Darling Little Things: DIY Dog Treats

With 2 fur babies of my own at home and a natural inclination to lean towards DIY things, I’ve found my newest [slight obsession] hobby! I’m sure it’s pretty common knowledge, but did you know how EASY it is to make your own dog treats??! And, bonus: way healthier! I tried a couple different options that I wanted to share.

Make at home dog treats

dog treat ingredients collageThese were my items of choice for my first batch of dog treats. You’ll need whole wheat flour and baby food. The original recipe I used called for TWO four oz. containers of baby food and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix together to form a stiff dough and then roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out with cookie cutters as desired. In keeping with the season, I chose to buy a few holiday themed cookie cutters and later, on the second batch used smaller cookie cutters.. because they came out a little too large for my 2 pups who are about 25 pounds and 40 pounds. Also, make note when choosing baby food selections to choose flavors that are dog friendly. (See arrows.) Anything with onions or onion powder is NOT dog friendly, so avoid any flavors with onion. Carrots and sweet potato are pretty big favorites in our house, so I went with those.

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

After you’ve rolled out your dough and cut out some shapes, add some wax paper to a cookie sheet and pop those babies into the oven at about 325. Bake 20-25 minutes.

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

Unfortunately, I did not store this first batch properly, or the carrot flavored ones just don’t have a very long shelf life.. still trying to determine which factor, or if both did me in with these. I let them cool [although maybe not enough] and placed them into mason jars and put the caps on. About 4 days later, every single one of those dog cookies had mold growing on them. Since making a second batch not using baby food, I think it may be the baby food that causes the dog cookie to be so moist that it cannot harden all the way. In this case, maybe adding a bit more flour to the dough would help, or letting them sit out overnight would aid in storage. I let them sit out all of last night and while my second batch is harder than the original, they’re still a little springy. I’ll leave a couple out for the next day or two and the rest will be kept in the freezer and taken out as needed, because they can be stored for up to two months in the freezer.

Third batch: Completely different. I perused different websites for new ideas. After reading a few, I noticed that there are a few ingredients that are interchangeable: flour (different kinds, usually wheat), rolled oats, egg, milk, water. For the third batch I used 1 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter (warmed in the microwave to help with mixing), 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and drizzled honey throughout. I did half to add some water to get the dough to hold together. I baked these for a minute or two longer (about 24 minutes) and these came out much harder to begin with, and as they sat out hardened even more and are rather crunchy for my dogs to munch on. That said, I don’t think they’ll grow mold like the baby food ones, but I might still freeze them to be safe.

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Making these DOES make a mess. 🙂 It’s completely worth it though to make 100 treats using $4 worth of cookie cutters, a $3 bag of wheat flour and $3 worth of baby food. The rest of the ingredients, I had on hand. I made extras to freeze and store for later, but these might be great little gifts for the dog lovers in your life. Besides being totally inexpensive, you can control what ingredients your pups are eating and be a bit healthier all around.

Check out my Pinterest board for some of the other homemade dog treat recipes that I found.

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It’s not a fad if it’s not a new year’s resolution

It’s October, my favorite month! Bring on the birthday season, fall weather, boots, & renewed zest to get it together! This happens to me twice a year, when fall begins (used to be in conjunction with beginning a new semester) & when it happens to everyone else – when a new year begins. It’s that feeling of a clean slate, of getting a new opportunity to do better, to achieve more, and to be happier.

I’ve been working towards so many things this year; getting out of debt, getting a full-time job that fits my career ambitions, finding a fitness change that I can accommodate into my busy schedule.. you name it.

I’ve worked down the debt from 5 credit cards down to 1. I’ve transitioned from 2 part time jobs back to 1 that allows me to pick my hours and have my days/weekends free and engage in a contractor position that allows me to connect professionally in the kind of work I aspire to do. I’ve spent hours upon hours putting together a professional portfolio to showcase my talent and history of successes (viewable here). I’ve made serious progress in all of the areas I’ve been working towards – except fitness.

My boyfriend is retired Army and has a much more disciplined self when it comes to exercise. He likes to eat the bad food as much as I do and couldn’t part with sodas.. but the difference is that he can get himself out of bed in the morning and go do some time in the gym to at least counteract some of our bad food choices, if not to tone and lose some. Me, I snooze as many times as I possibly can and am the worst morning person you’ll ever meet.

On that note, I should probably mention that I’m always tired. Frankly, I can’t figure out a reason why I would be.. I work around 30 hours a week and take care of house things, errands, etc. in my free time – but it’s nothing grueling that I should feel like I’m still pulling 60 hour weeks. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t take good enough care of myself.

I was reading my Self magazine today and was intrigued by their sandbag exercise and have decided to implement an exercise routine. I used to belong to a gym and used to go to the fitness classes and lift weights at one point in my life.. but that was a few years ago and I have since seriously slacked.

So, today is a big day because it’s the day I made the decision to finally act with purpose regarding fitness and fitting it into my life.

It’s time to live well, stay tuned to see what schedule I come up with!

What do you do to be healthy?