mackerel
· some flour
· 2 teasp of salt
· 1 teasp of baking powder
· Optional: add sprinkle of garlic powder if desired (see Note about garlic below)

Mix together fish, plus ALL liquid from can, salt & baking powder, add enough flour for texture
Spread out on cookie sheet
Score into sections (easier to break apart when done)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 mins. or crust is golden

Store in container in frig or freezer for longer periods of time

Cafe Corduroy Recipe

· 1 pound of meat, veggies, tofu, fish-whatever is on sale-peanut butter, liver, etc- I use the organic or free range, growth hormone free kinds of meat, farm raised fish.  I just have a thing for nutrition and not harming any animal but of course that's just me.
· 6-8 cups of organic rolled oats, dry
· 1-3 cups of water-depends on the amount of rolled oats you use
· 3 eggs
· 2 tablespoons of garlic (see Note about garlic below)
· 1 pound of pureed mixed veggies- optional

I precook the meat, seems to holds it flavour and smell better and working with raw liver is nasty, then puree it in the food processor.  Mix the main ingredients, eggs, garlic and rolled oats together until they are well mixed- I use my hands, it's just MUCH easier- and then add the water. You want a goopy mess, let it sit for about 30 minutes until it's a harder mess. Then roll it out on the cookie sheets until it's about a half inch thick. Cut it in to whatever shapes you want it to be and spread some of the left over dry oats on top to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin. I cut them into tiny squares for training treats, triangles and squares for biscuit treats.  Bake them for 30 minutes at 350 and then allow them to air dry-out of reach of furry faces- overnight.

I've made them with tuna, mackerel, salmon, anchovies and anything else that I can think of along with the normal ingredients listed above.

One word of caution is that if your dog passes gas, it is Extremely odiferous, enough to wake you out of a deep sleep if you use fish. I'd start slowly introducing it, mixing it in with other treats just like you would with a regular food change.

You can also use Rye flour or Brown Rice flour instead of the rolled oats for harder treats.  If you use Brown Rice flour you need to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or you'll get a crumbly mess.  I don't use corn or wheat since they are the main canine allergens but if they don't bother your dog, then they are cheaper alternatives.

Mutt Muffins

· 1 small jar of baby applesauce/or equivalent in *regular* applesauce
· 2 carrots
· 2 Tbsp honey
· 2 ¾ cup water
· ¼ tsp vanilla
· 1 egg

Shred the carrots with hand shredder or food processor.  In a bowl, mix all wet ingredients together and add the applesauce.  Mix thoroughly.

· 4 cups whole wheat flour
· 1 Tbsp baking powder
· 1 Tbsp nutmeg/pumpkin pie spice*

Combine dry ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure none of the dry mixture is left.  Grease a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  (Paper liners stick to the muffins so just use a greased muffin tin) Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cup ¾ full.  Bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour.  Makes about 2 dozen Mutt Muffins.  Enjoy!

* Note: Nutmeg can cause problems for dogs in large quantities, and is probably best avoided. Dogs don't need these added spices.

Garlic Chicken

Laura and Diesel share their very favourite garlic/parmesan chicken recipe: Boil the chicken in water, heavily seasoned with garlic (see Note about garlic below). When boiled, cut the chicken into tiny bits, spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle a lot of parmesan cheese on top. Put the bits in the oven (low heat, around 110 degrees Celsius/Centigrade, 225 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake them until they become hard.

Peanut Butter Treats

· 2 tablespoons corn oil
· ½ cup peanut butter
· 1 cup water
· 1 cup whole wheat flour
· 2 cups white flour

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine oil, peanut butter and water. Add Flour 1 cup at a time, then knead into firm dough. Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with small bone shaped cookie cutter. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Makes 2½ dozen.

Turkey Sausages

Ingredients:
· ground turkey meat (any amount)
· low sodium breadcrumbs
· parmesan cheese
· parsley flakes

In a large mixing bowl, add 1 teaspoon (per lb of meat) of parsley and 1 tablespoon (per lb of meat) of parmesan cheese to the meat.  Stir in breadcrumbs until the mixture is somewhat dry. You should be able to form small balls and roll sausage shaped treats between your hands without having the mixture stick to your hands (too moist) or crumble apart (too dry).  Place on jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 until the sausages are lightly browned on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.  Remove to absorbent paper towels and blot the sausages to remove excess grease.  Store cooled sausages in ziploc bags in the freezer. For training treats, cut sausages into raisin sized pieces.

Wendy's Oyster Crackers Recipe

These are non-messy, pretty much low-fat, low salt and best of all, fast and easy for the dog to munch. They are as follows:

1 full bag of oyster crackers (reg. store size)
½ stick of butter or margarine
approx. ¼ cup of favorite cheese or liver powder

Empty crackers into large bowl, sprinkle in all the powder, mix up slightly
Pour melted butter over whole thing and gently mix to coat crackers evenly
Spread crackers on cookie sheets and pop into oven for 3 to 6 minutes at 325 degrees. Be careful, the cheesy stuff wants to burn fast.

These will keep indefinitely, my girls love them. Won't stand up much to being crushed in a front pocket though, but a shirt pocket is good.Now brand vitamins also offers liver powder, see http://www.juicers.net/2450.html.

Garlic Treats

Pound a boneless chicken breast (or turkey breast, or a piece of round steak) to a uniform thickness of about ¼".  Sprinkle *liberally* with garlic powder on both sides (see Note about garlic below).  Microwave on a paper plate, covered with wax paper, for 2-3 minutes per side.  Cut into tiny pieces when cool.  Keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator, or can be frozen.

Home-Made Jerky using a Dehydrator

For treats, I use raw meat jerky. I splurged and bought a big dehydrator (Excalibur) from http://www.lucyskitchenshop.com/ and I'm just so happy with it! I spread the hamburger (the packages I buy have long strands of meat) on the tray(s), or slice lean meat or liver, and put it on the lowest heat until it's completely dry and easy to handle without my paws getting at all yucky. Max loves these treats and will do anything for them :-).

For really finicky woofies who aren't interested in plain meat jerky (Max still thinks it's to die for <g>) one could first marinate the meat with tiny bits of garlic (and then remove so it won't be too yucky for our paws), or even use garlic powder to make a treat really high value, which might help when there are distractions or one wants to work on the recall :-) (see Note about garlic below).

The only key is to use lean meat when dehydrating, and keep it on the lowest temperature so that it's as close to raw as possible, and keep it in the dehydrator until it's completely dry so it's non yucky and will keep. Max has been in heaven since I started making jerky :-).

Generic Meat Treats

I don't have any "recipes" per se, but I have discovered that I save a lot of money on treats by visiting the "expires-today" meat bin at the supermarket (we call this "used meat" at our house :-)).  Yesterday I bought 1 lb of "used" beef hearts for $0.50; this yielded an entire freezer bag full of training treats and the dogs went wild over it.

I confess to being very lazy when it comes to cooking for my dogs; just about everything goes in the microwave to be nuked until rubbery or crunchy, depending on the substance being cooked.  My generic formula for Dog Manna follows. Note that you may have to adjust cooking times for your microwave, type and thickness of meat, and your dog's taste -- but this isn't rocket science; your dog will love the results no matter what you do!

1. Place slices/slabs of meat on a paper plate, sprinkle with garlic powder (optional, see Note about garlic below), cover with a sheet of wax paper, microwave on full power for 1 minute.  Turn slices over and microwave for 1 minute on the other side.

2. Slice meat into strips, then cut into small dice.  Spread diced bits out on a paper plate, cover with wax paper, and nuke for another 2 minutes.  They will look overdone for your taste, but you want them dry enough to carry in your pocket, and the dogs seem to like them just fine this way.  Allow to cool completely before transferring to a storage container.

That's it!  Store results in refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer indefinitely.  We grab a handful out of the freezer on our way to class, and they're completely thawed by the time we get there (our dogs are also happy to eat them frozen).

Beef Heart Treats

Simmer a beef heart in boiling water seasoned with a little garlic powder for about 2 ½ hours (see Note about garlic below). Remove. Slice into thin slices and freeze in bags containing the amount you want for individual use. When you need them, remove from freezer and defrost by holding under your arm if necessary.

It smells like roast beef, and I am told it also tastes like roast beef (for those of you who hold your treats in your mouth!).

Dog Cookies

· 3 cups whole wheat flour
· 2 small cans dog food or cat food
· 1 egg
· 1 ½ to 2 cups liquid (I make sure it isn't to dry or to wet so you may have to make your own judgment as to how much liquid to use. I also use left over gravy or broth as the liquid).

PreHeat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together all ingredients and drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet. Bake for  12-14 minutes. These can be stored in refrigerated and also frozen.

After these are cooled down I cut them into small pieces with kitchen shears then put them in freezer bags and store in the refrigerator.

Garlic & Herb Treats

So, Sunday, I took the stuffing that was in the chicken my hubby picked up for class treats, rolled it into quarter-inch balls, brushed them with the garlic&herb butter, then baked 'em in the toaster oven. Talk about a behavior monkey.  Nicholas was jumping around doing whatever he THOUGHT I was going to ask for next.  And these treats are much, much less greasy.

My suspicion is that he would respond like that to ANYTHING brushed with this stuff, but what I used was a cornbread stuffing that had chicken bits in it.  Here's my hubby's recipe for the garlic & herb butter:

· 1 stick butter (we use organic unsalted)
· 1-2 cloves crushed garlic (to taste) (see Note about garlic below)
· ½ tsp.  basil
· 1/8 -¼ tsp. each oregano & parsley

just put ingredients in a bowl and microwave them until the butter is melted. Stir and spread on whatever you want to use as a "super" treat.

Shirley Chong's Recipe for Nuked Tortellini

In the spirit of older recipes (that start out "first, catch one hare..."), my recipe starts out: first, find the cooler in the grocery store where they sell the tortellini... <G> Chris Babiarz is the person who clued me into nuking them to make them crispy. I lightly butter a glass pie plate (to keep them from sticking). I spread out one layer of tortellini. Put them in the microwave for 4 minutes (microwaves vary) until they are hot all the way through and definitely crispy. Be careful opening the microwave door, they create quite a billow of steam in there! They turn out much smaller than their original size and, once they've cooled they keep for weeks--if not forever.

Liverwurst Treats

Freeze it for a little while, 'til it's firm enough to slice into slices and then cut the slices into cubes. Put it in the microwave and nuke for awhile. Microwaves vary, so keep an eye on them. They'll get all dark and rubbery and greasy when they're done. It's easier to carry them that way and my dogs are crazy about it.

Bologna Recipe

... my husband brought home 2 packages of cheap chicken bologna (buy one get one free) and he suggested that I try nuking them like I do the hotdogs...  So I cut them into strips and nuked them til they were like cork.

I won't brag too much but everyone I gave some to at our Shirley Florida Seminar their dogs love them and I have the honor of being worshiped by all three of Shirleys dogs. (I made a doggie/people basket for Shirley that was waiting for her when she checked in).

Sunflower Cookies

makes 4-5 dozen

· 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
· 2/3 cup Yellow Cornmeal
· ½ cup Shelled Sunflower Seeds (can substitute pumpkin seeds)
· 2 Tbsp Corn Oil
· ½ cup beef or chicken broth
· 2 eggs mixed with ¼ cup lowfat milk

Glaze
Beat 1 egg.  Lightly brush on cookie before baking

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients and seeds together. Add oil, broth, and egg mixture.  Your dough should be firm. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes and brush with glaze. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Cool. Store cookies in airtight container.

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Treats for Dogs with Special Dietary Needs

Substitutes for Wheat Flour

If your dog is allergic to wheat or has a gluten intolerance, try substituting amaranth flour, rice flour, millet flour, quinoa flour, chick pea flour, almond flour, corn flour/starch/meal, oat flour, tapioca starch/flour, sorghum flour, potato starch/flour, or even instant potatoes.  Buckwheat and tapioca are gluten free, but these flours may also contain wheat flour, so check the ingredients before using. Rye, oat and barley flour are not gluten free but can be used for some dogs.

Here's a recipe for Wheat Free Salmon Treats.There are also some recipes for (human) gluten-free cookies that may give you some ideas (remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs, you can use carob instead).

See Barkwheats for gluten-free dog biscuits.

See the following for more info on how to use flour substitites:
Using Alternative Flours
How to Substitute for Wheat Flour
The Cook's Thesaurus (see the links at the bottom for more information on gluten-free cooking and baking)

Note that Gelatin can be used to hold things together without the use of grains or carbohydrates, and it's good for the joints. Xantham gum, guar gum,  pre-gel starch or gelatin can help bind ingredients together when using gluten-free flours.

For a Dog with Food Allergies

I've found that a liberal sprinkling of garlic powder has even made rice the "flavor of  the month" (see Note about garlic below)! One of my students has to feed her 3 lbs Yorkie nothing but a special bladder diet that looks like gray paste. We make teeny tiny balls of it, sprinkle on the garlic and bake them in a toaster oven. To die for!

Low Fat/Low Protein/Low Phosphorus Dog Cookies

If you want a snack that will be safe, here is the recipe for cookies with almost no fat or protein. Super easy to make. Depending on how large you cut them ( I use a heart shaped cutter that is approximately 1.5 " and get two cookie sheets full of them), you can get enough from one batch for 2-3 weeks. Be sure to freeze those you will not use within a week. These are perfect for pancreatitis, for renal or liver problems since there is little fat or protein in them. See recipe for how to make no-fat homemade chicken broth below*.

Note that dogs with renal (kidney) disease should be fed a low phosphorus diet. If they do not have liver or pancreas problems, fat is good, including butter. Egg whites are also good to use, as they contain almost no phosphorus. There is no need to limit phophorus for dogs with liver disease or chronic pancreatitis, so any kind of flour can be used for them, but it is important to limit fat for those dogs.

· 2-½ cups rice flour or white all-purpose bleached flour (these two are lowest in phosphorus, which is best for kidney disease)
· ½ tsp. garlic powder, or fresh ground (see Note about garlic below)
· 6 Tbsp low sodium, low fat chicken broth*
· ½ cup cold water
· 1 cup cooked vegetables ground up (winter squashes, zucchini, and sweet potatoes are low in phosphorus, which is best for kidney disease)

Combine flour and garlic; mix in chicken broth and vegetable(s); add enough cold water to form a ball; pat dough to ½" and cut into desired shapes; place on non-stick cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Freeze what is not eaten within a week.

*Non Fat Chicken Broth

You can use a pressure cooker and complete this in 2 hours, or a stock pot and finish in 24 hours.

Remove skin from whole chicken OR chicken pieces ( in the pressure cooker I use 3 leg quarters from which I remove the skin before cooking ). Place the chicken in the pot with distilled water. For the pressure cooker, cook on high for 2 hours and in the stock pot, simmer on low heat for 16-24 hours.

Remove the chicken and bone from the broth and discard ( all the nutrients are in the stock)

Pour the broth into a fat separator ( looks like a pitcher with the spout coming from the bottom ) After 10 minutes the fat will float to the top. Pour off the small amount of fat at the top and pour the low fat broth to a container. Be sure to watch what you are doing because near the bottom you will come to more fat and will need to stop pouring into the pot and discard that part, too.

Refrigerate the broth and when it is cold, any fat remaining will be gelatin on the top. You can remove part of it or you can pour the whole thing through a super fine mesh strainer, which will stop the fat and allow the plain broth through. You will find that after the broth has been used and you run your hand inside the container, it will not be greasy.

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Hot Dog Treats

Here's some ideas for using hot dogs to make dog treats:

I nuke hot dog coins for treats for adult/large dogs. They do turn into little shrivelled rubbery or crispy or burnt bits (depending on how long they were in the microwave) but the dogs love them, even burnt. The other thing I do to hot dogs takes longer but is much safer for puppies or toysized dogs. I cut the hot dog into quarters the long way, so I have four "spears." Then I cut each spear into at least 50 pieces (200 pieces per hot dog). I put the pieces into a metal strainer and boil them for 5-10 minutes--this gets rid of a lot of the salt (which can make low bodyweight dogs puke) and the fat (which can be too many undesirable calories). When they're done boiling, they still have a lot of hot dog aroma and they are firm and rubbery in consistency. I keep these in the fridge rather than nuking them, because they are easier for tiny dogs to eat while still rubbery.

Hot dogs have a lot of salt in them.  I slice them in half and soak overnite in cold water, microwave about thirty seconds wrapped in a paper towel.  Gets out much of the salt and makes them easier to manage.
I slice mine twice lengthwise (quartering them) then slice crosswise about 40 times.  For extra nice treats I nuke until crispy.  I also make tasty kibble and cheerio's by mixing a sliced and diced hotdog in a sealable bag with em overnight.  I think hotdogs slice a bit easier if warmed first.
I use ordinary sausages, split them down the middle & put a little crushed garlic in them and then grill them very, very slowly until they're nice and crisp (see Note about garlic below). The dogs seem to love the taste & smell of the garlic & of course garlic is good for them.
People keep talking about nuking hot dogs in the microwave. With the fat removed, they are still full of undesirable stuff. I like to get some cheap cuts of meat (not too fat, usually beef-works out cheaper than hot dogs). They go into the microwave for a few minutes. Then I cut them into very small pieces (it is easier to cut cooked meat). Then the pieces go back into the microwave, covered with the paper towel. I nuke them (stirring occasionally) for a few minutes, until they are dry, but not rock solid. Nice to handle, fat free, but also easy to eat for the dog. No salt, no preservaitives, no colouring etc. I freeze portions of it and take it out as needed. My dogs love it. I do the same with liver.
The secret is to use ***Chicken Dogs**** Very important!!! The nuking dries them out and they appear freeze-dried. They shrivel up and get almost crumbly, not burnt/greasy like the other kinds of hot dogs. They are easy to have in a pocket, though they will turn to crumbs and dust if crushed too much. I think they are the ideal training treat, though I vary the "menu" with cheese bits and "deli ends" cut up small.
I cut a nice fat chicken dog into three strips lengthwise, turn it and cut that in half, so I have 6 strips. Then I do them crosswise into 20 slices, so thats 120/hotdog. I microwave them at two dogs (cut up, spread out) for 6 minutes on high. Even training 4 dogs we manage to make a package of 8 dogs last a while!

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Kong Stuffing Ideas

Stuffed Kongs (available at Amazon) are great for keeping a dog occupied while in a crate or when you're gone. They give your dog an acceptable outlet for their desire to use their mouths that might otherwise become destructiveness. I give my dogs a stuffed kong when I leave for work, and they practically push me out the door -- no separation anxiety here! Some people feed their dogs their entire meals in kongs -- if they can't hunt for their food, at least they can work for it.

Note that it's fine to put a kong into the freezer, but not in the microwave, which will melt the rubber within seconds (according to the company that makes them).

Below are some great recipes for how to stuff a kong. Also see the following sites for additional tips:

I bought three Kongs the other day and finally used them night before last.  The dogs didn't get their run that day (icky, nasty weather and they had made a new hole in the fence) and I needed some peace and quiet.  I put a big piece of biscuit in first to cover the small hole and a little bit of peanut butter to make it stick.  Then I mixed up a grab bag of treats: dog kibble, cat kibble, cat treats, people jerky, and maybe something else. Then I alternated treats with just enough peanut butter to make it stick.  I had three mighty happy campers, even Chelsea who is so hard to please, and even after they had already eaten dinner.

I didn't try tossing it about.  The dogs weren't interested in playing. They were only interested in lying there with the Kong in a death grip, licking away.

Peanut butter is the mortar, not the stuffing.  I gather up an assortment of treats of various sizes (depending on hard or easy I want to make it) - pieces of dog biscuit, rice cake pieces, small cubes of cheese, etc. - dip it all in peanut butter, and then stuff it all into the Kong. The size of pieces depends on how long you want the entertainment to last!

Substitutes for Peanut Butter:

Kong Stuff'n Paste and Kong Stuff'n Snaps (available from Amazon). Warning: my dog did not like the Stuff'n Tots (and she likes everything), and I talked to someone else who said the same about their dog.

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How about canned cheese or squeeze cheeze? Or what about cream cheese--if you put it on a saucer and give it about 30 seconds in the microwave, it gets nice and squishy and then when it cools, it hardens again, which is REALLY good for dogs that think they're experts at unloading peanut butter Kongs. [Warning: never microwave the kong itself, as that will melt the rubber.] Chopped liver makes a nice addition to the cream cheese if you want a little variety--or just put a couple blobs of chopped liver in randomly, as a variable reward.
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Try squeeze cheese, cream cheese, liverwurst, etc. - anything your dog likes and that is mortar-like.
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Try Rollover, Redbarn, Oinkeroll, or make a paste of cat pounce and stuff that in there. Cheese works, or if you want  a better stuffing toy, get a Goodie Ship or ball....they hold smaller treats in 3 different places, and I have also heard that the Buster cube works well.
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Since peanut butter isn't an everyday item in this country (Finland), I had to try something else. I have been using normal canned dogfood. My dogs normally eat kibble, so they think that canned dog food is a real treat. They probably eat this faster than they would sticky peanut butter. It takes 15 minutes for Rusty to empty a Kong, and about half an hour for Mimmi.

Try freezing it!  It has to thaw to be eaten... that slows the whole process.  I use the canned dog food and stick in a piece of rawhide or any other chew which will fit.... then I freeze the whole thing.

I use the sterilized bones (I pick the thick walled ones) and stuff them too. Really anything safe, with a hole will do....

You can also freeze fresh ground beef or chicken into a Kong. I call this a doggie ice-cream cone. It provides hours of intrigue for a dog, and is also good for those with sensitive digestion.

I have never found peanut butter to make a mess. I find the dogs I care for lick up every speck of the stuff. (It is less runny to begin with if you keep it refrigerated.) I do run the empty Kong through the dishwasher occasionally.

The best suggestion I ever got was from another clicker list.  Someone suggested putting some kibble in the Kong, then some cheese, then nuke the entire Kong (I put it in a coffee mug to keep it upright).  I then stick it in the freezer TO COOL. The cheese acts as a glue and keeps the dogs busier a lot longer than with peanut butter.

One caveat: I nuked for 1 and a half minutes and the cheese got a little burnt. I would say 45 seconds is probably plenty.

A totally different way to stuff a Kong requires only one biscuit and a small smear of peanut butter. Find a biscuit that has ends that are just wide enough so that to insert it into the Kong, you have to squish the hole in the bottom down with your hand. You want the biscuit to be otherwise on the smallish/thinnish side. Take a little PB (or gooey stuff of choice) and smear a bit on the end of the biscuit and just inside the hole of the Kong. Hand to your dog. Watch dog spend two hours with Kong.

The secret to this method is that the biscuit is too small for the dog to crush by squeezing the Kong, it's just barely too large to fall out if the dog shakes or throws the Kong and it's hard enough to not be crushed by sudden falls (insulated by the Kong, of course). The PB just helps maintain the dog's interest by giving them a little bit of easy success and then providing olfactory temptation.

No matter how I stuff a Kong full, it only takes my guys 15-20 minutes to unstuff them. Chamois doesn't even take that long--she has always known The Holy Law of the Jaw ("never let go") and so her jaw muscles are pretty developed for a girl her size. She just stands there and mashes the Kong with her teeth and everything falls out the end. But with a single biscuit literally rattling around inside, she has to lick, throw it around, chew on it, go through her whole considerable repertoire of removal tricks to get it out.

I have been using a kong for a few weeks now and I think the idea is  to keep them busy for a substantial amout of time with it. 15 minutes and 1/2 hour sounds pretty good as others have stated the same.

My method is to stuff the kong with an assortment of treats, both chewy and hard, and the very last thing I put in there is a small milk bone with just one end broken off. This is usually a tough one as I do stuff the kong.  I turn the milk bone sideways so it actually blocks the opening and causes the dogs to "throw" that kong around quite a bit to free up the contents. Then the rest just comes out as a great big treat for a job well done. All 3 of my dogs engage in this till the treats are released. Sometimes an hour or more time goes by. Very rarely under 1/2 hour.

I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with Hill's T/D dog food.  It's a dry diet formulated to control dental tartar.  Anyway, it comes in rather large cubes (meant to MAKE the dog chew it) which wedge rather firmly into the Kong opening.  One T/D biscuit in a Kong will keep my dog busy for HOURS!!

I have started filling Wendy's Kong with a mixture of small pieces of kibble (different from her *meal* kibble) and lowfat yogurt. Then I put the Kong in the freezer, and voila, Frozen Yogurt Crunch !! Wendy says....yuuummmm!!

Here's another recipe using non-fat plain yogurt mixed with kibble or other treats. To load the Kong, first seal the small hole in the tip with a dab of peanut butter. Once sealed, stand several Kongs up in a bowl or casserole dish with the sealed tip down and fill with them with the yogurt mix.  Freeze overnight to solidify. My German Shepherd Dogs go crazy for these things and because they are frozen it takes a while for them to finish one. Not as salty or fatty as cheese or peanut butter.

I have been putting applesauce in a Kong (only ingredients are apples & water)--at each end--not filling the whole thing, then freezing it. Doesn't seem to be messy (yet!).

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Note about Garlic

A number of the recipes above contain garlic, and many people have seen warnings not to feed garlic to dogs. It is true that large quantities of garlic cause anemia in dogs, but small amounts should not be harmful. Most dogs like the smell of garlic, which makes treats more attractive, and fresh, crushed garlic may even provide some health benefits, but it is fine to leave garlic out of these recipes if you prefer. Onions are more toxic than garlic and should be avoided. Note that cats are more sensitive to the effects of garlic and onions than dogs are. See my post at http://onibasu.com/archives/kn/132884.html for details. The study is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11108195. See Plants for Pets by Shawn Messonnier, DVM, for more information (he recommends one small clove of garlic per 10 to 25 pounds of body weight daily). You can also read more about garlic from the same source in his Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats and The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer for Dogs.

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Links to Other Treat Recipe Sites

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You can contact me if you have any comments, but I regret to say that I can no longer respond to questions about individual dogs. See my Contact page for more information. My name is Mary Straus and you can email me at either or

   


Rocky is a Yorkie-Poodle mix who had suffered from digestive problems his whole life. Click on his image to read about the diet his owner finally found to help him.
Pashoshe Fisher, a Chihuahua, was a wonderful, joyful companion to his owner for 19 & a half years. He was on a high quality raw diet for over half his life.
This is Ella, my Norwich Terrier.