I have recently taken up dehydrating foods and I’ll be posting more about that another time, but right now I want to share some healthy dog treat recipes because I told Laura of Riddle from the Middle that I would share a few of them.
In addition to the fact that dehydrated foods take up a lot less space than an equivalent amount of rehydrated foods would, I like that I can make healthy dog treats without preservatives and other unknown ingredients for my furry girl. I have done sweet potato treats for her, at a cost far lower than buying. I estimate that I can get about 12 ounces of sweet potato treats (dried weight) for less than $5.00. It costs about three times that to buy them. You could also make pumpkin treats using the same method.
Slice sweet potato about 1/4” thick (crosswise or lengthwise), dehydrate at the highest temperature (145-155 F) for 8-10 hours for chewy treats. I dried miine for about 12 hours because I wanted them crisper, using the 250 watt unit. A higher wattage unit will take less time.
I did a batch of chicken jerky but I preboiled the chicken tenders first and I was not happy with them. I’ve bought more tenders to do when I finish the sweet potatoes, and I wll use a meat mallet to get them down to 1/4” to 3/8” thickness, then dehydrate at the highest temperature your dehydrator allows, preferably 165 F. For safety’s sake, when they are done, bake at 350 F in your oven for ten minutes. Doing this reduces the posssibility of bacterial issues.
I have a couple of other dog treat recipes I will share that could probably also be done in your oven. I’ll indicate whether I’ve tried them yet or not.
HEALTHY PUMPKIN DOG TREATS
- 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, softened
- 4 tablespoons of water, plus more if needed
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 egg
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F.
- Mix the pumpkin, softened coconut oil, and water together in a large bowl.
- Then mix in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder
- Mix it a bit and then stir in the egg.
- Continue to stir until it’s ALL combined. This might take a good minutes and feel free to add a touch more water in order to get all of the mixture into one solid, slightly sticky ball.
- Once done, roll the dough out on a floured surface to ~1/4 inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out treats. These can be as small or as large as you want them (depending on the size of your dogs. I realize not everyone has giant dogs like me)
- Place prepared dough treats on a lined/ greased baking sheet and bake for ~30 minutes (depending on size) or until dough has hardened.
- Let cool and enjoy your pups excitement!
I made these and Shasta says they’re good. Although Shasta is a food hound, and isn’t hard to please.
SUNFLOWER DOG TREATS
- Sunflower seeds, unsalted, ¼ cup
- Flour, two cups
- Chopped apples, ½ cup
- ¼ cup peas, carrots, or any other vegetable your dog prefer
- powdered oats, ¼ cup
- Peanut butter, one cup
- rolled oats, one cup
- Molasses, one cup (you can substitute dark corn syrup or maple syrup)
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the molasses. Then, when you have mixed it well, add the molasses and blend well. Make sure to add some additional oats if the dough is not stiff enough. On a cutting board, roll it out and cut into squares and shapes. Or you can use a cookie cutter.
Place on the tray and put it in the dehydrator. Set the temperature at one hundred and forty – five to one hundred and fifty – five degrees F. Dry the meal for about four hours or more if necessary. Make sure that there is no moisture left and they are very dry.
I haven’t tried this one yet, but will as soon as I can.
The caveat to all of this is that yes, it takes some time. I have the benefit of having lots of time as well as living alone so I don’t have to be concerned about taking care of a family. I worry about commercial dog treats because of too many incidents of them being contaminated and causing illness, or worse, death. I also have to be concerned about costs. All of these are best stored in a cool, dark place. I will store excess in vacuum sealed bags in my refrigerator, but I like having them readily available on the counter too, so I found some 1/2 gallon amber colored mason jars to store the “in-use” batches.
*I wish I could give credit to those who published these recipes initially, but I did so much wandering around on the internet, I fail to remember where I found them, and I did not make notes because I did not think about sharing at that time.