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Homemade grain-free dog treats?

Has anyone successfully made dog treats that your dogs will actually eat?

My dogs LOVE Trader Joe's treats, but they have always been on a high-protein, grain-free diet and I just hate giving them these treats. I would much prefer to bake my own grain-free treats...I'm just not sure which ingredients I should be using to hold everything together. Should I be using a high-protein flour like chickpea?

I did make the dog biscuits from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook and they were a hit, but they contained cornmeal and flour. I haven't attempted to make any other recipe.

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  1. Someone on the dehydrator thread mentioned dehydrating slices of beef liver for their dog's treats. I've been thinking about it for my cats who have also always been grain free.

    1. You can sub in rolled oats, garbanzo bean flour or even rice flour as a binder in most recipes.

      My lab (who eats anything) and my pom (who doesn't) both love the ones I make with rolled oats, mashed bananas, peanut butter and parsley.

      6 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        Do you have a recipe? Is it vegan? Neither my dog nor I follow a vegan diet, but I occasionally take him to a vegan community center where they do not allow anyone to bring in animal products. Would love to make dog treats to take along.

        1. re: almond tree

          Here you go. It is not vegan because of the egg but I bet you could use a vegan sub instead.

          Measurements are based on the size of the banana so adjust as necessary

          1 ripe banana, roughly mashed
          3-4 heaping TBS peanut butter (creamy works best)
          3-4 TBS chopped fresh parsley (dried is fine too)
          1 egg (use large or extra large if the banana is really big)
          1-2 cups flour of your choice-rice flours works
          1/4-1/2 cup rolled oats if gluten free oats are ok, otherwise leave out.

          Mix the bananas, PB, parsley and egg together. Add the dry ingredients and mix well to make a thick dough. Start slow and then add more if its too wet.

          The dough is REALLY sticky so I use a cookie scoop and make rounds that I then press flat onto the cookie sheet. The original recipe had you roll the dough between floured wax paper, even so it can be really messy. I did this once so I could cut the dough into cute bone shapes. Made a great gift but a PIA.

          Bake treats in 300 degree oven until golden brown and crispy, about 40 minutes depending on the size. When I make batches for small dogs I make mini ones and they cook up quick-20 minutes or so.

          They keep well stored in an airtight container for about a week or so or much longer in the fridge.

          1. re: almond tree

            banana and peanut butter? I bet they love that, just mix it in a tub and lob gooey spoonfuls at their loveable mugs.

            vegan dogs? I'm not criticizing the idea, but I wonder how it works in real life (I wish I could keep mine from foraging the lawn for moles as I'm going to break an ankle one of these days).

            1. re: hill food

              My dog isn't vegan -- won't even eat carrots which I know most dogs love. He does like to eat used tissues tho I'm not sure if those qualify as strictly vegan.
              However, I often take him to community activities at a vegetarian center that doesn't allow animal products on the premises. He gets excited from all the people and likes to have a little chew treat to focus on.

              1. re: almond tree

                HA! gotcha, but I have known some who....

                mine likes to gnaw on charcoal and old galoshes. while I don't offer either, I am NOT analyzing those contents when he finds them (god knows where).

                it's good you keep your boy-o (or others their girl-o) active and social.

        2. while dogs are omnivores, no need to give them grains or legumes of any kind. the consumption of these foods is one of the reasons many dogs have teeth and gum issues.

          think outside the cookie/bar box. :)

          i used to roast chicken feet and pig ears for my guy. he loved them and they are super cheap.

          small cubes of hard cheese are good occasionally.

          carrot sticks, apple slices, bananas, dehydrated lean meats all work well too.

          you can whiz peanut butter, bacon and a banana in the food pro, form this into little balls and keep frozen or in the fridge.

          5 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            pig's ears - they love them, but I'm glad you say to roast them, I made the mistake of handing out raw ones to a pair of mutts I was sitting once. whoa I have a high level of stink tolerance, but things were not pretty a few hours later.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              About the roast chicken feet -- do the dogs drag them all over the floor? How's the mess factor?

              1. re: almond tree

                i roasted them til they were crunchy. my guy was big so he ate each one in a couple bites. no dragging, no mess.

                pig ears i roasted til crunchy too.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  My guy is little and loves to make a mess :) Still worth trying the chicken feet for a special occasion.

                  1. re: almond tree

                    funny little wierdos. (mine is a big stupid silly)

                    but it's all the same thing.

            2. I've been wanting to try dehydrating some meat ( like jerky) for training and treats. Our dogs are on prey model raw.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rasputina

                I too, would say take any grill or oven jerky recipe, reduce the quality of the beef (or use a chunk like stew meat) don't bother with the spices and you will be the dog's god (well you were probably close already).

                mine, I take leftover vegetables and cook them up in rice using broth I render (and freeze) a few times a year in a marathon crockpot session out of bones I stash in the freezer. (and yes then he gets the beef bones)

                granted that's not a simple treat to carry in my pocket, but he loves it.

              2. Actually a lot of professional trainers find slices of hot dog to be a very high-value treat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PesachBenSchlomo

                  I hope the brand is Hebrew National. BTW, I only eat Hebrew National Hot Dogs, but I'm mystified about 7 dogs weighing 12 ounces. I am surprised at the irrational number for the weight on one dog.