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Homemade dog treats

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Sweets for your pooch

Humans aren’t the only ones who need a treat every now and then. Instead of buying the same old dry treats for your dog, bake up some fun and exciting treats that look so good, you’ll want to try them yourself.
Hungry pug
Homemade doggie treats

Sweets for
your pooch

Humans aren't the only ones who need a treat every now and then. Instead of buying the same old dry treats for your dog, bake up some fun and exciting treats that look so good, you'll want to try them yourself.

What to avoid

Dog tummies can be sensitive. Some ingredients can make dogs sick, so you should avoid them when making dog treats at home:

  1. Dairy products (not poisonous but can upset a dog's stomach)
  2. Chocolate (can make your dog very sick, so avoid at all costs)
  3. Sugar and artificial sweeteners (can lead to obesity and tooth decay)
  4. Salt (can cause high levels of sodium)
  5. Onions (can cause anemia)
  6. Potatoes (can be toxic) 
  7. Raisins and grapes (can be very poisonous)
  8. Nuts (can be extremely toxic)
  9. Liver (OK in small amounts, but in large amounts can cause toxic levels of vitamin A)

Allergy-inducing ingredients

Just like humans, dogs can have allergies to foods. If you suspect an allergy but can't identify its trigger, take your dog to the vet to figure it out.

Common allergens in dogs include:

  • Wheat
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Corn
  • Beef
Note: If your dog has an allergy to any of these, it may develop mild itchiness or diarrhea.

Size matters

Prepare treats that are appropriate for the size of your dog (i.e., smaller treats for smaller dogs). If you make larger treats, break them in pieces for small dogs.

peanut butterPlay favorites

Dogs have likes and dislikes just as we do, so let your dog sample a few ingredients you might use in your homemade dog treats to make sure they like them. Favorite foods of dogs include peanut butter, liver (in small amounts), salmon and pumpkin.

Fats, sugars & salts

To prevent your dog from gaining weight or having blood pressure problems, don't use too much sugar, salt or fat (such as oil and butter) when making treats. Remember that sugar and artificial sweeteners also can cause tooth decay. Dogs don't have taste buds like ours, anyway, so they don't need salt or sugar to enjoy their food.

Up next: Dog-friendly recipes >>

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