The decision to make your own dog food treats isn't one that should be taken lightly as your pet may have special nutritional needs. For this reason, it is important to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog's diet.

By making your own dog food and treats, you'll have control over everything they eat, and won't have to worry about additives or frightening commercial food recalls.

There are many recipes for homemade dog treats that provide healthy, nutritious foods that your pooch is sure to love. The key is knowing which foods to use.

Although we would never do anything intentional to hurt our furry friends, if we aren't careful about the exact ingredients we choose, we may be inadvertently putting their health at risk.

The very first thing you'll want to remember when you make dog treats is to carefully check that all of the ingredients you'll be using are actually safe for your pet.

Chocolate tops the list as one of those foods that may taste good and be appealing to a dog, but may in fact be toxic, even deadly. The troubling ingredient that does the damage in canines is known as theobromine, so be sure not to make any treats that contain chocolate.

Another food that should strictly be avoided when making home cooked dog food recipes are onions, which may cause anemia and do damage to your dog's delicate red blood cells.

Raw eggs, bones, raisins, grapes, and avocados should also be kept far away from your dog's food dish. Likewise, never use any type of alcohol when preparing a "gourmet" meal for your dog as it may cause an allergic reaction which could be fatal.

It's also important to note that not every ingredient in homemade dog food recipes will be safe or healthy for all dogs. A perfect example is a dog stricken with kidney disease or kidney failure, a diet that contains too much protein, even all-natural sources of protein, will actually exacerbate the already serious condition. In this case, any of the low-protein dog food recipes would be the wiser choice.

By sticking to low-protein dog food recipes, or any other recipes based on a specific health problems, you'll make sure you aren't unknowingly adding to the condition instead of helping your dog to feel better.

If you're starting to use home cooked dog food recipes to prepare all of your pet's meals, you'll want to introduce the new foods gradually so as not to upset the balance in your dog's digestive system.

Each day increase the amount of new food, while decreasing the old, giving them plenty of time to make the adjustment if need be. Switching foods too quickly may lead to diarrhea or other intestinal conditions.

It's best if you can avoid the microwave when re-heating your dog's food as some experts think it may increase the presence of cancer-causing free radicals. Most forms of heating or cooking also rob foods of vital nutrients, vitamins, and much needed minerals.

Besides simply giving your pet the foods he or she enjoys eating, when you make your own dog food you're also taking on the responsibility for ensuring they'll be getting safe, wholesome foods that meet a canine's unique nutritional requirements.

More dog food tips:

Easy Ways to Make Homemade Dog Treats

How Can I Make Homemade Dog Food?

Easy Tips to Make Your Own Dog Food at Home