Caring for a dog is by no means cheap.
Annual costs can exceed $800, according to one survey by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with a year’s worth of food and treats for a large dog setting owners back more than $300 on average.
But spoiling rewarding your dog with biscuits and bones doesn’t have to break the bank.
Here are some DIY dog treat ideas that will have your pup and your wallet begging for more:
Make your own dog biscuits.
Store-bought biscuits can add up fast, with many brands costing upwards of $5 a box.
You don’t need to stock up on a bunch of costly, special ingredients to make your own dog treats – many homemade biscuits can be whipped together with pantry staples you probably already own.
Take this simple treat recipe highlighted on the Thrifty Fun website:
Combine 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour, ½ cup of powdered skim milk, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, one beaten egg and some broth or canned tuna water to make a dough.
Roll out the dough and cut into shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Izzy’s Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuits also rely heavily on household staples, such as shredded cheese, applesauce and oats (buy the barley flour in the bulk foods section of your local grocer so you spend only on what you’ll need).
Some easy and cheap homemade biscuits, like this one featured on The Kitchn, also feature bacon fat as a key ingredient, so be sure to set aside some grease in a jar next time you fry up some slices for breakfast.
Look to your roots (vegetables).
Sweet potato and pureed pumpkin make tasty and nutritious treats for you and your dog.
Bake sweet potato slices to substitute for store-bought biscuits, stuff baked yams or plain canned pumpkin in a toy designed to hold treats, or freeze the pureed pumpkin in ice cubes for a summertime snack.
Don’t have time to bake (or freeze) those vegetables? Raw carrots make an excellent and edible chew toy, especially for teething puppies.
Kale chips = super food for a super pup.
Kale is another super food that isn’t just for humans.
Throw fido the fibrous stalk left over from your dinner or go ahead and bake a batch of kale chips for you and your dog to share by popping some leaves tossed with olive oil in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
As Modern Dog magazine points out, make sure to skip the salt on the chips you plan on feeding your dog.
Torey Van Oot is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and co-publisher of Wag Work Wine, a website by, about and for your professionals with pups.