Thursday, October 18, 2012

Preservatives for Dog Treats

Q: I'm looking for ways to naturally preserve my dog treats. Is citric acid a good preservative? What about dried egg?

A: Bakers use various compounds as preservatives. Technically, there are no true natural preservatives. The definition of preservative implies that it is a chemical. The following substances are actually antioxidants but are used because they act like preservatives and prevent the spoilage of fat so baked goods have a longer shelf life.

Citric Acid

Commonly referred to as "lemon salt" or "sour salt". It is found in fruits and berries and used as a preservative or flavor enhancer. Bakers use it in place of lemon juice because it has a tart taste. It is also commonly put on fresh cut fruit to keep it from browning.

Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin C, which is a naturally occurring anti-oxidant found in fruits and vegetables and helps to prevent the growth of mold in a homemade dog treat recipe. The structural integrity of VItamin C is detroyed by heat. Therefore, if you plan to bake the dough (which you most likely are going to do), the chemical bonds of the compound will come undone and it will be useless. This is why bakers use ascorbic acid. Amount to use: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per 1 cup of dry ingredients.

Powdered ascorbic acid
Powdered ascorbic acid

Rosemary oil acts as a natural antioxidant. However, it does have its own aroma  and this aroma will permeate the dough, so keep that in mind when using it. 
Use 1 3/4 teaspoon to 5 pounds of butter or oil.

Dried Egg

Dried egg is processed with potassium sorbate.  Potassium sorbate is used as a food preservative to extend shelf life by preventing the growth of mold, yeast and bacteria. It is naturally occurring in many plants and is the most widely used food preservative and commonly referred to as a "mold inhibitor". Use 2 teaspoons liquid potassium sobate to 5 pounds dog treat mix.

Vitamin E

Also referred to as "Mixed Tocopherols." Vitamin E works as an antioxidant which keeps fats from spoiling. It is used to enhance the shelf life of baked goods. Either Vitamin E oil or Vitamin E powder is good. 1/4 teaspoon per batch of treats is recommended by a baker of dog treats who says that it can be found in a natural health store. It is especially useful if you are using a recipe that contains oil.
 Vitamin E Liquid - 2 fl oz (Google Affiliate Ad


  1. This is an excellent review of the commonly used preservatives in baking.

  2. thank you so much for answering our questions

  3. Thank you. I have been to so many sites and not one explained how much to use per batch. Thank you very much. This has been very helpful.

  4. I make gluten free dog treats made with coconut flour. Should I use Vitamin E or Ascorbic Acid as a preservative? I understand the ascorbic acid helps with mold which is the problem I have with coconut flour since it absorbs moisture. Can you help? Thank you.

    1. I have used ascorbic acid when I use coconut flour. I don't over bake in the oven because I also dehydrate my treats and if you over bake the treats crack. Coconut flour is very fragile. I hope this helps.