The 6 Healthiest (And Delicious) Pet Treat Recipes Under $1 Each

Timothy Hill

You can whip up healthy pet treats in your own kitchen. The best part? You probably don’t even need to go shopping!

When it comes to spoiling your pets, we say they deserve as much cuddling and attention as they want. And because our pets are considered members of the family, it’s important to invest in nutritious food and protections like pet insurance to maintain their health for as long as possible.  

We also want to treat them every chance we get. (We know!) But the reality is their diet only requires a few extra snacks here and there—and your budget might not allow for the pricey ones from the pet store. 

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However, if you want to keep their health and your financial health top of mind, you can consider creating your own pet treats at home. Not only is this a great way to express your affection, it’s also inexpensive to put together. Why? You likely have many of the pantry staples on hand, so you won’t be spending more than $1 or so per treat to surprise and delight your pup

Veterinarians share the healthiest (and most delicious) pet treat recipes your four-legged pal will be drooling over: 

Easy-Peasy Peanut Butter Dog Treats 

You’ve probably never met a dog that doesn’t like peanut butter. Not only is it a reliable source of protein, it’s also yummy and can keep your pup occupied as they lick every last bit off of a spoon. You can also bake peanut butter into these dog treats, recommended by Dr. Gary Richter, DVM and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition. Just make sure there is no added sugar in your peanut butter, and if your vet tells you that your dog is allergic to wheat, you can use coconut or rice flour instead, he says. “These alternate flours are safe, but the consistency of the cookies may be a little different.”

What you’ll need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour*
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

How to make it: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Make your dough by mixing the egg, water, flour, and baking powder. Then, add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Stir the mixture until the dough turns stiff.
  4. Sprinkle some flour on a cookie sheet. 
  5. Roll the dough on the floured surface until it’s about a half-inch thick. If you have a cookie cutter, use it to shape the dough. You can be as creative as you want because the treats will only rise slightly.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cookies turn golden brown.
  7. Once the cookies cool, give a few to your pup and then store the rest in an airtight container.

Pumpkin and Banana Treat

You might not pair banana and pumpkin together, but your pup will wag his tail over this super-delicious concoction. When you’re going through your pantry for the can of pumpkin, Dr. Richter says to make sure it is sugar-free and is not pumpkin pie filling. “The pie filling might contain sugar or xylitol, a common sugar substitute toxic to dogs,” he adds.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana (very ripe)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder

How to make it: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together the pumpkin puree, honey, and banana in a large bowl.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder to the mix. (Add more flour if the mixture is too wet.)
  4. Sprinkle some extra flour on a cutting board and roll the mixture. 
  5. Cut out individual treats with a cookie cutter.
  6. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and place the treats on the paper.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the treats turn slightly golden brown.
  8. Wait until the treats are cool to the touch, and then serve. Store any uneaten treats in an airtight container.

Homemade Blueberry Banana Froyo Dog Treats

How often have you glanced at that bag of frozen fruit in your freezer and made a mental note to use it? Now, you have a good excuse: a cooling and nutritious treat for your one-and-only furry companion. Blueberries are low in calories and offer your pup Vitamin C and antioxidants, says Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM, the chief veterinarian at Petco. “If you don’t have blueberries on hand, blackberries or cut-up strawberries are a great alternative,” she adds.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • ½ banana, cut into slices
  • 1 cup blueberries

How to make it: 

  1. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Blend yogurt and banana in a blender until smooth.
  3. Insert a toothpick into a blueberry and dip it in the yogurt mixture
  4. Place dipped blueberries onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and remove the toothpick.
  5. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for at least two hours.
  6. Once frozen, move treats into a covered, freezer-safe container for storage for up to three months.

Tuna Shaved Ice for Cats

Your feline may be mischievous, curious and a night owl, but you can’t get enough of his sweet purrs and head butts. Treating him to this easy homemade treat helps you use up an ingredient that would otherwise just go down the drain, Dr. Miller suggests. “Cats love the flavor, and this treat helps boost their hydration,” she adds. It’s important to note that using low- or no-sodium tuna for cat treats is preferable.

What you’ll need: 

  • Drained liquid from canned tuna in water
  • Four ice cubes

How to make it: 

  • Put the tuna liquid and ice cubes in a blender
  • Blend until it’s a slushy consistency and serve immediately in a bowl

Peanut Butter Pupcakes

Made from pantry staples you likely already have at home, this recipe shows that creating a special treat for your dog doesn’t require expensive ingredients, says BriAnne Figgins, the manager of Best Friends Angel Village Cafe and Canyon Grill. Plus, it takes it a step further with frosting for your furry little one. Again, just make sure you choose xylitol-free peanut butter!

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sweet potato, boiled
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream

How to make it: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Add agave, peanut butter and applesauce, and stir until well combined.
  4. Fill the muffin tin three-quarters full, bake for 12-15 minutes and allow to cool.
  5. While the muffins are baking, make the frosting. Peel the sweet potato and chop it into small cubes.
  6. In a medium pot, bring four cups of water to a boil. Add chopped sweet potato.
  7. Boil for 20 minutes or until very tender.
  8. Drain and allow to cool.
  9. Combine sweet potato and coconut cream in a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
  10. Once the cupcakes are cooled, top them with the frosting and serve.

Spinach, Carrot & Zucchini Dog Treats

Figgins says this recipe is great because it can be modified for any dog and you can substitute most dog-friendly veggies, depending on what you have on hand. “You can use different-size cookie cutters, depending on the size of your dog. For more crunch, you can make them thinner or bake them a bit longer,” she continues. “You can also bake for a shorter time if you want them to be softer — say for older dogs with dental problems. It’s kind of fun to make them more personal.”

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (more if needed)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded 
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped

How to make it: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the cookie sheet.
  3. Use an electric mixer and beat the pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs on medium-high until well-combined (one to two minutes).
  4. Gradually add oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add flour (1/4 cup at a time) until the dough is no longer sticky. 
  5. Add carrot, zucchini and spinach, beating just until blended.
  6. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it comes together. 
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to desired thickness. 
  8. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Place in the oven, bake until edges are golden brown and then allow to cool.

We know that keeping your pet healthy is a lifelong commitment. Thankfully, with lots of cuddles, nutritious food, and a pet insurance plan that can ensure you’re always able to afford the best possible care, your pet can live a long and happy life right beside their favorite person in the world— you!


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