Among the Kitchen Library team are almost as many pets as people, so when we were asked by the Toronto Public Libraries if we could put together a workshop on homemade pet treats, I jumped at the chance! We’ll be hosting this program twice in the coming months: on June 9 from 2-3pm at the Wychwood Library, and again on September 8 from 4-5pm at the Northern District Library.
Today, I’ve got just a quick teaser, so to learn more, get some recipes and tips, and share ideas, you’ll have to come see us!
Why Make My Own Pet Treats?
Just like with food for your babies, homemade pet treats are often healthier with fewer preservatives and give you more control over what goes into your pet’s diet. Because most of our pets are smaller than adult humans, preservatives like added sodium and sugar can have a greater impact on our pets than we might imagine, and in addition to standard differences in food needs among pets, some breeds and individual animals will have more specific needs than others. Making your own means you decide!
An additional bonus to this is that if you are working hard on a training process, you can make adjustments to ensure your pet isn’t receiving too much of an ingredient they should only receive in small amounts, or that you have easy access to a high-value treat to help with more challenging tasks.
Types of Treats
There are two major categories of homemade pet treats:
- Single-ingredient treats like liver or other meat treats that may be dried, dehydrated, or baked.
- Mixed treats, which come out more like cookies.
The first category of treats are often the simplest and healthiest, but can be more expensive whether homemade or store-bought. The second category are less expensive, but working out the mix of ingredients can be trickier. Always talk to your pet’s veterinarian before introducing a new food category, as some pets may be more sensitive to grains, sugars, veggies, or protein than others, especially if their diet usually doesn’t include them.
Tools for Making Homemade Pet Treats
The recipes (with samples!) you’ll find at our homemade pet treat workshop take advantage of several tools from the Kitchen Library collection, including:
- Our meat-friendly dehydrator, for drying liver and chicken treats as well as apple, banana, and sweet potato chips, which my dogs adore above all things,
- A powerful food processor, for making whole-grain flours from rice and oatmeal,
- A stand mixer for combining sticky ingredients,
- A pastry tip kit for making various shapes out of mixed ingredients, and
- A mandolin, for making thin slices of fruits and veggies prior to dehydrating.
We hope to see you at our workshops in June and September, and hope we can give you some ideas to treat yo’ pets!