Pet Treat Recalls Have Us Making Our Own

I know many of our Living Large community are pet lovers.

Since 2007, when ingredients traced back to China began making pets in the U.S. sick and killing some, I’ve been doing the same thing for our pets as I have for our own food: Reading labels.

If we didn’t have a 6-pack of rescued dogs, I would definitely make our own pet food, but that is nearly impossible both financially and logistically with so many animals in the household.

I do read labels on our commercial dog food, trying to keep it grain free and organic, with companies I know source their ingredients in the U.S.

As for treats, I haven’t bought commercial dog treats for at least two years, when stories started surfacing about those making animals sick.

Stories such as this one from NBC that reports as many as 500 pets have died from jerky treats made in China, scare the daylights out of me.

We either buy human treats such as cheese or sodium free or low sodium crackers or we buy homemade treats from our local rescue, which also serves as a fundraiser for them.

In December, a good friend of mine who is also Chloe’s self-appointed Godmother, sent us some homemade treats, along with the recipe for the cookies, which my dogs went crazy over.

I made some as gifts for the neighbor dogs and they also begged for more. Next month, I’m going to get together with the neighbor to make up a couple of batches for all of our dogs. The only thing on the ingredient list I had trouble finding was rye flour, which I had to buy in bulk at the health food store.

The credit goes to Holistic Animal Care, Tucson, Arizona, 1995:

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ cup rye flour

¼ cup cornmeal

¼ cup hulled sunflower seeds (without salt)

¼ cup natural molasses

2 Tbsp. melted butter

2 eggs

¼ cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flours, cornmeal and seeds. Beat eggs, add milk (save 1 tbsp. and keep cool for later). Slowly fold molasses and egg mixture, adding more milk if needed to firm dough. Use hands and knead well, cover and let rest for 45 minutes.

Roll out dough to ½ inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter or freehand. Dip fingers in the saved egg/milk and rub over cookies.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 min. or until toasted. To make bones harder, leave in the oven after the heat is turned off.

Do you make your own pet food and treats?

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25 Responses

  1. My dog only has three teeth so hard dog treats are out of the question for him anyway. Frankly, one of his favorite snacks is spaghetti noodles.

  2. I had to go all the way down a very long aisle in PetsMart, reading labels all the way, before I could find treats not made in China. But I did find several. When we run out of the present stock, I’ll try these. But they sound yummy. How do you keep the humans from eating them?

  3. Mary says:

    My dog started having seizures and the vet couldn’t figure out way so, we took away all commercially made dog foods and treats 3 years ago and she hasn’t had a seizure since. My dog is only 6lbs so maybe she is super sensitive but I’m happy to do whatever is best for her, she 9 years old now.

    • Kerri says:

      Wow, Mary, a very scary thing to have happen to your little fur kid, but I’m glad you got it figured out. Some pets, just like some children, are very sensitive to any processed food.

  4. We do make some, but we also buy some. Lately, ONLY from local treat makers we personally know. Alas, our FAV, FAV, FAV uber-local dog treat company is shutting down. We’re so bummed. There is some interesting research going on to try and figure out what’s wrong with these treats from China (separate from government efforts). Not sure if this link will work, but …

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for the link, Roxanne. This is scary stuff. Sorry you’re losing your local treat maker. When we’re in Kansas City, I will also buy our dogs a special treat of Three Dog Bakery products, as it started as a local company. They sell online. Possibly another resource for you.

  5. Denise says:

    How many treats does this recipe make? Assuming they are small cookie size, like 2 tbs. of dough.

    • Kerri says:

      It makes quite a few Denise, I didn’t count them, but my dogs received a full freezer bag from my friend. When I made them, I gave them to the neighbors also in full freezer bags (1 pound). I would say at least 2 dozen. You can also freeze them if it makes too many for your dogs to eat in a week’s time.

  6. Kris says:

    We don’t have dogs, but I love that you’re working cooperatively with your friend to make these!

  7. Love that you are making these yourself. Healthier for your dog, for sure.

  8. Love that you are making these yourself. Healthier for your dog, for sure.

  9. merr says:

    Some time ago our vet told me to not only read the labels of dog treats but to note the country of origin. Best to buy what is made right here.

  10. Absolutely love it that you posted this tried-and-true recipe for dog treats. Instead of taking a bottle of wine to a party, take dog treats. (You might check with hostess to see if her dog has any dietary restrictions.

    • Kerri says:

      And my readers have you to thank for this wonderful recipe, Judith! I so love that you sent the dogs treats and you keep Chloe and the rest of the 6-pack in your thoughts.

  11. ChristineGL says:

    When our dog was still alive, yes, I made him treats. biscuits and such. I enjoyed doing that very much.

  12. Alexandra says:

    China, the country where there is so much pollution in the cities that people are advised to stay inside and wear masks. It’s good to have this reminder that there are other options, for both pets and people. I’ve been working on my daughter to make food for her baby from scratch: so much better for her and no risk or environmental poisons if she uses organic basics.

    • Kerri says:

      I know, Alexandra. I had the same thoughts the other day on our Facebook page. We’re importing most of our garlic and various other edible items for our families, including our pets, from a country where they have to wear gas masks on certain days to breathe? It makes no sense to me.

  13. V Schoenwald says:

    Thank you for sharing, Kerri. I have wanted to make treats for my dog as, first, I don’t have the money to buy expensive treats, and two, I do not trust ANY products anymore. I read labels constantly and all I see is China, both for people food and animal, so no way. I make or go without.
    I have been even going so far as to find a source for raw hide to make my own chews for my dog and basting them in beef broth.
    Thank you

    • Kerri says:

      Good hearing from you, I was just thinking about you this morning! This is a fairly inexpensive and easy recipe and that batch makes a bunch. Let us know how your dogs like it!