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Homemade Pet Safe Treats ~ Advice From Dr. Ryan Llera

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Homemade Pet Safe Treats

Finding treats that are both safe AND tasty for our pets can be a difficult task.

That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce to you pet expert Dr. Ryan Llera, veterinarian with the Kingston Veterinary Clinic.

My friend, Dr. Llera, agreed to share his tips on healthy and safe pet treats for our furry friends, with a recommendation for 2 different pet safe homemade dog treats that you can easily make at home.

Stay tuned for more from Dr. Llera! He will continue to share his veterinarian expertise with Canadian Blog House readers in the coming months! Be sure to follow Dr. Llera on social media (see his bio below) for advice on how to keep your pets healthy and happy!

Homemade Pet Safe Treats

Admit it…you can’t resist those looks your pets give you when they want a special treat.  As if sleeping on the bed wasn’t enough, even I can’t ignore the pleas of my own pets.  But like all special treats (who wants ice cream?!), they need to be given in moderation.  Too much of a good thing can lead to problems such as weight gain, disinterest in food, and even learning bad behaviors or habits.

Over the past 10-15 years, some concerns have been raised over where your pets’ treats come from.  Not only that but, as advances have been made in veterinary care, special diet treats (such as for pets with food allergies, kidney disease, or thyroid problems) may be hard to come by or seem unappetizing to our furry friends.  So let’s review some simple recipes that you can do at home; as a note, I did not create these recipes but I have personally reviewed them as being safe and healthy.

If your cat or dog is on a special diet, these first two are for you (courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nutrition)…oh wait, I mean your pets!

Using canned food:

  1. Open the can and shake the loaf of food out of the can.
  2. Cut the loaf into 1/4″ thick slices, and then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Bake the treats in a microwave oven on high for approximately 2½ to 3 minutes.
  4. Store baked treats in the refrigerator and discard leftovers after 5-7 days.
  5. Homemade treats should not exceed 10% of your pet’s total daily intake because heat alters the nutritional characteristics of the food.
  6. Do not freeze homemade treats.

For a conventional oven, follow the instructions above and place the bite-sized pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until crispy.

Using Dry Food:

  1. In a blender, add 2 cups of dry food and grind into a powder.
  2. Pour powder into a mixing bowl and gradually add about 1 to 1¼ cups of water, stirring until it forms a dough consistency.
  3. Shape into individual “treats” or “cookies” and flatten the dough using the back of a spoon (the cookies will not flatten like standard “people cookies” do.)
  4. Place treats on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until crispy.
  5. Store baked treats in the refrigerator and discard leftovers after 5-7 days.
  6. Homemade treats should not exceed 10% of your pet’s total daily intake because heat alters the nutritional characteristics of the food.
  7. Do not freeze homemade treats.

Okay, so for those furry pets who aren’t on special diets and you just want to give them something a little extra.  There are many recipes out there that you can make but, I want to caution you on a few things:

  • Fatty substances can be harmful. Ingredients like butter or oils in large quantities can cause intestinal upset and pancreatitis.
  • Use of artificial sweeteners – specifically xylitol – which can be found in some peanut butters are toxic resulting in liver failure and low blood sugar leading to seizures.
  • Grapes & raisins, while popular in many human goodies, can lead to kidney failure.
  • Uncooked dough when eaten can be fermented in the stomach and cause alcohol poisoning.

So what’s a canine pastry chef to do?  The internet is full of homemade recipes, and if you’re looking at them, I encourage you to run them by your veterinarian to see if there are any potential problems.  I’ve found two recipes that I feel are healthy, and would like to share, so what are you waiting for?!  Get to work on pampering your pooch or coddling your cat with some homemade treats!

Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Dog Treats

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For baking instructions, please visit Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Dog Treats

 Peanut Butter & Banana Dog Biscuits

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing

For baking instructions, please visit Peanut Butter & Banana Dog Biscuits.

Well I hope these recipes will help keep your pet happy as well as healthy!  Let us know how these work out for you!

Dr Ryan LleraDr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic in Kingston, Ontario. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 horses, a pet rat and a rabbit. Ryan is also a regular guest writer for the Ontario SPCA blog. You can find more of his writing at or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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