Healthy and Homemade? 6 DIY Treats to Gift Your Dog this Holiday Season
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Tie on an apron and throw on your chefs hat: it’s time to channel your inner restaurateur! Not only are DIY treats a fun and special treat to make for your pet, you can also control precisely what’s going into them (allergies who?). Our dogs have been good boys and girls all year long, and they deserve to be included in the festivities, so fire up the oven and pull out the blender—we’re crafting!
Tools of the Trade: What You’ll Need To Make DIY Pet Treats
Whether you’re making DIY frozen paws or baked biscuits, you’re going to need a few basic supplies to get started. Nothing out of the ordinary, and chances are you probably already have many of these items lying around the house. Here are a few suggestions of what you may need:
Ziploc or sandwich bags (to create a piping bag for more precise pouring)
Variety of mixing bowls and storage containers
Holiday molds, paw molds or ice cube trays
Blender or food processor
Cookie cutter (Holiday shapes are a must!)
Holiday spirit! (Homemade is best, avoid store bought whenever possible.)
Part of the joy of DIY is you can make half a recipe or double it, depending on how many treats you need (remember to refer to your own judgment on this, because your pup is sure to tell you they need way more treats than however many you made).
Going off-book and need more info on what fruits and vegetables are safe for your dogs to eat? Check out this handy blog: Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can’t Eat.
** Disclaimer: These are treats, not meals, so feed in moderation as beneficial extras! Remember your pet’s treats shouldn’t account for more than 10% of their total daily calorie intake. We recommend using these treats to further diversify a varied fresh food diet. Consult your vet before feeding new ingredients**
1. Frozen Holiday Dinner Paws
Remember Willy Wonka’s 3-course dinner chewing gum? We’ve gone and found the perfect doggy version of that versatile treat. Fortunately, this one is better than fiction with elements of turkey dinner, side dishes of spinach and cranberries, and a subtle je-ne-sais-quois sweetness in the creamy yogurt and coconut water for dessert. Your dog won’t be begging at the Christmas table with this special dinner treat of their own!
1 cup of Red Dog Blue Kat Turkey Complete meal for dogs
1 cup frozen cranberries (or frozen raspberries!)
1 cup organic spinach or kale
2 tablespoons goat milk or plain greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons of filtered water or coconut water
Thaw out the RDBK Turkey Complete in the fridge. Keep it in its packaging overnight beforehand and place into its own bowl when starting the recipe.
Blend the frozen cranberries with goat milk in a food processor or blender, and set aside in its own bowl. Add more goat milk if the mixture is too thick.
Blend the spinach with water in a food processor or blender, and set aside in its own bowl. Add a little more water in small doses if the mixture is too thick.
Optional: Fold the open edges of a ziplock bag over your hand so you can fill your impromptu piping bag without making a mess. When it’s half-to-three-quarters full, seal the bag and put a clip or elastic band at the fill line so the contents won’t flow upwards when you’re trying to squeeze out the mixture. Snip off one (small!) corner of each bag for extra precision when you’re filling each layer. Repeat for each of the 3 mixtures.
Layer 1: Pipe (or spoon, if you’ve declined to go the piping route) a thin layer of the cranberry mixture into your mold and freeze for 30 minutes–1 hour.
Layer 2: Pipe or spoon a short layer of the spinach mixture into your mold and freezer for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Layer 3: Pipe or spoon a layer of the RDBK Turkey
5. Freeze for 4 - 5 hours
*Important reminder: This recipe calls for defrosting and refreezing raw meat; this is not something we normally encourage, however in small amounts, and with these treats being eaten right away, it can be relatively safe. We recommend feeding shortly after making any of these treats.
Why We Love This Recipe (and why your dog will too):
Red Dog Blue Kat Turkey Complete: A healthy diet for pets includes a variety of fresh, whole, and minimally processed ingredients. Turkey meat is high in zinc, potassium, and selenium; zinc is essential for metabolic function, immune system health, wound healing, thyroid function, blood clotting, and correct development in young dogs.
Cranberries: When fed in moderation, cranberries can improve your dog's urinary health, promote a healthy gut and support the immune system, and even help to prevent cancer!
Spinach: Leafy greens are considered a superfood since they’re rich in nutrients that are essential for pet health. Greens like spinach and kale are high in beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, which helps to support healthy bones, and a healthy heart.
Goat Milk: A naturally-occurring probiotic support for the gut.
2. Cookies for Santa Paws
We’re not going to make false promises to you and say these cookies will last long enough to be left out for Santa—not if your dog has anything to say about it! Balancing the perfect amount of crunch and flavour in equal measure, these are a dog-friendly counterpart to traditional peanut butter cookies.
2 cups fresh sweet potato puree (or two medium sweet potatoes)
1 organic egg
1/2 cup oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp of all natural peanut butter (ensure no xylitol)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and quarter two medium sweet potatoes and bring to a boil in a pot of water. Reduce to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain cooked potatoes and puree using a blender or food processor.
Stir together the flour, oats, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg, sweet potato and peanut butter together until combined.
Stir the wet ingredients into dry and knead the ingredients into a dough. Add small splashes of water if the dough has a crumbly texture.
Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll dough out to 1/4–3/8 thick. The dough will be a little sticky, so dust your hands and the rolling pin with a bit of flour to help!
Cut out using a holiday cookie cutter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
Place on cooling racks and let cool thoroughly. They will harden as they cool.
What’s Great About These Treats:
Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are an excellent source for beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. This antioxidant can help support the immune system and lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Eggs: A great source of a complete protein and fat-rich fuel! Remember, eggs are as healthy as the chickens that lay them, so organic, free-range is always best. (Yes…it appears we’re settling that debate: the chicken comes before the egg.)
Natural peanut butter: When fed in moderation, peanut butter can be a great source of protein and healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin.
Cinnamon: This spice is abundant in anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for aging pups with arthritis or muscle soreness. It is also a wonderful antioxidant that can help regulate blood sugar and even reduce bacteria and yeast growth in the body. That being said, only use the recommended amount, as an overabundance of cinnamon can result in upset tummies.
3. Dog Nog
Truly, eggnog is the uncontested drink of the season. Denying our dogs this creamy, decadent treat seems too cruel to even consider, so we went and made this scrumptious drink dog-friendly. And since it’s made in two steps with only seven simple ingredients (a recent and completely unbiased survey by our taste-tester Goose has revealed that dehydrated treat toppers are, in fact, a necessary component), this is a treat your dog will adore long after you’ve taken down the tree.
1/2 cup goat milk, kefir or plain greek yogurt
1 raw organic egg
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 tablespoon local honey
1/4 cup coconut whipping cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Red Dog Blue Kat Dehydrated treats
Combine the goat milk, raw egg, sweet potato, honey, and cinnamon together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Pour the dog nog mixture into a serving bowl and add a layer of coconut cream, and top with your dogs favourite biscuit.
Why You’ll Love Seeing Your Dog Lick the Bottom of this Glass:
Raw Goat Milk: A great source of gut-boosting probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Remember, cow milk is not a suitable substitute here!
Egg: Provides a protein and fat-rich fuel for whatever activities the day may bring.
Sweet Potato: We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: sweet potatoes are an excellent source for beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Immune system support, lower risk of heart disease, and lower risk of some cancers? Sweet potato has you covered.
Local honey: Support your local bees, and they’ll support you…and your immune system! Local honey (and we mean as local local as you can get) can help control allergy symptoms, skin issues, and maintain a healthy weight. Due to its sugar content, we recommend using honey in moderation. Not sure where to find honey made near you? Try checking out your local farmers markets and craft sales!
Cinnamon: Again, we don’t recommend going overboard with free pours of cinnamon, but there are some benefits here: cinnamon is full of anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for aging pups with arthritis or muscle soreness. It’s also a wonderful antioxidant that can help regulate blood sugar and even reduce bacteria and yeast growth in the body.
Coconut cream: This dairy-free alternative is said to strengthen the immune system and improve the appearance of the coat. Just be sure to go easy on this one due to the high-fat content; if your pup is more sensitive to higher fat treats, then you may want to stick with some of our other delectable treat recipes.
4. Beef Meatballs
Honestly, it doesn’t get much easier than this 3-ingredient meal. In fact, the hardest part about this treat will be stopping your dog from scarfing down the whole tray before they cool!
**Important reminder: this is a “you have to know the rules before you can break the rules” scenario: we don’t recommend cooking our meals regularly (it would be a unique strategy for a raw pet food company if we did). However, on the rare occasion when you’re treating your pet to something different, remember that you can only cook meals WITHOUT ground bones—our red meats are OK (bone powder is fine to cook) but never cook our poultry or fish meals**
8 oz. of Red Dog Blue Kat Beef (and Vegetables) Complete meal for dogs
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup finely chopped carrots
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Blend the RDBK food and carrots together. Once thoroughly mixed, add the oatmeal and blend again.
Roll into 1” meatballs and bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool before treating your dog!
All the Benefits Rolled Into One Tasty Snack:
Beef: Looking for a broad spectrum of minerals and vitamins? Beef has you covered with calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc! Need more? It’s also a significant provider of the molecule carnosine, which provides amino acids that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function. There are so many benefits to this protein—one of the main ones being that pups rarely turn their noses up at it!
Carrots: A great dose of vitamin A and fibre!
Oatmeal: If you have a dog with a sensitivity to wheat or grains, oatmeal might be the right alternative carbohydrate for you! It also has vitamins to help keep their coat and skin healthy, and it’s a healthy dose of soluble fibre for expedient evening walks.
5. Carob & Peanut Butter Treats
We love our dogs and want them to be happy, which makes the fact that they can never have chocolate particularly tragic. Fortunately, carob is low fat, with no caffeine or theobromine, but a similar taste to chocolate, and best yet it’s safe for dogs! Add that with peanut butter, and this could be a treat even you might enjoy. This is a particularly rich and sweet dessert—peanut butter, in particular, is high in natural fats and proteins—so take extra care to feed this one in moderation.
1 cup all-natural peanut butter
½ cup OLIE natural coconut oil
2 teaspoons of carob powder (and extra for sprinkling)
Place your silicone molds (bonus points if you have Christmas-themed ones) on a stable surface and sprinkle carob powder so that it lightly coats the bottom of the molds. Set aside.
Melt coconut oil until liquid and stir in peanut butter so that it combines.
Add carob powder into the mixture and make sure it’s thoroughly combined.
Use a piping bag (or you can simply use a spoon) to fill the molds with your mixture.
Put molds in the freezer on a flat surface and let them sit in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.
You can store these in the freezer for prolonged use as long as they’re contained in an airtight container!
What’s Sweet About These Treats:
All Natural Peanut Butter: We’ve already had the chance to mention all the benefits of peanut butter, but here they are again—full of healthy fats, proteins, and B3 niacin.