Baking Dog Treats 101: Why Are My Treats Cracking & Bowing?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been creating and testing new homemade dog treat recipes. I’ve baked about a gazillion dog treats. Seriously, a gazillion … I counted. The reason I’ve been so busy baking is because I’m actually working on a cookbook! I’ve been getting such great feedback on my recipes so I figured why not create an entire book for you?! 

Anyway … the point of this blog post isn’t to tell you that I’ve been working on a dog treat cookbook. It’s actually to tell you about a BIG MISTAKE I made while baking these new treats. While recipe testing is fun and usually goes well (especially for my pups), I went through a weird two days where I literally burned every single treat. When I pulled batch after batch out of the oven, I was left with dark brown, severely cracked, and bowed messes. 

I must admit, it made me very frustrated. 

I couldn’t figure out why it was happening. My oven was set to the same temperature as I usually set it to, and I was baking for around the same length of time that I usually do.

So what the heck?!

dog-baking-101After a night of rethinking my baking abilities, I decided to march myself down to the store and pick up an oven thermometer. Turns out … my oven wasn’t calibrated. It was 50ΒΊ hotter than I was setting it to. So while I set my oven to 350ΒΊF, it was really baking at 400ΒΊF. That’s a huge difference. Phew … it wasn’t me after all!  


The Top 3 Reasons Dog Treats Crack and Bow 

  1. Not enough liquid
  2. Treats are left in the oven too long
  3. Treats are cooked on too high of a temperature

Throughout my time making homemade dog treats, I’ve baked dozens using whole wheat flour and dozens using gluten-free flours. I do notice that certain gluten-free flours are more susceptible to cracking than others. While you definitely want your homemade treats to come out like the model photo, if you pull out a batch of cracked treats, I promise that your dog won’t judge you! 

Kitchen Confidence

A lot of times people don’t bake homemade treats because they don’t have a lot of kitchen confidence. If your first experience is a bad one (like those two days were for me), then you may shy away from baking in the future. But don’t worry! Flops happen from time to time and that’s okay. What matters is figuring out why it happened and how you can fix it.

For me, I will always keep a thermometer in my oven from now on. But the message goes for anything. If you follow a recipe and find your dough is too crumbly — add more liquid. If your dough is too liquidy — add more flour. 

There is always a solution and I’m always an email away to try and help you solve it πŸ™‚ 

3 Responses

  1. Emelia
    • Proud Dog Mom
    • Karen Mitchell