The Four Benefits of Homemade Dog Treats

With Dr. Gary Richter
Join Maria for a round-up of the benefits that come with making dog treats at home with expert insights about pet health and cannabis from holistic veterinarian, Dr. Gary Richter. From cutting out processed foods to saving dough, the benefits of cooking for your dog make getting into the kitchen worthwhile.
Meet Dr. Gary Richter, M.S., D.V.M., C.V.C., C.V.A.

#1 Amazon Best-Selling Author, The Ultimate Pet Health Guide

Dr. Gary Richter is an honors graduate of the University of Florida with a B.S. in animal science, an M.S. in veterinary medical science, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine. From 2002 to 2021, he was the owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. He launched Holistic Veterinary Care in 2009, also in Oakland, California. Dr. Richter is certified in veterinary acupuncture as well as veterinary chiropractic and uses these therapies along with his veterinary medical education to achieve better outcomes for his patients.

Dr. Richter’s animal hospitals have received more than 30 local and national awards, including Best Veterinary Hospital, Best Veterinarian, Best Canine Therapy Facility, and Best Alternative Medicine Provider. Dr. Richter was named one of the top ten veterinarians in the United States in 2012, and America’s Favorite Veterinarian in 2015 by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF). Dr. Richter also received The Holistic Practitioner of the Year Award from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association in 2019. For more information on Dr. Richter’s work, as well as pet health resources to complement his book, please visit

The Four Benefits of Homemade Dog Treats

#1 - Ingredient Control

When you make dog treats at home, you have complete control over the ingredients. This allows you to select high-quality, nutritious ingredients and avoid additives, preservatives, and fillers. You can cater to your dog's specific dietary needs or preferences, making treats suitable for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. By tailoring the treats to your dog's nutritional requirements, you can contribute to their overall health and well-being.

#2 - Taste & Variety

Homemade dog treats can be customized to suit your dog's taste preferences, ensuring they find them enjoyable. You have the flexibility to experiment with different flavors, textures, and shapes to make the treats appealing to your furry friend and mix things up so they aren’t eating the same thing day after day. More variety can also mean more nutrition as you incorporate a range of wholesome ingredients.

#3 - Bonding and Fun

After you make homemade treats for your pup once or twice, they’re sure to be in on to the process and get excited when you bake for them. Watching their tail wag as you prepare their treats is incredibly rewarding! Treat baking just might become both of your favorite bonding activities.

#4 - Cost Savings

Purchasing commercial treats can be expensive, especially if you have a large breed or your dog requires specific dietary options. Making treats at home allows you to buy ingredients in bulk, reduce expenses, and save money over time. And don’t forget the cost savings that come with better health and fewer vet visits thanks to your pet’s healthy diet!
The Ultimate Pet Health Guide

As a holistic veterinarian and scientist, Dr. Gary Richter helps dog and cat owners navigate the treatment options available for our pets and separate fact from fiction. He wants us to use what actually works, not just what Western science or alternative medicine say "should" work. This multifaceted approach to health is known as integrative medicine.

A holistic approach to health includes nutrition, as it sets up the foundation for your pet’s health. In the Ultimate Pet Health Guide, Dr. Richter cuts through the hype in the pet food world and explains how to choose the best commercial foods and supplements, and even includes both raw and cooked dog- and cat-food recipes for general diet as well as treat specific needs. He also explains how we can use the right foods and supplements to "hack" the body’s processes, including the immune system.

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Nine Nutritious Ingredients Your Dog Will Love

Remember to use these ingredients in moderation and avoid any that your dog may have allergies or sensitivities to. It's always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about specific ingredients for your dog's individual needs.
Rich in fiber and low in calories, pumpkin can aid digestion and promote healthy bowel movements for dogs. It also contains vitamins A, C, and E, which support immune function.
Sweet Potatoes
Packed with vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as fiber, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants. They promote a healthy coat, support eye health, and provide energy for active dogs.
These tiny berries are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They can boost the immune system, support brain health, and help prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Carrots are a good source of fiber and low in calories, making them an excellent ingredient for homemade dog treats. They contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A and supports eye health.
Apples are a tasty and nutritious treat for dogs. They contain vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and pectin, which support digestion. Shredded apples and applesauce are excellent ways to get apples into your dog’s treats.
Rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats are a wholesome ingredient for dog treats and a great alternative to wheat flour. They can aid in digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and provide a good source of energy. Oats also offer a chewy texture that dogs enjoy.
Peanut Butter (Xyloitol-free)
Peanut butter is a favorite among many dogs, but it's important to choose a variety that is free of xylitol, as it can be toxic to dogs. Peanut butter provides protein, healthy fats, and a delicious flavor. It can be used as a binding agent and adds a creamy texture to treats.
Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium for dogs. It can help support a healthy digestive system by providing beneficial probiotics. Additionally, dogs often enjoy the creamy taste of yogurt in treats.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system in humans and dogs, potentially providing various health benefits including relaxation, anxiety reduction, and reduced pain and inflammation.

Three Exclusive Recipes for Homemade Dog Treats

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Biscuits
Recipe #2
Recipe #3

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Biscuits for Dogs

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1 1/2 cups oats
2/3 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 cup peanut butter
CBD (optional)
  1. Begin by pre-heating your oven to 300 degrees.  Next, add 1 1/2 cups of oats to food processor. You’ll want to grind them until you reach a dry powder.
  2. Now add 2/3 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 125mg CBD Oil and blend to combine until you have a sticky dough.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.  You can use brown rice flour or almond flour if your dog is sensitive to wheat flour.   You can also set aside some of the ground oats to use for this as well.
  4. Use a small bone-shaped cookie cutter - you can customize the shape and size depending on how many servings and how many mg of CBD you want per serving.   (For “super quick and easy” you can just use a knife and cut into small, evenly sized squares - trust me your pup won’t mind.)
  5. Lay them on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes - until dry and firm. If you make larger-sized treats they may take a little longer to bake.
  6. Remove from oven and allow sufficient time to cool. Then give to your fur baby to enjoy!

Dr. Joan's Morning Beauty Smoothie Recipe

This recipe is really great. It limits carbs, gluten, nut and milk exposure for those who may have sensitivities. It's packed with super foods and antioxidants.
Collagen-Boosting Ingredients
1 cup spinach or kale
½ cup strawberries
½ cup blueberries
½ whole lemon
1 cup coconut milk
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 serving protein powder – plant based
1 HOLISTIK Beauty Stik
In a blender, mix the ingredients (adjusting as needed to taste) and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Pour in a glass and enjoy!

Get Ready for Bed with a Chamomile Lavender Tea

Looking for something to help you with a better night's sleep? This chamomile lavender bedtime tea is packed with ingredients known to help you sleep. This delicious sleep tea comes together in a snap with only a few simple ingredients. It's built for those last moments before bed to wind you down and prepare for the best sleep you've had in a long time.
Collagen-Boosting Ingredients
2 tsp dried chamomile
1 tsp dried lavender (culinary grade)
2 cups water
1 tsp raw honey
1 HOLISTIK Beauty Stik
Nutrition Info
Calories 16, Carbs 4 grams, Protein 1 grams, Fat 1 grams, Saturated Fat 1 grams, Sodium 13 milligrams, Fiber 1 grams, Sugar 3 grams
We Support The Veterinary Cannabis Society

In addition to full-time practice, Dr. Richter is a vocal advocate for the safe use of medical cannabis for animals. He was involved with the passage of AB 2215 in California, a bill that allows veterinarians to discuss cannabis with pet owners. Dr. Richter is also a sponsor of SB 627 in California which will further protect veterinarians and pet owners by allowing veterinary recommendation of cannabis. As a founding member and co-president of the Veterinary Cannabis Society, Dr. Richter is continuing his efforts to educate the veterinary profession, support safe cannabis products for animals, and advocate for regulatory and legislative change to protect animals and the veterinary profession.

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions about Homemade Dog Treats

Why make homemade dog treats?
Making treats yourself gives you control over what ingredients your dog consumes, and it’s a great way to give your pup some variety. Homemade dog treats are often more economical than commercial treats, even when you use high-quality ingredients. Plus, it’s fun to whip up something special for your furry friend!
Are homemade dog treats healthier than store-bought treats?
There are some incredible treats on the market these days that are loaded with healthy ingredients. However, you don’t always know how these processed treats were produced or how long they’ve sat on the shelf — not to mention the premium price tag that often comes with healthier “specialty” treats. So while you may be able to find treats that rival those you make at home in terms of ingredients, the only way to guarantee the quality and healthfulness of your dog’s treats is to make them yourself.
How long do homemade dog treats last?
Every dog treat recipe is different, so you should refer to the recipe you’re using to figure out how long your DIY dog treats will last. That said, we can offer a few tips for extending the life of your dog treats:
  • Firstly, make sure you store the treats properly. “Proper storage” depends on the recipe, but when in doubt, go with an airtight container. 
  • Consider refrigerating or freezing any treats your dog won’t eat in a few days to prevent the treats from molding or going stale. 
  • Finally, work on getting your treat batch sizes just right so you don’t have treats coming out your ears and expiring before they can be enjoyed.
How much CBD should I add to my dog’s treats?
Great question! There’s actually a little bit of nuance to this, so we dig in and share a simple calculation on this episode of know n’ go.

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