Make your own frozen dog treats — grain-free and healthy

August 13 | Guest post by Marisa (a.k.a. RedSquirrel)

frozentreatsDuring the summer months, my dog Hector gets overheated really fast. He's a Corgi-black lab mix, so no matter what the season he's got a thick black coat surrounding his stumpy little body at all times.

I started making him homemade treats immediately after my partner and I adopted him, because at the time he was, uhh, a little on the portly side! Plus, being the type of dog that will eat anything and everything he finds on the ground (he once ate part of a tree branch just for the hell of it), it's nice to be able to control what goes into his snacks when he's at home.

This recipe came about after I made a large batch of stock from the remains of a roasted chicken, and it's both easy and economical. It's also pretty versatile, and requires little-to-no cooking (perfect for summer when you don't want to turn on the oven). You can use any type of meat or fish depending on your dog's tastes (see the last paragraph for variations I've tried).

IMG_2483

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • 2 cups cooked meat/poultry/fish (I pulled all the residual chicken-bits off the bones after I strained the stock, and ended up with about 2 cups' worth).
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • Small handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, cooked and mashed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

INGREDIENT NOTES:

  • I used yogurt to hold everything together, because it's good for digestion and will satisfy your pooch's craving for dairy products without upsetting their stomach like cheese or milk.
  • Olive oil is good for keeping his coat shiny and soft.
  • Parsley is a great breath-freshener…you can also use fennel seed or fresh fennel fronds.
  • Carrots are the sneaky way of getting him to eat his veggies!

IMG_2486
INSTRUCTIONS:
Stir all the ingredients together, and freeze in ice cube trays. For little dogs (or cats!), you can pour the mixture into a piping bag and pipe little droplets onto a parchment-lined baking sheet before freezing.

frozentreats
VARIATIONS:

  • Instead of carrots and parsley, use chunky natural peanut butter (the 100% peanut kind with no sugars or additives).
  • For extra breath-busting action, substitute the parsley for two teaspoons of activated charcoal. This is usually found in capsules — just break open a few capsules and add the powdered charcoal.
Licking chops, post-frozen treat!
Licking chops, post-frozen treat!
  1. Hector is SUCH a cutie-pie!

    I think I may try this for my cats. Thank you!

    3 agree
    • You can probably do something similar for cats, but they don't really need any of the vegetables. You'd have to be careful with the yogurt too, as cats can't process dairy (despite stereotypes). Of course, it varies from animal to animal. Some chicken or beef broth would be good for cats or dogs, too, especially if homemade.

      1 agrees
    • Thanks! So far I haven't tried making treats for our cat, unlike Hector he's very persnickety about food :-P

      0 agree
  2. He is one of those dogs that just makes you smile! I bet he does get really hot, being closer to the hot pavement with those little legs. It also looks like this would make the best Kong toy filling ever! I freeze a couple Kongs at a time so they keep my dog occupied longer.

    3 agree
  3. These look doggie-delicious! We make similar treats for our little lady using liver in place of the chicken. We typically bake them, though, which requires adding some sort of grain to hold things together. I love the idea of freezing them. It's perfect for the summer and grain-free.

    2 agree
    • I've made baked treats before, usually using brown rice flour or mashed lentils. My current project is figuring out how to make homemade dental chews (like Greenies) but Hector just demolishes them no matter how hard they are!

      1 agrees
  4. WARNING, do not use homemade stock that contains onions, garlics, or leeks. Anything from the allium family is TOXIC to dogs and cats. I know this because I once fed a sick cat broth from my freezer that I had made and frozen (as it is my habit to do) with a chicken carcass and all the vegetable ends. I got chided by the vet, and was really scared that my poor cat would die.

    4 agree
  5. I frequently make my dogs stew and cookies. A few weeks ago, I made frozen treats out of mashed sweet potatoes, chicken and a bit of broth all of which I then used the leftovers in a pot of doggie stew. I gave the frozen treats to my dogs and they both loved them, but one of them immediately threw up. I thought maybe it was unrelated, so a few days later I gave her another one and same thing–within seconds of eating it. The stew that I gave them gave her no issues. Is it possible that she had some weird reaction to the temperature?

    1 agrees
    • Maybe the coldness hurt her mouth, so her instinct was to cough it up? If the other dog was okay, maybe she just has sensitive teeth or something.

      1 agrees
  6. thanks for the idea!

    my husband and I are both vegetarians, and we just bought a new house; the owners left a bunch of random meat in the deep freeze and we were looking for ways to not waste it, but not eat it ourselves. This is a great way for us to use up what looks to be good steaks and chicken breast down in the freezer when we ourselves aren't going to be eating it. Our two dogs will love them! :)

    2 agree
  7. How long can it be kept in the freezer before it starts to spoil? About how many pieces can one recipe make?

    0 agree
  8. Just wanted to tell you that my vet told me that carrots are good (to gnaw on) for dogs teeth so I'll buy a big carrot at the store, cut it in half and give each half to my dogs to chew. It takes them a long time, it's good for their teeth and they love it. I'll have to make these cold treats for my dogs, since I live in a desert and it's VERY HOT. But just wanted to let you know that if your puppy likes carrots, you might want to slip him one to chew on too. Of course, watch them to make sure they don't choke.

    0 agree
  9. LOVE this idea!! Carrots are fantastic for dogs – frozen for pups to chew on, or older dogs as a kind of…carrot-sicle!! ;) Plus they are an epic alternative to treats for a…stocky dog as they just pass straight through them! We get through so many between the humans the canines and the rabbit in our house! I've been looking for a great way to freeze something (our guys love ice cubes but I wanted to give them something more) and this has given me a ton of ideas!

    Just as a FYI, you can do ice cubes made from stock and fish/chicken etc for cats too, just watch what stock/gravy you use as some shop bought ones can be really high in salt.

    0 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.