Meat and fish for dog treats? Why not? After all, dogs are carnivores and they strive on animal proteins. Meaty (or "fishy") dog treats are "high-value" treats that can be used for training or as special rewards for good behavior.
When we think of dog treats, we mostly think of biscuits and cookies with peanut butter and pumpkin.
However, homemade treats for dogs that contain body or organ meats or fish are good additions to a dog's diet, especially if the dog is fed kibbles that have high carbohydrate and low protein contents.
Provided that your dog is not allergic to certain types of meat (e.g. chicken), you can safely use a variety of meat, such as chicken, turkey, duck, beef, lamb, venison, kangaroo, and bison.
To avoid "fat overload" (which can cause upset tummies or even pancreatitis in dogs), choose lean meat and remove the skin from poultry.
How about organ meats?
I don't know why but dogs would kill for liver, whether it's beef or chicken! Liver is nutritious and rich in vitamins A and D - and here lies the problem. Too much vitamin A will lead to toxicity; so liver should not be more than 5% of a dog's diet. Even if liver is used in treats for dogs, do not give too many such treats to dogs on a regular basis to avoid problems.
Also, if you are making liver treats, avoid using other ingredients that also contain high vitamin A levels (e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins).
If you have a terrier, liver should be avoided totally because this dog breed tends to have problems with foods containing liver, as they accumlate excessive amounts of copper in their body, resulting in vomiting, weight loss, and hepatitis.
Other organ meats that make good dog treats include chicken (or duck) hearts, and chicken (or duck) gizzards.
Most dogs also love the taste of fish, which can definitely be used as dog treat ingredients.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for dogs' health, especially for healthy joints, hair coat, and skin.
When using fish to make dog treats, be sure to remove any small bones that are in the fish.
Also, do not give raw fish to dogs as treats, as certain types of fish from the Pacific Northwest may cause salmon poisoning disease. To be safe, always cook the fish thoroughly before giving it to your dog.
If you are concerned about the safety of fish for dogs, please see this page for more information.
Are you ready to make some "meaty" or "fishy" treats for your dog? Here are some recipes: