This is a recipe for homemade soft dog training treats made with healthy ingredients for a treat you can feel good about feeding your dog. I still buy commercial dog training treats sometimes when I’m feeling lazy or just don’t have the time to bake for my dogs, but they always seem to love the homemade ones better.
If you’re not sure what training treats are, or if you’d like to learn more about them and why they’re a very useful tool in your dog’s training, be sure to read my earlier post: The Best Dog Training Treats – Worth Their Weight in Gold.
I’ve made a lot of different dog treats, they always come out well and the dogs always love them. The only thing is, I never figured out how to make dog treats that stay soft and don’t crumble and fall apart. I decided to check the ingredients of my favorite training treats and among the normal ingredients I kept noticing tapioca flour.
Curious, I searched online for tapioca flour dog treats and found a few posts but most didn’t actually get into a specific recipe – they were more like conceptual recipes. Feeling more confident about this idea, I checked what I had in the kitchen and came up with carrots, apple sauce, coconut flour, and coconut oil. I had some tapioca flour left over from a diy lotion recipe so I figured why not try it.
These training treats actually stay soft and the texture is similar to commercial training treats, though a little softer. If I had to describe the texture, I’d say if a biscuit and play-dough had a baby these treats would be their love child. They’re a little more cakey than play-dough but a little heavier than a biscuit.
The cool thing is they don’t fall apart and leave a bunch of crumbs everywhere.
The coconut oil makes these treats smell so good and my monsters go nuts for them. Make sure you use cold pressed unrefined coconut oil. It should be solid and white at room temperature and should smell like coconut.
If you don’t have coconut flour on hand, you can substitute with another type of flour. I’d avoid all purpose flour or wheat flour but brown rice flour or garbanzo flour would work ok. Another option is to throw oatmeal in a food processor until it turns into flour. If you use another type of flour other than coconut, be aware that depending on the flour these treats may not still be grain-free.
Another note about flour substitutes: this may change the texture and the amount of water/flour needed. Follow the recipe as written and check the texture. Add water as needed until you get that wet play-dough texture. If after adding the flour the dough is still too wet, add more flour.
Healthy Dog Training Treat Recipes – Grain-Free Apple, Carrot, and Coconut
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots 1 small to medium carrot
- 1/2 cup applesauce unsweetened
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp organic cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup warm water may need more or less
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet (one with sides) with parchment paper. Set aside. Gather your ingredients, a large bowl, and a spoon. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave in 10 second intervals until it's a clear liquid. Mix the coconut oil, shredded carrots, applesauce, and eggs together. The coconut oil will re-solidify a little and will stick to the edges of the bowl. Just mix well and the oil stuck to the sides will incorporate into the dough a little later. Now add the tapioca flour and mix together. Then add the coconut flour. At this point your dough will be really thick and dry in some spots. Don't worry, this is normal.
- Next take your cup of warm water (it needs to be warm to help the coconut oil melt a little again) and slowly add it into the dough. It usually takes a cup to get the dough to the right consistency but yours may take a little more or a little less. You're looking for a wet play-dough feel. You can shape it without it falling apart but it still feels kind of wet.
- Now plop your dough in the center of the cookie sheet and spread out the dough by pressing and shaping it with your hands. Try to make it even so your treats will be the same thickness. I usually make mine about 1/2" thick.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges are browned a little and the top feels dry. Take out of oven and cool for about 15-20 minutes or until you can handle the treats without them burning you.
- Carefully grab the sides of the parchment paper and flip the treats over onto a cutting surface. Slowly remove the parchment paper and discard. For the next step, I use a pizza cutter because I think its easier and faster, but whatever you have is fine. So take your pizza cutter, knife, kitchen scissors, or meat cleaver (just kidding) and cut the baked dough all one way. Try to make the strips even but it's not a big deal if they're not. I usually make mine between 1/4" and 1/2" but you can make them however big or small you like.
- Now just repeat the last step but going the other direction to make little cubes. Sometimes at this point the treats will get stuck on the pizza cutter but if that happens just gently pull them off and keep going. At this point if your treats are still warm, leave them like this for a while longer to fully cool.
- Once the treats are completely cool, separate any that are stuck together and transfer into air tight containers or bags. I like to put about half in a treat jar and half in a ziplock bag which I put in the freezer for later.
If your dog loves peanut butter (whose dog doesn’t), be sure to check out my other post: Easy Peanut Butter Dog Treat Recipe – Only 5 Ingredients.
This recipe is very forgiving and is great for beginners. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out.