Making homemade treats can be a less expensive, healthier, and more manageable option for pets than going the store-bought route.

Our pets deserve the world. Since most of us can’t quite give them that, let’s go with the next best thing: treats. Homemade treats, to be exact.

There’s no better way to show your love for your pet than by feeding them with ingredients from your very own kitchen (but not table food).

We’ve got 10 puppy-perfected and cat-craved homemade treat recipes ready for you to try. Some might even have you tempted to taste them for yourself.

So preheat that oven, dig up those bone- and fish-shaped cookie cutters you ordered in the summer of 2020 when everyone was baking, and let’s make some treats!

Grain-free peanut butter dog treats

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups gluten-free baking flour (you can use wheat flour if your pup doesn’t need a grain-free diet*)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 1 egg

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Meanwhile, combine all ingredients until a dough forms. It should be firm enough to stand up to cutting with a knife or cookie cutter — you can thicken it up with more flour or peanut butter if needed. Alternatively, add more broth (a little at a time) if the dough is crumbly and too dry.
  2. Roll out dough to about 1/2-inch thickness and cut it into squares or use a cookie cutter to make shapes.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. Let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

*The Food and Drug Administration is looking into a possible link between grain-free diets and the development of heart disease in dogs. While grain-free treats are likely OK, a totally grain-free diet may not be the best bet. If you’re currently feeding your dog a grain-free diet or considering it, be sure to talk about it with your veterinarian.

3-ingredient dog treats

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 mashed banana

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Stir all ingredients together until well combined into a firm dough.
  2. Roll dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness and cut it into squares or use a cookie cutter.
  3. You can serve these ASAP, just as they are, or you can bake them for 10–15 minutes, until crispy.
  4. Store baked treats in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

No-bake pumpkin and rice dog treats

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked white rice (or you can substitute oats)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

How to make:

  1. Combine all ingredients well and form into balls. If the mixture is too wet, you can add more rice or peanut butter. If it’s too dry, add more pumpkin puree or some broth.
  2. Refrigerate or freeze any treats you’re not serving right away. (Since these aren’t baked, they must be refrigerated. You can refrigerate them for up to 5 days or freeze them for 2–3 months.)

Pupsicles (for dogs)

What you’ll need:

  • store-bought dog treats
  • water or chicken broth

How to make:

  1. Depending on the size of your dog and how large you want the pupsicles to be, place 1 or several treats in each cell of an ice cube tray or place a handful in a large, freezer-safe bowl.
  2. Fill the ice cube tray or bowl with chicken broth to cover the treats.
  3. Freeze until solid and serve to your pup on a hot day when they need something to keep them entertained and cool.

Cheesy bacon dog treats

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 3–4 strips bacon, cooked until extra crispy and then crumbled
  • 3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (optional)

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except chicken broth. If the dough is too dry and crumbly to work with, add chicken broth a little at a time until the dough is moist enough to shape.
  2. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness and cut into squares or use a cookie cutter.
  3. Bake the treats for 15–20 minutes or until golden brown, then let them cool before giving to your dogs.
  4. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Salmon cat treats

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces canned salmon (canned in water with no salt added is best)
  • 1 cup flour (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 egg

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until a soft dough forms.
  2. Roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness and cut into pieces using a knife or cookie cutter.
  3. Bake for 15–20 minutes. Let cool before serving.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Catnip cat treats

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces canned tuna (canned in water with no salt added is best)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons dried catnip

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, being careful to distribute catnip evenly throughout the mixture.
  2. Roll into 1/2-inch balls or roll out the dough and cut into tiny bite-size squares.
  3. Bake for 7–10 minutes, and then allow the treats to cool before serving.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Frozen cat food treat

What you’ll need:

How to make:

  1. Fill an ice tray with canned cat food and freeze until solid.
  2. Serve to your kitty on a hot day for a tasty, cooling treat.

Cheesy cat treats

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until a dough forms.
  2. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into small squares or use a cookie cutter.
  3. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before serving.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

No-bake fishy bites (for cats)

What you’ll need:

  • 3 ounces canned tuna, flaked
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • plain Greek yogurt, for binding

How to make:

  1. Combine tuna and oats, then add Greek yogurt slowly (1–2 tablespoons at a time) until the mixture holds together.
  2. Roll into small balls.
  3. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

First of all, making homemade treats is an expression of love — kinda like making brownies for your kids or whipping up your partner’s favorite meal.

Homemade treats also give you way more control over the ingredients. Many store-bought treats are made with the leftovers of the leftovers (like, stuff they won’t even put in hot dogs) and other fairly low quality filler ingredients.

Your dog or cat may not tolerate store-bought treats very well, or they may have allergies or another condition that requires a more specialized diet.

Plus, homemade treats will be less expensive than high quality store-bought treats made with similar ingredients. Cha-ching and meeee-ow!

Generally, vets recommend that your pets get no more than 10 percent of their daily calories from treats. This may require a little bit of napkin math and a call to your vet to ask how many calories your pet needs each day.

You can usually find the calorie content of your pet’s food on the bag or container. And you can easily calculate the nutrient content of your homemade dog treats using recipe builders on human food tracking apps like MyFitnessPal.

It’s important to stick to this guideline because the treats you give your pet may be a little more calorie-dense (have more calories in a smaller serving size) than their food. Feeding your pet too many calories could lead to obesity, which could put them at an increased risk of diabetes, heart problems, and joint problems.

In making homemade dog or cat treats, you may have a few that cause your pet to have a bad reaction, such as an allergic reaction or digestive issues. If this is the case, of course, stop feeding your pet the treat immediately and take them to the vet if they need medical care.

It may actually be easier to pinpoint the no-no ingredient in homemade treats than in store-bought treats, because the homemade treats have fewer ingredients overall.

If your pet has a pet food that they tolerate well, comparing your treat ingredients to the ingredients on the food container can help you narrow down the new ingredients introduced in the treat that they may be having issues with. Of course, you should also be in contact with your pet’s vet for help and guidance.

Here’s a quick reminder list of things that dogs and cats should NEVER eat (in treats or otherwise):

  • chocolate or cocoa
  • xylitol
  • onions, garlic, or chives
  • grapes, raisins, or grape juice
  • macadamia nuts (and nuts in general)
  • avocado
  • mushrooms
  • citrus fruits
  • coconuts or coconut oil
  • raw meat or eggs
  • yeast dough
  • alcohol
  • coffee, tea, or soda

It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that are high in fat or salt, because they can cause problems with your pet’s pancreas as well as other metabolic issues.

Hey, if you’re using human-safe ingredients, making them from scratch, and cooking them fully (or using ingredients that are safe to consume without cooking), then you do you, boo.

However, because our pups and kitties don’t really need any extra salt, sugar, or fat, their treats may not taste as yummy to you. You may also get some major side-eye from your pets for making moves on their munchies.

BTW, you should not eat store-bought pet treats or treats that are made from store-bought cat or dog food. While these products are technically Made from ingredients that are safe for humans to eat, they’re typically made with leftover animal parts — like bones, skin, and cartilage — and they’re definitely not intended for human consumption.

Homemade pet treats are a great way to control the quality of the treats your pet gets, show them love with a yummy homemade goodie, and save money.

Be sure not to feed your pet too many treats (no matter how adorably they beg for them), and be careful to avoid ingredients such as chocolate, xylitol, onions, and grapes, which can be harmful to dogs and cats. And if you wanna give your homemade treats a taste, make sure they’re fully cooked.

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