Hazards to Avoid While Baking Homemade Dog Treats
When it comes to buying dog treats that your dog is actually going to enjoy, it is normally a 50/50 type of situation. They are usually packed full of things you don’t necessarily want your dog to eat, such as sugars, salt, colors, artificial flavoring and preservatives. The dog treats that are readily available at the store normally have an extremely wide range in their nutritional value, as well as their quality. This is true no matter what the label may claim. With that being said, you may be asking yourself what you can do to give your dog a treat, but without having to help contribute to them having poor health or becoming obese?
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The best option in this situation is to simply start making your own dog treats at home. While it won’t always be as easy as it sounds, once you get into the groove, making homemade dog treats for your pup will be something you actually look forward too. Just keep in mind that the hardest part about making your own dog treats, is to just get started. In fact, if you follow some simple guidelines, you will be able to bake homemade treats that will not only be nutritious but will be delicious for your dog as well.
Before you do get started, however, be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog is able to eat homemade dog treats. For example, if your dog is currently on some type of special diet for preventing urinary stones from forming, certain ingredients in the treats you make may interact negatively with that diet. The same thing goes if your dog has any food allergies or sensitivities. So be sure to check with your veterinarian prior to making your dog treats.
Helps Prevent Illness and Injury
While baking homemade dog treats is a great way to help keep your dog healthy, it really doesn’t mean anything if they are harmed during the process. To help you keep your four-legged best friend safe, here are a few precautions that you need to take in order to prevent any types of accident or potential foodborne illness from occurring.
- Dogs do not belong in the kitchen. In fact, the kitchen can actually be a very dangerous place for your dog to be in. Dogs don’t understand any concepts, such as stoves and ovens get really hot. So do yourself a favor and keep your dog out of the kitchen while you are baking their treats.
- Avoid any kind of baking mold that contains BPA at all costs. BPA is a contaminant that has been proven to be linked to types of cancer, as well as several other health issues.
- Steer clear of any type of toxic ingredients. Some of these include onions, xylitol, chocolate, raisins and even garlic. And if you are planning on baking a peanut butter flavored treat, be sure to double check the label. Some of the peanut butter available will contain xylitol in it. For whatever reason you are unsure what is considered to be toxic to your dog, you can always contact ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center for more information.
- When it comes time to back your homemade treats, be sure that you do so at the appropriate temperature to kill any and all potential pathogens. Things such as eggs, as well as other ingredients, contain Salmonella. And if you have added some raw meat into the ingredients list, be sure that you cook your treats to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
Cut Out Any Unnecessary and Unhealthy Ingredients
While you may personally enjoy some of the ingredients you put into your homemade dog treats, your dog may not necessarily like them or think that they taste good. For example, have you ever wondered why there are no dog treats that use sugars or frostings?
Doing your best to avoid using fasts is also a good idea. Dogs can potentially develop pancreatitis when they eat too many high-fat foods and treats. This pancreatitis will cause very painful inflammation of their pancreas, and can even result in your pup needing to be hospitalized.
What are the ingredients that you should be using in your homemade dog treats? Lots of different fruits and vegetables are generally always considered to be safe. Some that come recommended by most veterinarians include carrots, zucchini, broccoli, summer squash, pumpkin, celery, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, kale, spinach, apples, pears, dandelion greens, peaches, blueberries, bananas and strawberries.
Keep Track of the Calories
If you feed your dog too many treats, it can easily result in huge nutritional imbalances. This is especially true if you feed your dog a less than completely balanced diet that is substituted with treats. By keeping your dog’s diet the same when you start incorporating more treats is only going to increase the chances of your dog gaining weight.
When it comes to your homemade dog treats, they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s entire daily caloric intake at the absolute most. The other 90% should come in the form of a complete and nutritionally balanced diet.
The best thing you can do with your homemade dog treats to track how many calories they contain is to weigh them on a food gram scale. For example, say that your dog gets roughly 100 grams of food per day. Each gram is going to contain 35 calories. This means that they are getting about 350 calories per day. Pretend that your homemade dog treat has roughly 4 calories per gram and weights about 10 grams total. This means that the new total caloric intake per day is up to 390. This is a big increase and can quickly lead to unwanted weight gain.
Making homemade dog treats is a great way to keep your dog healthy. Just be sure that you follow the simple guidelines mentioned above and you will have not problems at all.