Introduction: Dog Treats

Dogs are man's best friend. They are loyal, playful, always happy to see you, and do anything they can to please you. So what do you do in return? You throw them a chalky, gross, plain dog treat that you have always been giving your poor dog since they were a puppy. Give them something they really want, something they'll beg for and at the same time is healthy.
In this instructable, I will go through basic tips and ideas on how to make dog treats, as well as share a recipe that my dog gobbles up!

Step 1: What Not to Feed Your Dog

Despite what most people believe, home made dog treats are healthy for your dog if you use the right ingredients. Many home made dog treats are just as healthy, and if not, healthier then the treats at the store. Here are some ingredients that you should never feed your dog or include in their treats:

-Alcoholic drinks and beverages
-Apple Seeds
-Apricot (pit can be fatal)
-Avocado leaves, stems, pits, and skin
-Castor Bean
-Cherry Pits
-Chocolate or Cocoa
-Fruit pits
-Garlic (raw)
-Meats ( that are raw and may contain viruses)
-Onions (raw; can be fatal to Akita and Shiba breeds)
-Potato Leaves and Stems
-Rhubarb leaves
-Sugar (excessive amounts can cause diabetes)
-Tea Tree
-Tomato Leaves and stems

Also note that some other ingredients such as dairy products, corn products, and garlic are common dog allergies and you should know how your dog reacts to these ingredients before feeding them excessive amounts of it. If you feed your dog foods that they are allergic to, they may vomit and become sick.

Step 2: What You Can Feed Your Dog

Here are some ingrediens that are safe to feed your dog and include in your treats:

-All Purpose Flour
-Baking Soda
-Baking Powder
-Bisquick or Biscuit Mix
-Brewer's Yeast
-Buckwheat Flour
-Bulgur Wheat
-Corn-Muffin Mix (if your dog tolerates corn)
-Cracked Wheat
-Desiccated Beef Liver
-Garlic Powder (if your dog can tolerate garlic)
-Graham Flour
-Kelp Powder
-Kibble Dog Food
-Oat Bran
-Oatmeal and Rolled Oats
-Pumpkin Seeds (hulls removed)
-Rice Flour
-Rye Flour
-Sesame Seeds
-Soy Flour
-Sunflower seeds (hulls removed)
-Textured Vegetable Protein
-Turbinado Sugar
-Wheat Bran
-Wheat Flakes
-Wheat Germ
-White Corn Flour
-Whole-Wheat Flour
-Yellow Cornmeal (If tollerable)
-Cheddar Cheese
-Cottage Cheese
-Milk (if tollerable)
-Goat Milk (Cow milk substitute)
-Nonfat Dry Milk
-Parmesan Cheese
-Canola Oil
-Corn Oil
-Meat Baby Food (Without MSG)
-Peanut Butter
-Vegetable Shortening
-Beef and Chicken Bullion

Step 3: Making Some Treats

Now that you know what ingredients you can include in your dog's treats, it's time to develop a recipe.
-You're recipe should contain only the things that are on the list that your dog can eat
-You should make sure that there is some desireable flavors for your dog in the treat (such as meat and other flavor)
-Make sure your treats aren't too salty. Never add salt to recipes as it is unnecessary in almost all recipes
-You can make breads, cookies, biscuits and even frozen treats for your dog
-The recipe you develop should contain at least some starch, (Flour or oats) a liquid (Such as water, milk, broth, or even meat baby food! (MSG free!) and sometimes a "glue." (like eggs)
-Try incorperating ingredients that you already know your dog loves like peanut butter and meat
-Don't be afraid to try some "funky" combinations such as molasses and beef broth, cottage cheese and chicken broth, or tuna and milk!

Step 4: The Recipe

By using the ingredients on the list of foods that your dog can eat, I developed a recipe using very simple, common, and relatively cheap ingredients. You can easily double the recipe so that you can have endless treats for your dog! Anyway, here is what I came up with:

-8.5-ounce box of corn muffin mix
-dash of garlic powder
-4 tbsp. cooked crumbled bacon (you can by in the grocery store pre-crumbled)
-1/4 cup oats
-1/2 of a beef bullion cube (MSG free)
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/4-1/2 cup all-purpose flour

-Large Bowl
-measuring cups
-measuring spoons
-cookie sheet
-cutting board

Step 5: The Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350F

1) In a large bowl, combine the muffin mix, dash of garlic powder, rolled oats, and baking soda.
2) Chop the bacon until there is no more huge chunks of it (if you bought pre crumbled bacon, don't worry about this step)
3) Add the bacon to your dry mixture, and stir until it is all incorperated. Set bowl aside. (pic. 4)
4)Measure 1/2 cup of water. Heat in microwave until nearly boiling. After the water is heated, dissolve the 1/2 of the bullion cube into the water.
5)Now, add the bullion and water to your dry mixure. Stir until it it completely mixed.
6)Add in flour, a little at a time to thicken your dough. When the dough reaches a sticky cookie dough consistency, it doesn't need any more flour.
7)On a good cookie sheet, spoon out dough by about the rounded teaspoon. The smaller the dough balls, the more treats you will yeild. This recipe yeilds 1 pound of cookies. For me, this made 68 treats.
8)Put the cookies in the oven and set your timer for about 10-14 minutes, depending on the cookie size or until the cookis start to turn "golden brown" on top
9)When the cookies are done, allow them to cool completely.

Step 6: You're Not Done Yet!

Ok so now that your dog's treats are cooked, feed them one. If they like the treat, good job! You just made a tasty batch of dog treats!

Now I bet that after you let the treats cool, you picked one up, broke it and thought "hey, these are supposed to be hard and crunchy!"

Well your right, they do need to be hard and crunchy, not soft and chewey... So what do you do?

The best method to harden ANY dog cookie/biscuit is to place all of the cooled treats on a single cookie tray, and return them to the cooling oven, being sure that you turned the oven off. Leave them undesturbed for at least 8 hours. No opening the door to take out a treat for your dog!

If you did this correctly, your treats should be hard and dry after 8 hours. By doing this, you have taken out all moisture in the treat, making the "shelf life" of the treats be weeks or even months!

Step 7: Other Information

If you have any questions about the instructable, or need help developing a recipe, leave me a comment and I will be happy to answer it.

I hope that this instructable was useful to you, and I hope your dog will love these treats just as much as my dog does! Thank you for reading my instructable.

Burning Questions: Round 7

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Burning Questions: Round 7