Homemade Frugal Healthy Doggy Treats Recipe Made with Foraged Greens

Our dog, Snickers, has so far been a great addition to our family, and we really love her. She came to us mostly trained and well behaved, but there's been a few times that she caused trouble, chewing up some shoes (fortunately none that were needed) and some toys. I asked some trainers why she was doing that and what could stop her from destroying things, and I was told that based on her genetics (we know she has border collie and lab in her) she's smart, and if she doesn't get enough brain stimulation, enough things to work her brain, she'll make trouble. 

I purchased a Kong Wobbler toy for her that dispenses treats if she can figure out how to get them out (in addition to a few other things to stimulate her mind) but wasn't sure what to do about the treats for this toy, since we aren't feeding her kibble, and in general are trying to keep her away from grains (and especially gluten), and just give her a whole foods, mostly meat and somewhat plant based diet. I didn't think the wobbler would work with the wet and mostly raw chicken and fish parts we've been giving her. I needed something dry and small for this.

At the pet store nearly all the treats had either wheat flour in it, and some even had fake sugar. But the pet shop owners directed me to this company of treats, which were made from chicken and spinach and kale, all whole foods that I'm happy to give her. I broke the treats into small chunks and have been using them in our Kong treat dispenser, and she's loved that. I'm not in love with the price though, about 10 dollars for this small 100 gram bag.

Based on these treats, though, I figured I could easily make something like that myself for much cheaper, and when I saw ground turkey being sold for $2.59 a pound yesterday, I decided to use some to make Snickers a healthy treat.

No, I wasn't going to use spinach and kale in mine. I'm a forager, and I have a plethora of healthy greens available to me. I used one of the wild greens I foraged, amaranth, after researching that it is safe for dogs. I had a bunch of greens that I picked the other day and accidentally got frozen in the refrigerator, so that seemed perfect. Feel free to use any greens that you have lying around, after checking that they're safe for dogs. (This place has an extensive list of plants that are toxic and non toxic to pets.  But honestly, take some of that with a grain of salt, like it'll allow spinach but other plants that have oxalic acid it calls toxic, even though spinach also has.)

I blended up a bunch of amaranth leaves as well as a chopped sweet potato, then mixed them with the raw ground turkey. I spread it out in a somewhat thin layer on a lined baking tray, smoothing it out by wetting my hands then spreading it out while still wet.

I baked it for 20 minutes to fully cook, since this is poultry, which can't simply be dehydrated, because of health issues. After fully cooked, and I had a large patty, I used scissors to cut it into large squares, which I then laid out flat on the baking tray. I then propped open the oven door slightly, set the oven to the lowest setting, approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 50 Celsius and let it dehydrate overnight.

In the morning I had a bunch of completely dry and shelf stable healthy nutrient packed doggy treats similar to Innovetpet doggy treats. They were crunchy like crackers, and even though I made these as a dog treat, you can do something similar, just add salt, and make low carb crackers/chips for yourself this way. If you want no carb, just leave out the sweet potatoes and just do greens and ground chicken or ground turkey.

Snickers loves these, and I break them into small pieces to put into her wobble toy.
And total cost? $2.50 or less, for much more than the 100 grams that came in the store bought version.

Feel free to play around with this recipe. You can use carrots or zucchini instead of sweet potatoes; you can use any greens you like as long as they're dog safe. Have fun and enjoy!

If you have a dog, what type of diet do you give them? Do you give them store bought kibble, etc, or homemade dog food? What do you give them for treats? Does this look like a recipe you'd try? If so, what veggies would you put in yours?
What is your favorite way to stimulate your dog's brain?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Why can't your DOG have gluten?

    1. She might be able to. I have done a lot of reading and it seems there is a debate about whether or not dogs should have grains, whether their bodies evolved to digest grains, and of grains, gluten is the most likely to cause irritation, so I'd rather just keep her off that. The previous owners got her from her original owners, on a diet of processed food and kibble, with wheat, etc... and they put her on a meat and veggie diet, completely grain free, completely real food, and her health issues went away. So if she's doing well like this, why change it?

  2. I've been feeding my dog grain free food for some time, and it turns out i'm harming her. Her cough is due to heart problems based on a grain free diet without taurine. Many people say dogs evolved to eat grain along with humans. Check it out and don't necessarily dismiss grain for Snickers.

    1. I've never heard of grains being a source of taurine. Fish, meat, and chicken are natural sources of taurine, not grains.

    2. https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/news/uc-davis-investigates-link-between-dog-diets-and-deadly-heart-disease

      Look it up--they're finding this more and more.

    3. Just read the article, and it was talking about dogs whose diets had legumes and potatoes instead of grains. It didn't talk about pets who eat a meat based diet. Its like those people who say gluten free diets arent healthy, when comparing gluten free junk food to whole grain. I'm not talking about replacing grains with beans, i'm talking about replacing grains with meat. Which is the natural source of taurine.

  3. Just make sure you have enough calcium for her (whole bones). A lot of people feed their pets a raw food diet and they do pretty well. Actually thinking of putting one of my cats back on a raw food diet, after all these years...

    1. Definitely! One of the main things we give her is actually raw chicken scraps, mainly meat with bones. Lots of calcium there.

  4. My dog is gluten intolerent and scratches her face if given them. She has gluten free kibble. Too many preservatives make her chew her paws. My dad feeds his dogs the barf diet. My dog wont eat raw meat, so does not work for her.

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