Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How To: Homemade Natural Dog Treat Recipe, Fresh Apples


We've been wanting to try our hand at making homemade natural dog treats ever since we brought Basil home. We've even found a few treats we love including Whoofles and Sam's Yams — both very simple treat concepts we love giving Basil.

Our recent trip to the apple orchard lent the perfect excuse to finally take on a recipe of our own as a way to help use up a small portion of the abundance of apples we brought home.


We were thrilled to find a simple recipe for natural dog treats incorporating fresh apples on this pet health and care resource website. One of the best parts about this recipe, as with the homemade ice cream we made, is how the base ingredients could quite literally substitute any additional ingredients to come up with different variations on these natural treats. For example, instead of fresh apple, we could have swapped in fresh sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots or a mixture of them all.
Here's how it all went down in our kitchen (We tripled the following recipe in order to use more apples and stock up on treats in one shot):

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 finely chopped or grated apple
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets.


Blend flour and cornmeal in large mixing bowl, then incorporate apple, egg, oil, brown sugar, and water until well blended. Flour your workspace and roll out dough to desired thickness. Mine was just under 1 inch thick and uneven in some spots (we'll call that homemade flair)...

Side note: the recipe called for finely chopped or grated apples. I chopped mine into large pieces, then slowly pulsed them in our food processor. This not only saved me time, but created semi-regular sized apple chunks to blend right into the rest of the base ingredients. I left the processed pieces fairly chunky instead of pureeing them, because I like the idea of being able to see the actual apple pieces throughout each treat.


Cut cookies to desired shape and size — I used a 4 inch dog bone shape from a cookie cutter I bought off Etsy. Find more variations and sizes here.


Place dog cookies on baking sheet and bake 35 minutes. After baking, turn oven off and leave cookies inside for another 30-45 minutes until crisp.


Once crisp, remove dog cookies from oven and let cool. Transfer to zipper bags or airtight containers and freeze to preserve freshness for your little one!

I made these late enough on Saturday, we had already dropped off Basil at his babysitter's house for the week while we are in NYC. So while we didn't get a chance to let him try them out yet, I did bring a small batch up with me to the Etsy offices where dogs are welcome. They were all happy pups so at least we know these treats weren't a failure. Gotta say I'm looking forward to testing them out on our little guy though.

We're definitely looking forward to making new batches of these — both with apples and other new natural ingredients. I'm thinking what a great holiday gift they'd make to those we know who have dogs and those that take care of dogs (all the fine folks who watch over Basil while we can't be around).

We'd love to know if you've tried making your own pet treats before and if so, what your favorite recipes are!


P.S. For those of you interested in recipes, check out this Halloween themed partner post we worked on at Etsy with the fine folks of Everyday with Rachael Ray. Plus, find a special $10 yearly subscription rate offer exclusive to Etsy readers right here.

49 comments:

  1. I cannot wait to try them this weekend. I am planning to add a bit of cinnamon too along with brown sugar :)

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  2. @Hande I think I would eat them if they had cinnamon and sugar in there. Sounds good to me!

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  3. Camille, I had no idea brown sugar was ok for dogs. Buddy loves these natural treats with apple and cinnamon from Fruitables and they smell amazing. Imagine how the homemade version will smell! I think I'll be having a few too.

    PS. Penny is cute :)

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  4. Buddy and I baked the apple treats last night. Well, I did most of the work and he just ate the small apple pieces that "accidentally" fell on the kitchen floor. Our house still smells like cinnamon apple bread. I haven't had the time to take photos, but they turned out yummy - thank you very much for the recipe!

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  5. Definitely going to make these! Its hard to find a dog treat recipe without peanut butter.

    Hi Basil! - From Izzy

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  6. I wonder if I could substitute semolina flour for the corn meal. It's pretty much the same texture and I'd like to avoid corn.

    Any thoughts?

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  7. @wafflegirl — I love the idea of substituting in the semolina flour. I think it would take just fine - hope you'll share pics and let us know how it went when finished!

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    1. I did end up using the semolina and it worked out just fine! Eliminating the corn makes it so much better for my dogs too; they are loving them.

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  8. Sounds yummy, but would leave out the brown sugar. No sugar for Doggies is best. Can use Molasses as the sweetener (unsulfured)

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    1. Disney Girl - what a great ideas for a sugar substitute! We will definitely try this. We hope you will also take a moment to check out our other sugar free dog treat recipes:

      Sugar-free carrot & banana: http://www.17apart.com/2012/02/how-to-carrot-banana-natural-dog-treat.html

      Sugar and Grain-free sweet potatoes: http://www.17apart.com/2012/02/how-to-make-sweet-potato-dog-chew.html

      Thanks again for the suggestion!

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  9. Do you think apple sauce will work instead of apples? Maybe baby apple sauce because it isnt processed?

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    1. Hey DeeDee — yes, applesauce would probably work really well in these treats!

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    2. Applesauce should work fine - use the unsweetened variety though.

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  10. I'd like to find a recipe that doesn't use wheat or corn for dog treats. Anyone got any suggestions? I might try to substitute rice flour or something like that.

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    1. Hey Jennifer,

      Thanks so much for asking! We have two recipes that don't include wheat or corn if you'd like to check them out:

      Homemade frosty paws: http://www.17apart.com/2012/05/how-to-homemade-frosty-paws-recipe.html

      Sweet Potato Chews: http://www.17apart.com/2012/02/how-to-make-sweet-potato-dog-chew.html

      Let us know if you give them a go and how your pups like them!

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    2. I bought organic rice flour at Krogers Grocery store and use it in my dog treats. I is surprisingly CHEAP and better for the dog.

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  11. I heard that pumpkin is good for dogs, helps settle an upset tummy. I found a recipe with some pumpkin but have not tried it yet. I'm going to try these treats though because my pomeranian loves apples!

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  12. Any chance rolled oats could be used instead of the corn meal? I'd rather not have to buy corn meal just for this treats.

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    1. What a great idea Susan — I bet so. If you try it I hope you will let us know how they turn out so we can adapt the recipe too!

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  13. I'm curious...why did you peel the apples?
    Thanks---I can't wait to try these!

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    Replies
    1. We could have kept the peels on no particular reason. Feel free to leave the peels on! Happy New Year!

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  14. How long does the treats last if kept in the fridge? I am new to making doggy treats. I wonder if I could keep what I need for the week in the fridge and keep the rest frozen?? I need help.....

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    1. Yes a week would be fine no longer. We actually pull them right from the freezer and give them to him. He loves them!

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  15. Made these at my daughters for her Pugabull and she LOVED em. I have 5 dogs ranging in size from Lab to Yorkie, I would like to make small (nickel size) treats ,any suggestions on cooking time ?

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    1. Total guess here but try 25 minutes then cut the oven off. You might just check them at the 20 minute mark. Basil says hello to all 5 of your dogs. Woof!

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  16. The difference in Jack is phenomenal – people actually think he’s a different dog! He was so sad before when he couldn’t join in and play with our other dogs, but now he’s so happy and lively.Canine Cataracts

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  17. I am taking in all the suggestions, will be using oats as a sub for cornmeal, and molasses for sugar. Cooking for 4 boxers takes a lot of food of any kind. They love treats and I do not mind when healthy. I'm anxious to try these and will be back for more recipes. I have run out of peanut butter as many dog recipes incorporate pb. Thanks for suggestions.

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  18. When using molasses instead of sugar, is there a measurment or just eyeball the amount? Thanks looking toward to trying this!

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  19. I stumbled across your site/blog when reading your DIY: Hanging Mason Jars. Haven't stopped reading your posts for over an hour and am so in love with all of the dog treat receipes! I can not wait to make these for my Boxer. He will enjoy these and other receipes. Thank you!

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  20. Now, how to get this gluten free?
    .........Brown rice flour instead of whole wheat flour?
    Am just going to get this tried as we all love apples here and have just enjoyed the wondrous Apple blossom and, sadly watch it wither and die now - the Japanese feel this sadness with the cherry blossom too.
    Hey, Apple's and cherries to come, treats in store for all - are you standing by with hints and ideas for us all?
    We do love this site and all our visitors are going away from Ireland with more than they bargained for. All rushing off full of zeal to grow celery, bok choy and spring onions, plus to make those wonderful dog biscuits - keep them coming ....... There are so many Basil types around and all standing by LITERALLY!

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  21. I made these a while ago and my dogs loved them! Even game some to the neighbors. Will be sharing and linking this recipe up on my blog later this month!

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  22. thanks for this and the bananna recipe, im going to try them both

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    1. Great Diane! Let us know how they turn out!

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  23. My dog loves apple slices, can't wait to try these out too:)

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  24. I love the freshness of this recipe, and i'm sure my pooch would too. I think I will give it a go. much appreciated!

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  25. What type of apple did you use?

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    1. We used Granny Smith apples only because that is what we had on hand.

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  26. Whats the deal with corn meal? Is it good or bad?

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    1. Corn meal worked for us in this recipe and we felt it turned out great!

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  27. Molasses is sugar, Honey is sugar. Sugar is sugar no matter what you call it.
    So little in this recipe I would not sweat it.

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  28. They are great just the way the recipe says! Baking a triple batch this afternoon to gift to all my dog-friendly friends for Christmas instead of exchanging costly people gifts this year! THANK YOU for ALL your terrific recipes so far! Keep them coming! Donna (JJ (lab), Bax (Amer/Eng Bulldog), LuBelle (princess Olde Eng Bulldogge) ... WOOF! ;)

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  29. It says you rolled this out just under 1 inch thick---it doesn't look anywhere near that in the pictures, and that seems awfully thick!

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  30. Thank you for this great, adaptable recipe! I used a large shredded carrot instead of the apple and added 1 TBLSP molasses, 1 teasp cinnamon and 1/4 teasp ginger. I don't have a fancy bone cutter so I just cut the 3/4" thick dough into 3/4" wide strips and some I cut to about 2" long, others smaller for little treats (but those cooked in less time and sat in turned-off oven for less time as well). My dogs LOVE them!!

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Thank you for taking the time to read and comment here in our corner of the world.

P.S. Any comments from the animal kingdom will be forwarded to Basil in a timely manner.