According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. For many pets, a combination of increased activity and decreased calories in their daily diet can help shed those excess pounds.
You can make delicious and healthy dog food and treats right at home from ingredients you already have, and your pet will thank you for it. We’re sharing 5 healthy recipes that you can try out from home for your pup.
Before you dive into the doggie delicacies below, check in with your vet about what your four-legged friend really needs.
Each breed has different nutritional requirements to consider. Plus, many purebreds, like Frenchies and Pugs, are known to be more prone to food allergies. Always work with a pup professional you trust.
It’s also a good idea to transition dogs slowly when introducing a new diet. Though they’ll beg you otherwise with those big, puppy dog eyes, only give them a little bit of new food at a time to prevent an upset stomach.
Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Spice Dog Treats
Dogs love peanut butter, and these seasonal fall cookies are a great way to sneak some fish oil into your dog’s diet. Fish oil improves your dog’s coat, making it shiny, soft, and healthier.
Look for organic peanut butter at your grocery store. Many commercial brands of peanut butter have unhealthy hydrogenated oils and additives. Better yet, make your own peanut butter using raw peanuts and peanut oil, and processing the mixture in your food processor.
Note: Some peanut butters contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s toxic to dogs even in small amounts. Carefully check the ingredients list of any peanut butter you buy to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol.
- 2 cups of wheat flour
- 1 cup of rolled oats
- 1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tablespoon of fish oil
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the flour and oats together in a large mixing bowl. Pour in one cup of water and blend until smooth. Add in the peanut butter, canned pumpkin, honey, ground cinnamon, and fish oil and mix until all the ingredients are well-blended.
- Slowly add the water until the mixture has a thick and doughy consistency.
- Lightly flour a cooking surface. Roll the dough onto the cooking surface to create a 1/4-inch thick sheet.
- Use a cookie cutter to create shapes. Place the cookies onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before feeding.
Pro tip: If the dough is too sticky to roll, slowly pad more flour onto the dough ball.
Frozen Yogurt Pops for Dogs
If your dog loves to chase ice cubes around the kitchen, then they’ll love these frozen treats. They’re made from human-grade ingredients and include fruit juice and carrots, which give your pup an added vitamin boost. Yogurt has calcium and protein and can help your dog digest food.
Note that this recipe calls for non-fat yogurt, which is a much healthier alternative to other types of yogurt, especially if your dog is overweight.
- 6-oz. container of plain, non-fat frozen yogurt
- 1 cup of no-sugar-added fruit juice
- 1/2 cup of carrots, minced
- Add the yogurt, fruit juice, and carrots into a medium-size bowl. Stir until the ingredients are smooth and well-blended.
- Drop the mixture into the ice cube trays by the spoonful.
- Freeze until the ingredients are solid.
Pro tip: Use hard plastic trays instead of softer rubber ones to make the treats. The treats are easier to remove from a hard tray.
Dogs need large amounts of protein to keep them healthy and active. Your pup should get the majority of his protein from whole meat sources, such as fresh chicken. Beans are also a good source of protein.
This recipe blends chicken, beans, and vegetables to create a healthy and tasty mix.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 cup of kidney beans, drained
- 1 cup of black beans, drained
- 1 cup of carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup of tomato paste
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- Remove the excess fat and dice the chicken breasts into nickel-size pieces.
- Cook the chicken breasts in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
- Add the chicken, beans, carrots, tomato paste, and chicken broth into a large pot and cook over medium heat until heated through (about 10 minutes).
- Allow the mixture to cool before serving.
- Store leftover chili in the fridge for up to five days.
Pro tip: You can add a 1/2 tablespoon of fish oil to this recipe. The flavors are strong enough that even picky eaters won’t notice the added healthy ingredient.
Fruit Parfait for Dogs
Your dog deserves a nice dessert every once in a while. This parfait mixes dairy and fruit, so it tastes great but also gives your pup a nice dose of vitamins and protein.
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup of strawberries, diced
- 1/2 cup of applesauce
- Blend all ingredients in a medium-size bowl until the yogurt is smooth and the fruit is well-blended.
- Serve in small amounts.
- Store in the fridge for up to seven days.
Pro tip: On days you plan to serve your pup a fruit parfait, reduce the amount of regular food by 1/2 cup to 1 cup to keep from overfeeding.
Beef and Vegetable Balls
Some dogs prefer meaty treats over sweet ones. These treats have a hearty meat flavor and aroma that all dogs love.
- 2 6-oz. jars of organic beef and vegetable baby food
- 1 cup of whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups of dry milk
- 1 cup of water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Drop the mixture onto a baking sheet in large spoonfuls.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Allow the treats to cool completely. Store leftover beef and vegetable balls in the fridge for up to five days.
Pro tip: These treats do not keep as well as others. Try cutting the recipe in half if you only have one dog.
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