On a regular basis, I find myself looking at ingredients labels of pet treats. As I read the ingredient label, I say yes or no to each ingredient that I do or do not like.

I did a lot of research, since I”m not a professional baker, to see if I could make some homemade pet treats without artificial preservatives.

In this blog, I will share a homemade cat treat recipe and a GF dog treat recipe.

Homemade Pumpkin Catnip Treats

Homemade Pumpkin Catnip Treats

How to make cat and dog treats with natural preservatives

There are several ways to naturally preserve your dog or cat treats.

1. Moisture is the enemy. A dry or hard crunchy treat is your best defense against mold. *I chose to cook these treats at a lower temperature for a longer period of time in my Teflon free toaster oven.

2. Storing homemade treats properly will help extend the life of your cat or dog treats. Allow the treats to cool completely before storing them. Use an airtight container, store in the refrigerator or freezer. *Treats can last several months in the freezer although after a few months the flavor could change.

3. Natural preservatives include:

  • Vitamins: Organic Vitamin E (is best or it could be GMO) and Vitamin C.
  • Herbs and/or spices such as rosemary and cinnamon.
  • Honey helps to preserve your treats and is a pet-safe replacement for sugar.
  • Milk: If your recipe calls for milk, use powdered milk instead.

It is a combination of these methods that will determine how long your treats will last.

Making homemade pet treats with gluten-free flour

If you want to make cats treats or dog treats with coconut flour or another gluten-free flour, you will need to find the conversion of wheat to coconut flour. Generally, 1/4 cup coconut flour is used for 1 cup of wheat flour. Coconut flour is grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan.

Egg free homemade catnip treats

The original recipe can be found on Feline Wellness

I picked this recipe because it gave me the option to choose from several ingredients. I made 2 different versions of handmade cat treats before Bailey approved her homemade pumpkin treats. The final version will hopefully work for her as a hairball cat treat as well.


  • 2 cups whole flour: You have flour options such as oat, hemp, potato, rice, tapioca, coconut flour or a combination of two flours. *Flour conversion required
  • 1/2 cup veggies or fruit or protein: For vegetables try sweet potato or pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling). For fruit, several options are organic applesauce, bananas, or blueberries. For protein, choose from hormone & antibiotic-free protein sources such as bison, duck or rabbit.
  • Sweet and savory accent: 1 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 tablespoon of catnip, or a combination of catnip and parsley.


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Line your baking pan with parchment paper (to prevent non-stick coating or metal from leaching into your treats).

4. Scoop dough and flatten balls to make a dime size cat cookie or you could try to roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter.

5. Place cookies in the oven and cook at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, and then turn down the temperature to 175 degrees and cook for 45 minutes. *I cooked them at 175° until the treat snapped apart easily. The cats I gave these treats to prefer crunchy cat treats.

6. Allow the treats to cool completely.

Gluten Free Vegan Dog Treats

3 ingredient dog treats

Homemade Coconut Apple Dog Cookies | Vegan Dog Treats

Dog treats are Egg-free, dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,
Recipe by Barb Emmett, Pet Nutritionist

If you want to make an Oil-Free & Gluten-free dog treat or a different flavor than this apple coconut cookie, you can change a few ingredients in the above cat recipe. Why oil-free? Cutting down on your fat intake is a tip I recommend in the dog liver detox blog.

This 5 ingredient dog treat recipe does not require a flour conversion whereas the 3 ingredient recipe does.


  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoon raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons virgin, softened
  • 1/2 cup water (or coconut water)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Use a cookie Scoop (aka melon baller) to scoop the dough and place it on the parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely, then store in the refrigerator or freezer.

I ate several soft-baked dog treats and they were delicious! I had to test them before giving them to my client’s pets right?! I’m not the only one who liked them, watch Kirby eat his Vegan dog cookie in a few seconds.

Benefits of Coconut for pets

Coconut flour contains protein since the flour is made from coconut meat and is high in fiber. Several websites such as Feline Wellness say coconut oil can be helpful for hairballs. Coconut water is hydrating, packed with vitamins and minerals, helps with digestion, supports kidney health, and it may help reduce blood pressure.

Benefits of Pumpkin for pets

Pure pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree is packed antioxidants and vitamins. Pumpkin helps with hairballs, constipation, diarrhea and may help with eyesight.

I would love to hear which recipe combination you used and how your pets like their homemade treats.

If you enjoyed this post:

Disclaimer: The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet has a medical problem, please seek medical attention from your veterinarian. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails will do our best to ensure that information presented is accurate and up-to-date. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails does not accept any responsibility for damages, loss or illness which may arise in connection with the use of the information published on this website. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of individual contributors. © Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails, 2006-2020. All Rights Reserved.

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