Your dog is your best pal and you likely give him lots of treats. Sure, he likes your love and affection, but tasty goodies really get his attention.

Store-bought morsels are fine, but if you really want to offer your canine BFF some true devotion, why not head to the kitchen and whip up something special. Here are five healthy and relatively simple recipes for homemade treats you can make for your dog.

cheddar bar dog treats These Cheddar Bars are easy to make and don't require any cookie cutters. (Photo: Doggy Desserts)

Cheddar Bars

From "Doggy Desserts" by Cheryl Gianfrancesco

Yield: Approximately 54 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup all-natural applesauce, no sugar added
  • 1/3 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture, and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • The bars are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool and cut into 1 1/2 inch bars.

apple carrot dog treats Apple Carrot Dog Treats are healthy and seemingly tasty tidbits. (Photo: The Cozy Cook)

Apple Carrot Dog Treats

From The Cozy Cook

Yield: 280 tiny bites

Total Time: 55 min

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (unbleached white flour is OK, too)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple, peeled and grated (about 1 small apple)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In one bowl, mix the flour, oats and brown sugar. In separate bowl, beat the egg and mix in the oil and water.
  • Peel and grate apple and carrots and mix into the egg/water mixture. Gradually add wet mixture into flour mixture and stir until a dough has formed. You can add up to 1/4 cup additional water but I didn’t find it necessary as the apple added a lot of moisture.
  • Carefully roll out dough and cut out desired shape with a cookie cutter, glass rim, or anything else of desired shape. (I used a small cap!)
  • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until the treats are firm. Smaller shapes require slightly less cooking time than larger treats.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely prior to sharing with your furry friend.
  • Store the treats in an airtight container for up to a week. You can also freeze them; when you need more, let them thaw at room temperature prior to serving.

pumpkin carrot bites

Sneak some goodness to your pets with these Pumpkin Carrot Bites. (Photo: Pawsitively Pets)

Pumpkin Carrot Bites

From Pawsitively Pets

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (get the kind that has ONLY pumpkin in it)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

Cooking Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Stir pumpkin, egg, carrots and flour in a large bowl until moistened.
  • Roll the batter into small balls and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • This dog treat recipe yields approximately four dozen Pumpkin Carrot Bites. We recommend storing these treats in your refrigerator for longer shelf life.

3-ingredient dog treats The dog bone shape makes these 3-Ingredient Chicken Dog Biscuits just perfect. (Photo: The Midnight Baker)

3-Ingredient Chicken Dog Biscuits

From The Midnight Baker

Yield: 1 dozen, 3-inch biscuits

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 25 mins

Author: Judith Hannemann

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour (not white, but any other kind you want. I used whole wheat)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth/stock

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl. You may have to add a bit more stock to get a rollable consistency.
  • Turn out on lightly floured surface and roll to 1/8-inch thickness.
  • Cut into desired shapes and place on prepared sheet.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes.
  • To dry out the biscuits for longer shelf life, turn off the oven but don't remove the sheet of biscuits. Keep them in there until the oven completely cools.

two-ingredient dog treatsYou can't get much easier than 2 Ingredient Dog Treats. (Photo: Glitter Cottage)

2 Ingredient Dog Treats

From Glitter Cottage

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes

Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas
  • 3 cups oats

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  • Peel and mash 3 bananas using a blender, stand mixer, potato masher, etc.
  • Mix in 3 cups oats and let sit for 5 minutes, allowing oats to expand.
  • Roll out dough onto baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Flip dough and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  • Using pizza cutter or knife, slice treats into bite sized squares.
  • Store treats in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (if they last that long!)

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.