WHO SAID CAKES AND TREATS CAN’T BE HEALTHY?
Saturday was a special day here: Elsie’s and my one-year anniversary. That called for a special treat: a homemade pup-cake!
In the past year of being a dog-mom, I’ve mastered the art of fast and healthy dog treats and not because I’m just that extra. I barely have time to cook for myself most days, let alone for my dog.
When Elsie was just a couple months old I noticed her itching more than what seemed normal. She developed dandruff, then scabs in her armpits. At its worst, she had open sores in her ears that never scabbed over or started healing. Our vet prescribed antihistamines, lotions and shampoo that required holding a wet and cold puppy in the bathtub for 15 minutes, several times a week. Nothing worked.
Turns out, it was her food. Dogs can be allergic to many different foods, just like people. Unlike people, their reactions are different. Most often the culprit is the protein used in dog foods— not necessarily the specific type of protein such as chicken, beef or lamb— but how those proteins are altered during processing.
We were able to find a (very expensive) dog food that worked for Elsie, and her skin issues resolved. But with the increased cost of meals and dietary restrictions to consider, what about dog treats? Fruits and veggies were the answer.
Here are some of our favorite easy and cheap dog snacks:
Carrots– Hands down, Elsie’s favorite. She gets a handful of baby carrots throughout the day and she begs hard for them. They’re also easy to pack to take with on hikes or cut up for training treats.
Peas– Frozen or sugar snap, these also make great grab-and-go treats and are helpful for training. Peas can also be added to dog food to help substitute some greens in with the often protein or grain-heavy commercial foods.
Green beans– These can be added to meals as well. Like peas, green beans are high in fiber and help fill up your pup while cutting back on some calories- a great trick if your furry friend needs to shed a couple pounds.
Apples– The wonderful thing about apples is that you can just throw your dog one and it’ll keep them busy for a while (maybe just 15 minutes). You can also cut them up and use them as treats, or oven dry them to store.
Sweet potatoes– I’ll be honest, I’ve thrown Elsie a raw sweet potato a few times in the hopes that it’ll keep her busy for a while, which works. Sweet potatoes can also be cooked and used in homemade dog treats or added to their meal to fill them up and add nutrients.
Bananas– Unless you want to clean up mashed banana off your floor, your dog’s head and pretty much everywhere else, I would not recommend just handing your dog a banana. However, they are awesome in homemade dog treats. I’ve also sliced and frozen them for a fast treat on a hot day.
For days you feel like going a little extra, here are some of our favorite recipes for homemade dog treats: