Homemade Dog Treats and Toys Make Great Gifts

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Homemade Dog Treats Toys

These homemade dog treats and toys can be made any time of the year, Christmas just gives you a great excuse. Gift them to your dog, and make some extras to give as gifts to the fellow dog lovers in your life.

When I was a child we had a dog that was crazy for Christmas. His name was Jeremy and I lived my life in total fear of him. He was a peekapoo, so he was small and his teeth didn’t fit in his mouth. He wound up looking like a scary version of a muppet and his favorite snack was me.

My grandmother would tell a story, breathless with laughter, about the year Jeremy chased me around the Christmas tree because he fancied one of the gifts I had. Regardless of my fears, that dog’s love of opening Christmas presents is a permanent part of my childhood memories.

I have a small dog these days, though she is much less fond of chewing on small children. It is her first Christmas and I am hoping to teach her to relish opening her presents as much as Jeremy. There is a special kind of joy watching an animal at Christmas. They retain that child-like need to rip and shred no matter how many years have passed.

Unfortunately, my dog destroys every toy we give her so this year I’m making a few that should be indestructible. I thought I’d share my ideas with all of you who are dog parents as well.

Homemade Dog Treats

Herbal Dog Biscuits

(makes about 24 small bones)


  • ½ cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (or pumpkin)
  • 1 cup oat flour (find it here or make your own)
  • ⅔ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup dried plantain (Plantago spp.) leaf – parsley can be substituted here, both will freshen breath (find dried plantain leaf here)
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in order.
  3. Separate your dough into two or three balls. If the dough is sticky, chill it for an hour.
  4. Flour your counter and roll out the dough. Using a dog bone cookie cutter, make each bone and place on a silpat lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the bones are golden brown and dry. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.

Homemade Dog Toys

Tennis Ball Tug Toy


  • 3 clean Adult t-shirts – varying colors
  • 1 tennis ball
  • sewing machine
  • scissors


  1. Cut ½ – 1 inch off the bottom of each t-shirt. You should now have 3 loops. You may choose to keep them doubled like this to make a smaller toy or cut open the loop at the seam to make a longer toy.
  2. Place all three strips side by side and stitch them together at the end. Tie a knot over the stitch.
  3. Braid the three cloths until you get to the middle. Tie a knot.
  4. Make a hole in the tennis ball and thread it onto the middle of your toy. Make another knot to secure your tennis ball and braid the rest of your toy to the end.
  5. Stitch through your braid and then tie a knot to complete.

Note: This toy can also be made with cotton rope, old jeans, or fleece remnants.

This will be our puppy’s first Christmas with us, so I’m really looking forward to watching her enjoy the festivities. For everything they give us through the year, our pets deserve a spot right in the middle of the Christmas morning mess, don’t you think? Oh! And you cat lovers, don’t think I’ve forgotten pets of the feline persuasion. Check back early next week to see what I’m working on for our cats!

What are you giving your dog this year? Share in the comments below!


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. Alice Clark says

    Have heard peanut butter is not good for dogs any more due to the many chemicals they now have added to so many brands. Is there a good brand to use over all the ones in the stores? Thanks for your help.

    • Terri says

      I use peanut butter that only has peanuts and salt. If you buy pb made for retail it will have salt. Ad labels on jars are misleading. Read fine print, because some will say “natural” but still add palm oil. If dogs have allergies, peanutbutter may have mold spores since peanuts grow in soil like root vegetables. Shells will hold moisture. I use dough hook on my hand mixer to blend in oil that sits on top. Works great!

    • Becky Burns says

      I think that the biggest danger new danger in peanut butter you may be referring to in xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener many companies are using because of peanut butter’s reputation of being fattening. Xylitol will cause a rapid drop of blood sugar in dogs which can be quickly deadly. It is also used in many gums, mints and candies. While it has been approved for use in humans, PLEASE read all ingredients for this sweetener in anything you use for your pets. 🙂 I love these recipes and look forward to making some of them and, maybe, some of those toys for the shelter.

  2. Liz says

    We have a new puppy in the house and he loves toys and anything he can either chew on or hunt for. I am giving him a big sock full of toys and chew treats.

  3. Kim McDonald says

    First of all…I love your website!

    Could you substitute canned pumpkin for sweet potatoes? Thanks!

    • Liz says

      Yes. Pumpkin is wonderful fiber and vitamins for your dog. It helps with digestion and regular healthy bowel movements.