How long can homemade dog treats keep?

Making homemade treats for your dog can be a fun and rewarding activity. Not only does it allow you to control exactly what goes into your pup’s snacks, but it can also save money compared to store-bought treats.

However, like any food product, homemade dog treats won’t last forever. So how long will those cute bone-shaped biscuits or frozen yogurt droplets stay fresh and safe to eat?

The shelf life of homemade dog treats

Most homemade dog treats will remain fresh for 1-2 weeks when stored properly in an airtight container. Dense baked treats like dog biscuits may last 2-3 weeks. Softer moist treats like frozen yogurt bites should be consumed within 5-7 days.

Here are some general guidelines for how long common homemade dog treats will last:

Treat type Shelf life
Dog biscuits/bones 2-3 weeks
Frozen yogurt bites 5-7 days
Peanut butter cookies 1-2 weeks
Dehydrated sweet potato chews 2-3 weeks
Pumpkin or banana bites 5-7 days

Let’s look at how different factors affect the shelf life of homemade dog treats.

1. Ingredients

Ingredients play a major role in determining how long homemade treats will stay fresh. Dry, low moisture ingredients like flour, oats, and peanut butter tend to have longer shelf lives. On the other hand, ingredients with higher moisture content like yogurt, pureed fruits, and pureed veggies will shorten the shelf life.

Avoid using ingredients that spoil quickly like fresh meats, eggs, and dairy products if you want your treats to stay good for 2 weeks or longer. Opt for shelf-stable ingredients whenever possible.

2. Storage method

How you store the treats makes a big difference in shelf life. Keeping treats in an airtight container prevents moisture loss and keeps air out, maintaining freshness. Refrigerating or freezing treats helps them last even longer.

On the other hand, leaving treats in a paper bag or plastic baggie at room temperature allows faster moisture loss and growth of mold, shortening shelf life to just a few days.

3. Moisture content

Treats with higher moisture levels spoil faster. Baked treats like biscuits and dehydrated treats have lower moisture and last longer. Treats with fresh fruits/veggies or yogurt have higher moisture levels, so they don’t keep as long.

You can increase shelf life of moist treats by refrigerating and using dried fruits or veggies instead of fresh produce.

4. Preservatives

Adding some natural preservatives can help prolong freshness. For example, citric acid has antimicrobial effects and helps maintain texture in treats. Vitamin E oil and rosemary extract also have natural preservative effects.

Avoid using artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin in homemade treats. While they extend shelf life, they may pose health risks to dogs when consumed regularly.

How to tell if homemade treats are still good?

Use these tips to determine if your homemade treats are still safe and fresh to feed:

  • Check the expiration or “best by” date you marked on the container when storing the treats.
  • Give treats a sniff. They should not smell rancid or funky.
  • Inspect treats visually. Look for signs of mold growth like fuzzy spots or white filaments.
  • Feel texture – treats should not feel overly hard and dry or mushy.
  • Taste a small bite. It should taste normal without any bitterness or staleness.
  • Observe your dog’s reaction. If they reject the treats or seem sick after eating, the treats have likely spoiled.

If there are any signs of spoilage like smell, mold, or texture changes, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw the treats out. Don’t take risks with your pet’s health!

How to extend the shelf life of homemade dog treats

Want to keep those homemade goodies for even longer? Here are some tips to maximize freshness:

1. Use shelf-stable ingredients

Choose ingredients like flour, peanut butter, dried fruits/veggies, and oils over fresh produce or meat. Shelf-stable ingredients increase longevity.

2. Consider adding preservatives

Natural preservatives like vitamin E, citric acid, and rosemary extract can safely prolong shelf life by 1-2 weeks.

3. Store in an airtight container

Metal tins, plastic containers, or zipper storage bags work well for keeping air out. Make sure container is sealed tight.

4. Refrigerate or freeze treats

Cold temperatures prevent microbial growth. Refrigerating can extend life by 50-100%, freezing allows even longer storage.

5. Portion treats into smaller bags

Opening and closing a large container repeatedly lets in air. Storing treats in individual bags avoids this.

6. Use appropriate packaging

Metal tins or freezer bags prevent moisture loss better than paper bags or plastic wrap.

7. Monitor humidity levels

Excess moisture accelerates spoilage. Store treats in a dry pantry or use desiccant packets to absorb humidity.

Storing homemade treats properly

Follow these storage tips to maximize your homemade treats’ shelf life and freshness:

Use an airtight container

Metal tins, plastic containers, and zipper bags prevent air exposure and moisture loss. Make sure the container seals tightly.

Refrigerate moist treats

Treats with fresh fruits, veggies, yogurt, eggs, etc. should be refrigerated. Cold temps prevent microbial growth.

Freeze treats for long term storage

Freezing is ideal for storing treats for 1-2 months. Use freezer-safe bags or containers.

Avoid temperature extremes

Don’t store treats anywhere that gets very hot or cold like a garage or car. Temperature fluctuations hasten spoilage.

Watch humidity levels

Excess moisture causes mold and bacterial growth. Store treats in a dry area and use desiccant packets.

Label with expiration date

Mark when treats were made and when they expire. Write this on the storage container for easy reference.

Portion treats out

Dividing treats into individual bags avoids repeatedly opening the main container, which lets in air.

Can you freeze homemade dog treats?

Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of homemade dog treats. Here are some freezing tips for homemade treats:

  • Safe for most baked or dehydrated treats like biscuits, bones, dried sweet potato chews, etc.
  • Not ideal for soft moist treats or anything with fillings, which can become mushy.
  • Freeze treats within 1-2 days of making for best quality.
  • Portion treats out in freezer bags or containers before freezing.
  • Squeeze out excess air and seal bags tightly.
  • Label bags with treat name and freeze date.
  • Freeze treats for up to 2-3 months for optimal freshness.
  • Thaw treats in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Avoid refreezing treats after thawing.

Freezing is convenient for making large batches of treats that your pup can enjoy over several months. Just be sure to properly seal and label the frozen treats.


With proper storage methods, most homemade dog treats can stay fresh for 1-3 weeks at room temperature. Dense baked goods generally last longer than soft moist treats. Refrigerating or freezing extends shelf life considerably. Monitor treats closely and throw out anything that smells, looks, or feels spoiled. Following these guidelines will ensure homemade treats stay safe and appetizing for your canine companion.

Leave a Comment