I don’t know about you, but my dog is my world – he can make me smile no matter what my day’s been like, he’s the best snuggler (when he’s tired enough that he won’t flail around), and nothing makes me happier than seeing him happy.

Unsurprisingly, just like me, one of the easiest ways to get him hyped is to give him food or treats. It’s important, though, to be mindful of what your dog is eating, because a lot of the big name food companies don’t necessarily care about our dogs’ nutrition like we do. There are hundreds and hundreds of diets for us to go on and we hear all of this information about healthy eating daily, but why don’t we pay as much attention to the health of our best friends?

If you love your doge and want him or her to be feeling fit and fine for years to come, you’ll ditch your store-bought treats and make these tasty homemade ones instead.

Why Get Rid of Your Store-Bought Treats?


Photo courtesy of @milkbone on Instagram

I get it – they’re convenient, but convenient isn’t always the best way to go. When picking out dog treats, it’s important to remember that your dog will eat what you feed him or her. Think about how many treats you give your dog in a day, week, month, and year. Now think about what’s in them…do you even know?

Take Milk Bones, for example. As you’re probably aware, these are some of the most common dog treats on the market, but there’s a few reasons I won’t buy them for my own dog.

The first is that the classic Milk Bone treats have 31 ingredients in them. Why are that many ingredients necessary for a simple dog cookie? The answer is they’re not. We don’t need tons of chemicals supplementing our food and our dogs definitely don’t either.

The second reason I won’t buy them is BHA. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) is a fat preservative that has been found to continuously lead to the development of tumors in laboratory animals in studies done by the National Health Institute. It’s listed as a known carcinogen and though it’s generally inferred that low doses aren’t going to cause major cancers, cumulative ingestion could definitely lead to complications. It’s basically systematic poisoning.


Photo courtesy of @chloe_staffy on Instagram

Another example is rawhide bones – one of the best ways to curb your dog’s endless need to chew stuff. The main thing to watch out for when buying rawhide bones is where the bones were made. Rawhide bones come from the hide of animals like cows, pigs, etc. but the issue lies with the processing.

In other countries, like China, Korea, and Thailand, it’s legal for companies to use chemicals like formaldehyde and arsenic as preservatives in the initial processing of the dog treats. (If you don’t know, arsenic is fatally toxic and formaldehyde is used in building products and is the preservative used for dissection animal corpses…yum). The use of these chemicals is outlawed in the states and any rawhide made here will typically have fewer chemicals than those that are imported, so check your labels.

Our dogs are our best friends and we need to treat them like they are. It should generally be a red flag if you can’t count the number of ingredients in their treats on both your fingers and toes and you can’t pronounce half of them.

It’s easier to feel better about the treats you’re rewarding your dog with when you know exactly what’s going into them and where they were made. So, if you really love your dog, check out this recipe by Brittany Mullins on her blog, Eating Bird Food.

These treats super easy to make and only have four ingredients in them: whole wheat flour, apple sauce, chicken stock, and peanut butter. Guaranteed that these will make you your dog’s favorite, if you aren’t already. I made them for my lab and he literally wouldn’t stop following me around the house for days. I feel great about what I’m giving him and he’s never loved any treats as much as he likes these – we’ll never go back to store bought.


Photo by Allie Coneys