Everyone loves getting something freshly-baked or broiled from the kitchen… but is that always healthier? Are homemade treats good for dogs? What are 3 reasons why and why not?
Yes, homemade treats are good for dogs, as you can control their content completely to keep out chemicals and they’ll be quite a bit yummier than boring ol’ commercial treats. You can also freeze them, but if you don’t have a lot of time or a little extra cash then homemade treats might not be the best option.
In this article, we’ll go over the top 3 reasons for and against homemade dog treats, so that you’ll have the info that you need to make an informed decision that works best for you and your dog. Let’s start with the pluses and we’ll go from there!
Table of Contents
- Reasons homemade dog treats are good for your dogs
- No chemicals, just delicious treats
- You control the nutritional content
- Easy storage means you always have treats
- Reasons why homemade dog treats aren’t good for dogs
- Not always as cost-effective
- You have to balance nutrition and taste
- Shelf life is less than commercial treats
- In conclusion: Homemade treats are definitely good, but there are caveats
Reasons homemade dog treats are good for your dogs
It’s pretty much a given – everyone likes a little home cooking and your dog is certainly no exception to the rule. So, let’s take a look at some of the most ‘prominent pros’ of making your dog treats on your very own.
No chemicals, just delicious treats
When you are making the treats, then you are in control and know exactly what is going inside them, so that the finished product is made of healthy ingredients and lots of love! There are some definite perks to this approach when you consider what commercial treats often include in their ingredients.
Commercial dog food and treats often contain a lot of fillers, such as soy, wheat, and corn, but the more troubling ingredients are the synthetic ones, some of which have been linked to the formation of cancer cells.
BHA and BHT, for instance, are short for Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Hydroxytoluene, and these are used as preservatives in a number of commercial treats, even though they are carcinogenic (and with BHT, linked to liver and kidney damage in rats!).
You control the nutritional content
Knowing the ingredients also means that you can control the nutritional content of the treats. This means that you can use lean meats, small doses of vegetables, and basically that you can ensure that your dog is getting a healthy dose of vitamins with each and every treat!
It takes a little homework, of course, but it’s well worth it in the long run, and the different meat and veggie combos make nutrition quite delicious and never boring for your doggy. It’s a win-win situation!
Easy storage means you always have treats
Homemade dog treats can be made in large batches and preserved in a few different ways. The freezer, for instance, can make most treats last up to 8 months, so you can put those treats in baggies and mark the date on them to use as-needed.
Aside from freezing, you can also invest in a vacuum sealer and if you seal and freeze, those same treats could last up to 2 years in the freezer! Dehydration is another option, too, which you can do with slow cooking in your oven or even n better, with an actual dehydrator.
This will let you make things like dog jerky and it also adds extra crispness to your doggy’s biscuits, giving them a formidable crunch that’s just as good (if not better) than those commercial treats that you were using before.
Reasons why homemade dog treats aren’t good for dogs
Now that we’ve extolled the virtues of homemade dog treats, it’s time to take a fair approach by giving you the flipside of the homemade dog-treat coin. Let’s look at 3 reasons why homemade treats might NOT be a good option.
Not always as cost-effective
While you can make homemade dog treats, since you aren’t a big dog-treat company, it’s going to cost you a little more to make them then it will to simply buy them.
You can minimize this a little by taking your dog’s favorite treat recipes and buying ingredients in bulk when you can, but there is still a little difference in cost. While we want the best for our furry friends, homemade treats might not always be budget friendly, so this is certainly an important thing to consider.
You have to balance nutrition and taste
Just like any chef, you’ve got to make sure that what you are making in the kitchen is going to be well-received. This means that you are likely going to have to experiment and find the right balance between ‘yummy’ and ‘healthy’.
As we know from our own experience, some of the yummiest stuff is pretty bad for us, and we don’t always want to eat the healthy alternatives. Your dog is no different on this account.
While some dogs may be less picky, there’s a chance that your dog might turn their nose up at something you were simply sure that they would love. So, you have to consider the caveat that you might have to try a few different recipes to find a ‘sure winner’ of a treat.
Shelf life is less than commercial treats
Homemade dog biscuits will typically last around a week without any special ingredients to make them last longer. You can get 2 weeks storing them in the fridge and even longer in the refrigerator, but without this they definitely have a shorter shelf life than commercial treats.
Ingredients such as vitamin C or Rosemary can make a difference here, or you could use vacuum sealing or freezing, but if the gear is a little out of this month’s budget and there’s no space in the fridge then you’ll have to make treats in small batches as-needed.
This can be time consuming because the treats can quickly go bad if you aren’t careful.
In conclusion: Homemade treats are definitely good, but there are caveats
Provided that you’ve got the time and a little extra cash in your budget for it, homemade dog treats really are a stellar idea. You control the content, so your dog will be eating healthy treats, and you can freeze them to get a great shelf-life.
If you are looking to avoid chemicals, then this also an excellent way to do so.
If it’s not in the budget right now or you simply don’t have the time, then do a little research on your commercial treats for now. You should be able to find some healthier options (dogs do love certain veggies, by the way!), and that will help you to find a nice compromise until homemade treats are an option!