A little-known secret to cutting your dog’s expenses is found in your kitchen. Not only can you cut your dog’s costs while you’re in the kitchen, but also you can improve your pup’s health. Think you don’t have time to spend in the kitchen? Or maybe you don’t think you can save that much? This one will surprise you. Today let’s dig into how homemade dog treats save big on your dog costs.
Budget Tip: While you may have thought that a homemade dog cookie was a special treat for your dog, it actually is a great benefit for your dog budget. Of course, you can control the ingredients and all those sorts of great aspects of a DIY dog treat. But did you know that with as little as 20 minutes in the kitchen you can save approximately $15 in just one month? That’s a lot of dough! Sorry for the bad pun, but it certainly does add up over a year. And when you pull in your dog community, you might only spend 20 minutes in the kitchen all year and save at least $175. And that’s huge for anyone’s dog budget!
I don’t cook. How can I make homemade dog treats?
I know if you don’t cook or bake, it can feel overwhelming. But just like anything in life, you don’t know it until you know it. And this is one that is easy to learn and you and your dog will benefit from tremendously. You don’t need to spend a lot on equipment. You can use a jar as a cookie cutter. Heck, you might even find it fun.
What are the benefits of homemade dog treats?
If you’re like me, you want your dog to have quality food. That includes treats. So, you don’t buy your dog the $0.99 junk food treats that can do his or her body as much harm as you eating a donut every day. You invest in what you believe are “high quality” treats. These types of dog treats can range from $9-$30 a bag. If you have more than one dog this adds up in a hurry even if you give treats sparingly.
The top benefits of homemade dog treats are:
- Costs (I’ll dig into this one even more below)
- Control over ingredients
- Healthier (even over the “high quality” treats)
*Have you ever noticed how often dog food, dog treats, and dog supplements are recalled? It can be scarier to see a news alert for a dog product being recalled, especially if you’ve ever given it to your pup. But when you make homemade dog treats, there’s no worry about a dog treat recall. Honestly, I was shocked to learn that there were seven pet food and treat recalls in just 2022 alone! That doesn’t even include the complaints. If you are ever concerned about a dog product you use, simply go here where Dog Food Advisor keeps tabs on recalls and warnings.
How does making my dog’s treats improve his or her health?
Dog treats are often filled with ingredients I can’t even pronounce. Additionally, there can be excess sodium or other unnecessary ingredients in the treats. That includes high-quality treats. Perhaps you find a great commercial dog treat, but there’s one item in the ingredient list your dog can’t have at all. For instance, if your dog is diabetic and can’t have honey. Great quality dog cookies with honey are off your list. However, when you make your own dog’s treats you control everything including the ingredients (quality, amount, and types) as well as the size of the treats.
My time is so limited. How am I going to make dog treats?
I understand this concern. Time is a very valuable asset. Here’s the great part of homemade dog treats, a lot of them don’t have many ingredients and take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I can do that in the early morning or after I’ve finished dinner in the evening. Can you find 30 minutes for your dog’s health and your pocketbook? Sometimes I can even multitask a dog treat with dinner.
Aren’t homemade dog treat recipes huge? I only have one dog.
Another great aspect of homemade dog treats is that you can generally freeze them. Most will keep just fine for at least 3-6 months in the freezer. Or you can even cut a recipe in half. However, for a really great idea, you can trade DIY dog treats with your dog community. This way you would only need to make a batch once or twice a year. That’s a huge dog budget and time-winner!
How much exactly could I save if I made my own dog treats?
Now, we’re getting down to the dog bones of it all (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I did love figuring this out. It’s my economics background rising to the top.
So, for a great example, let’s look at this 3 ingredient dog treat recipe by Garlic Head.
It calls for:
- 1 cup rolled oats or 3/4 oat flour (I used rolled oats for my calculations because it’s the most widely available and generally cheaper)
- 1/3 cup dog-friendly smooth peanut butter (that means just peanuts)
- 1 banana or 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree – no spices (I used pumpkin because it doesn’t fluctuate as much in price)
This recipe takes 20 minutes to make and yields 50 healthy homemade dog treats. Additionally, the treats can be frozen.
Breaking out all the ingredients it will make approximately:
14.06 oz of dog treats (yep, that’s 50 cute doggie treats)
With current prices, it will cost:
- $1.35 per batch
- $0.03 per treat
- $0.09 per ounce
How does this compare to commercial high-quality dog treats?
A commercial-grade high-quality bag of dog treats of the approximate size you’ll pay:
- $16 per bag
- $1.10 per ounce
(treats will vary per bag)
How much can I save by making homemade dog treats?
Ready for it? Just for a short 20 minutes of work (start to finish), you’ll save approximately:
- $1.01 per ounce
- Or $14.65 per bag
That means over a year of buying a 16-ounce bag a month (which is typical for most dog owners), you’ll save over $175. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on your next vacation with your dog or redoing your dog’s backyard? I know I can think of 1000s ways to spend a found $175. How about you?
What if my dog can’t eat pumpkin or oats?
There are loads of DIY dog treat recipes available. You can find great peanut butter dog treats with coconut oil. Or even dog treats that are made from wheat flour. Just remember the cost of the ingredients you use will play into the cost of the homemade dog treats.
However, another great aspect of DIY dog biscuits is that once you have a recipe you like, you can alter the ingredients to your heart’s content. So, if your dog loves blueberries, add a few. Or if your dog is nuts for carrots add a few of those.
I love to experiment with my recipes. My mom used to accuse me of cooking by the seat of my pants. She could’ve been right. But most of the time it works out. So, don’t be shy with your baking either.
Additionally, remember that treats are just that – treats. They are meant to be rewards not given out for a sweet puppy dog look. You don’t want to make your dog sick, like a kid gorging themselves on Halloween candy or worse.
What ingredients are good for dogs to eat?
If you have any concerns about specific ingredients for your dog’s health, definitely contact your vet for advice. However, in general, any of these ingredients are considered great for dogs (although keep in mind all things in moderation):
- Apples – remove seeds & core
- Banana – low cal and perfect for overweight dogs
- Blueberries – these are great fresh or frozen
- Carrots – these are great fresh or frozen
- Cucumbers – low cal and perfect for diabetic dogs
- English Peas
- Greek yogurt
- Pears – cored
- Snow Peas
- Sweet potato
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Watermelon – remove rind and seeds
Are there any ingredients I should avoid with my homemade dog treats?
The biggest, although not the only toxic ingredients are:
- Xylitol (found in traditional peanut butter)
- Alcohol of all types
- Onions and garlic
- Grapes and raisins
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Summary of how homemade dog treats save big
Did you have any idea how much you could save by making your own dog treats? Honestly, it was a good exercise for me. I knew there were some savings, I just didn’t realize how much. It now proves that homemade is better. Besides your dog will love it even more. Plus, you get to control the ingredients and your pocketbook gets a nice savings. I know Henry loves his homemade dog treats. I love them even more now that I know how much I’m saving.