You’re ready for an awesome weekend full of outdoor adventures with your pup.
Water? Check. Leash? Check.
Granola bars? Check. Wait…..do they make granola bars for dogs?
Buying dog treats at the store can be quick and easy when you’re in a hurry, but if you want to ensure that your dog is getting the absolute best, whole ingredients, or if your dog has specific food requirements, there’s no substitute for making your own.
Here are a few tips for making delicious, healthy, homemade trail treats suitable for all your canine adventures.
Tip #1: Use what you have!
It can be easy to get caught up thinking you have to have the perfect recipe, but if it’s a whole food ingredient that you love, chances are your dog is going to love it too.
Focus on fruits like blueberries, apples, and bananas. Proteins can include eggs, peanut butter, and leftover chicken. Dog-approved veggies include peas, carrots, and even pumpkin! Take a look in your pantry and fridge and see what you have on hand.
One of the easiest methods of making protein-packed dog treats is to take any kind of cooked meat like chicken, beef or pork, and any cooked veggies you have on hand. Put it all in a blender with a little bone stock and egg until the consistency is about like cream. Then add whole wheat or oat flour until you have a stiff dough mixture. Roll out the dough into a ¼” thick sheet, cut into any shapes you like and bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the treats are golden brown at the edges. After turning the oven off, leave the treats in the oven overnight to let them get extra crispy and easy to store. Delicious veggies to add to this recipe are cooked sweet potato, butternut squash, peas or carrots.
Tip #2: Choose the right treat for your length of adventure
If you’re headed out on a daylong adventure, most dog treats will hold up just fine. But if you’re planning on being out in the wild for multiple days with your pup, it’s best to make and bring treats that store well without refrigeration. Here’s where dehydration comes in handy.
Think dehydrating treats sounds complicated? Think again!
Although the work is made quicker if you have an actual dehydrator, you can dehydrate pretty much in anything using a regular oven at a very low temperature. Try strips of meat your dog loves like chicken, beef, lamb or pork. You can even dehydrate fruits and veggies like carrots, sweet potato, apples, and banana slices.
The benefit of dehydrated treats is that they won’t mold or get slimy on your multi-day adventures.
The downside is that you will need to plan ahead. If you’re using a conventional oven to dry your tasty treats, you’ll need to set the oven to around 125 degrees F and leave it on overnight.
Tip #3: Pack what your dog knows and loves
Some dogs LOVE raw carrots.
Other dogs will do anything for a piece of chicken or beef. You know your dog best, so make sure that whatever you bring with you on the trail, your dog will love. If you’re using ingredients your dog has never had before, make sure you allow them to test a small amount at home before you head out. This will make sure your dog doesn’t have any adverse reactions that will be difficult to handle on the trail, and that the treat is something your dog will love to enjoy while out and about.
Making homemade trail treats for your dog is fun, easy and a great way to ensure that your adventure buddy is getting the energy and nutrition they need to roam wherever you do.