You love your dog! That is clear and you want to spoil him with treats every day, but not any ol' treat will do for your pet. You care about the food he puts into his body, and you only want to purchase safe dog biscuits. And if you want to make dog biscuits at home, which ingredients should you omit from the recipe?
Knowing what types of food to avoid is essential for taking care of your animals. Some ingredients may be toxic to dogs, so doing your due diligence will help put you at ease and keep your dog's belly full.
Ingredients to Avoid
Next time you're strolling through the dog food aisle at your local pet store, take a minute to scan through the ingredient lists of the food and treats available. You'll often find a long list with many unnecessary filler ingredients and preservatives. Make sure these ingredients don't find their way into the next package you pick up:
- Corn syrup
- Artificial colors
- Xylitol or any other sugar alcohols
- Excessive salt
- Propylene glycol
- Brewer's rice
- Nitrates or nitrites
- Vegetable oil
Making Safe Dog Biscuits at Home
Making your dog's treats yourself gives you control over what ingredients go into the recipe. However, it also opens up the options for what you can include. If you don't want to add anything that could be harmful, what should you choose?
The best way to approach making dog biscuits at home is by following a tested recipe, and double-checking to make sure the ingredients you include are safe. Just because another pet parent recommends sharing a food item with your dog doesn't mean it's not toxic or unhealthy.
For example, pumpkin is often used in homemade dog treats and biscuits. It adds healthy fiber, and dogs love the taste. But be careful that the can you're opening for your pet is pure mashed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling with additives like sugar and spices. Common pie spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, can be poisonous to dogs, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, so always check ingredients carefully.
Peanut butter is also a common and convenient dog delicacy. Choose natural peanut butter that has less added sugar and oils, and always check the label to make sure that it doesn't include xylitol as a sweetener. Xylitol is toxic to pets, and may lead to hypoglycemia, liver failure, seizures, or even death, says the Pet Poison Helpline. This means that you should always call your vet if your pup manages to get ahold of any human candy or sugar-free gum.
When recipes suggest flour as a binder, be careful to always use whole grains and not white flour. Common household flour, bread flour, and cake flour can give dogs a dangerous spike and drop in blood sugar. If you don't have any whole grains on hand, it's better to skip that recipe for the time being and try something else.
If you want to make your own dog treats, but are worried about baking flubs or unhealthy ingredients, you still have another option: dress up the canned or dry dog food you already have at home. Doing this shouldn't cause issues since your pet is already accustomed to the ingredients, and you'll gain confidence baking for your furry friend.
Being able to decipher between safe dog biscuits and potentially harmful treats can be difficult, regardless of whether you're making them on your own or buying them from a store. When in doubt, choose a brand you know will be healthy for your pet. Hill's treats go through the same nutritional consideration that each bag of food does, so you can rest assured that they are backed by science and nutritional value. You and your favorite furry taste tester can work together to find something delicious. Just make sure that you don't over spoil him. His intake of treats should never exceed 10 percent of his daily calorie allotment.