To save money, and to feed our girls a more healthy treat, I set out to make my own homemade dog treats.
Yesterday (March 23rd) was National Puppy Day! This day was established by Colleen Paige in 2006.
National Puppy Day is a special day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. But more importantly, it’s a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills.– Colleen Page, www.nationalpuppyday.com
My husband and I recently welcomed a new puppy into our home! We have a 3 1/2 year old Bernese Mountain dog named, Snugglepumpkin (Snugs for short), and we felt it was time for her to have a sister. Orla was born on January 9, 2019, and she came home with us on March 1, 2019.
If you are here, I’m sure you know how fun AND difficult it can be to train a new puppy. Everything is a brand new experience for them, and they are continually learning!
When 1 1/2 year old Snugs came home with us, it took us about 4 months to fully train her. Unsurprisingly, we are still in the process of training Orla. Thankfully, she has potty training down!
Buying training treats all the time can be very expensive, and many of the ingredients used in the treats are not very wholesome or “natural”. In an effort to save money, and to feed our girls a more healthy treat, I set out to make my own homemade dog treats.
I found this recipe from McCann Dog Training, and my dogs LOVE it! They really gravitate to the smell of the treats, and they LOVE the taste! These are a high quality treat for our dogs, and they are quick and easy to make.
Flour is used as a binder in the treats. As long as you use a flour that is not inflammatory for your dog, it can be perfectly fine to feed to your dog.
When I made this recipe for my dogs, I used all purpose flour. Some dogs may have allergies to different kinds of flours. So, monitor your dog when giving them treats made with flour. Suitable flour options for your dog may include:
Tuna is a high-protein ingredient used in this recipe, and it works well as a training tool for dogs because it has a highly pungent smell! The smell of these treats attracts dogs’ attentions, and it can help direct your dog to take certain actions when training.
Using a low-sodium tuna packed in water is a healthier choice for your dog because they are not ingesting all the salt in traditionally packed canned tuna. If the tuna is packed in only olive oil, I would feel comfortable giving it to my dog. Otherwise, I would avoid using tuna packed in different oils as they can be inflammatory to dogs.
In addition to tuna, cheese is a good source of protein, and it is also smelly. The “stankier” the cheese, the more the dog will be attracted to the cheese. I like to use sharp cheddar in my treats (that I grate myself), but feel free to use any cheese your dog likes.
Grab and Go Training Packets
Ken from McCann Dog Training provides a very helpful tip for using these treats. He recommends packaging these treats in individual portions in your fridge. So, when you are ready to work on training your dog, the correct portion for your dog is all ready to go! It makes the treats very convenient and easy to work with.
My dogs love these treats, and I’m happy I have found a less expensive and healthier treat for our furry family members.
Let me know if you try them, and let me know if your dogs love them! Happy training!
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4 Ingredient Homemade Dog Treats
- 1 cup Flour *
- 1/2 cup Cheese, grated **
- 5 oz Tuna, canned
- 1 large Egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grate cheese, and add all ingredients into a medium sized bowl.
- Mix well until a dough forms. (I like to use my hands and really knead the dough together).
- Coat 8″ x 8″, oven-safe, baking dish with cooking spray. Press mixture into an even layer into baking dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes, and remove the mixture from pan onto a cutting board.
- Cut mixture with a chef’s knife, or pizza cutter, into small pieces (about the size of a thumbnail).
- Return cut treats to baking dish and bake at reduced temperature of 275 degrees for an additional 40-60 minutes. Check dog treats at 40 minutes, and every 5 minutes thereafter, until treats are dried and golden brown. The treats will continue to dry out as they cool.
- Let treats cool and give to your furry friends!
UPDATE: Since the recipe was originally posted, it has become Clean Fingers Laynie’s number one post! So, I shared another recipe for 3 ingredient, Homemade Gluten-Free Dog Treats. To see how Snugs and Orla are doing, and to find the recipe, click here!
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All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am NOT a doctor, nutritionist or registered dietitian. Please check with your veterinarian about any concerns regarding your pets’ nutrition. CleanFingersLaynie is not responsible for any adverse effects from following the advice provided.
46 Replies to “4 Ingredient High Quality Homemade Puppy/Dog Training Treats”
My puppies loved them!! So easy to make 😀
Thank you! So glad they worked out for you and your puppies!
Be careful using tuna because of high levels of mercury. People shouldn’t eat much tuna for same reason. Substitute salmon canned 5 oz.
My dogs love these! Super easy to make and smell delicious! Mine were are lot thinner though because I spread them out in a bigger baking dish. But still turned out great and made more.
So glad your pups love these as much as mine do! I bet you were able to get more of them since you spread them thinner. Thank you so much for the feedback!!!
My three dogs LOVE them. I used my own homemade canned tuna as my husband fishes for them. Very healthy and easy to make!
I’ve never heard of making homemade tuna! But it sounds even better! So glad you and your dogs LOVE them!!! Thanks for sharing!
I only had almond flour and they crumbled quite bit but my puppy loves them.
Plan to try them again with all purpose. Thanks for the recipe!
Jessie, please be aware that almonds aren’t great to feed to dogs. It’s been a long time since you commented but maybe this will help someone else that comes across this.
These treats are great. We do LOTS of training so I use 50% oat flour and 50% tapioca flour. The tapioca makes treats much less crumbly so they stay together in your pocket or bait bag. Happy Training! My dogs say “Hi”
Thanks for sharing the ratio of flour you use! I’m sure it will help someone else that makes lots of treats too! Give your dogs lots of love from me! <3
Are these treats crunchy or soft?
When I make these treats, I like them to be drier. So, they tend to be on the crunchier side. However, they do retain a slight softness, and they will be softer if you do not cook them as long.
Adding tapioca flour (I use 50/50 oat and tapioca flours) and decreasing the cheese (I use 1/4 c. parmesan) will keep these as soft, non-crumbly (but still stinky!) training treats.
great idea. I’m going to try that next.
My pups all loved these but it was a lot of work for a little yield. I next used a 12 oz. can of tuna, 270g of all purpose flour, 2 large eggs and 6 oz of coarsely grated cheddar, I mixed it up in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Then I chilled it for an hour before spreading it out in a big square on a parchment-lined rimless cookie sheet. The rest I did according to the instructions except I did the second, low-temperature bake in a 9 X 13 glass casserole. Yield 5 cups. Love knowing what is in my fur babies’ food.
What is a good substitute for the cheese but still make these treats “stinky” as my pup is sensitive to dairy.
Good question! I’ve never tried making them without cheese, but the tuna should have enough of a smell to entice your pup. 🙂
If your dough mixture is too dry without the cheese, try adding another egg to help the mixture stick together. Let us know how it turns out if you try it! You can also try my peanut butter oat banana treats that’s linked in the post above that has no dairy.
We’ve been making these without cheese and using a little less (rice) flour, and out pup loves these treats! I don’t think the cheese makes a big difference, at least not for our lab.
Hi you. You can use soy, almond, and oats milk instead if your baby is allergic to dairy
Currently making these for my pup. I decided to use whole wheat flour. Not sure about my pups allergies yet. Thank you.
Dog treats are so expensive. These are cheap, easy, and my pup loves them!
I agree! They can be so expensive! Glad your pup loves them! Thanks for sharing!
Hi everyone! I used the recipe as called for. I couldn’t find low sodium tuna, so I substituted salmon. I also used silicon pyramid- shaped sheets and the dough fit perfectly. Our puppy loves them! Thanks for the recipe!!!
Could we used can chicken instead of canned tuna?
As long as your dog can tolerate chicken, it would work just as well! You may need to add a little extra water if your mixture is too dry.
Do you drain the tuna ?
No, I do not drain the tuna. Great question!
Super easy with such clean ingredients! My lab puppy LOVES these!
100% recommend making for your puppo’s!
I used the full can of tuna without draining.
I was using the tiny training treat silicone molds, so I added water until I was able to pour it and smooth it around the tray.
They’re a huge hit with my boys!
Can I use canned tripe instead of tuna and is it possible to cook these in a dehydrator instead so I don’t have to stink up my house?
Hi Patti! I did some research, and generally, it looks like canned green tripe is safe for dogs. It sounds like it would be a good substitute if your dog can tolerate it well! I’ve never used tripe before, so if you do, you’ll have to let us know how it goes!
These are my dogs favorite high value treat. Better than any store bought treat he’s ever tried. He will literally do ANYTHING for them. They are so easy to make also which saves me time. I substituted with rice flour since he has some allergies. They turned out nice and crispy, and he just loves them! I also did drain the tuna and just added some water to cut back on the sodium content.
So happy these are working well for you and your pups! Thank you for sharing the substitutions you made.
Our newest addition to the family loves them! The best part is he doesn’t get crazy overly excited with them so his training goes well!
Congrats on your newest little one! So, glad these are helping!
My dogs typically like any treat but even my picky girl gobbles these up. I love that I know what’s in them and they are human grade without any preservatives.
My young adult dog loved her home made training treats. I used a silicon sheet for the perfect sized treats.
Is this in degrees Farenheit or Degrees Celsius? Seems too high temperature for celsius
The temperature provided is for Fahrenheit.
Our little yorkie loves these treats. He even got to lick the spoon. They can be cut in tiny puppy bite sized pieces and also left a bit soft for dogs with bite problems. I skipped kneading the dough and just left it a bit wet. I added some oatmeal for a little extra soft chew.
I used smoked sardines, drained because didn’t have tuna, the dough was a bit too dry, so I added a tablespoon or so of canned pumpkin, which I like to sneak in his food whenever possible. My Odin loves the treat. Thank you for great recipe!
Thanks for sharing what worked for you! Glad Odin loves his treats! Love the addition of pumpkin too!
Really interesting! Could you please tell me if we can replace tuna with minced chicken. Also, what is the shelf life of these treats?
Hi! How should I bake these if I’m using molds, and they’re much thicker?
Some people blended it or used a food processor. Others added some water, extra egg, pumpkin purée. Etc. there is a lot you can do to add some moisture and make it a little smoother and less thick:)