Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats

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Buying dog treats at the pet store these days is so expensive.  One small bag of liver treats or chicken jerky can cost up to $12.00.  This is so outrageous.  It’s much cheaper to buy your own ingredients for dog treats or use leftovers from your own meals. 
Here are a few of the homemade dog treats I make for my dog.  I usually use a dehydrator but these can be baked in a low temperature oven, as well.  My dog is a very picky eater and sometimes refuses store bought treats but he never refuses the homemade treats.  The dehydrated dog treats are perfect as rewards for training.
Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Gizzards, and Hearts
This is one of my dog’s favorites.  I even break up a few pieces and add it to his kibble and he gobbles it up.
I buy over a pound of chicken  livers, gizzards, and hearts for a couple of dollars.  Just place all the chicken parts on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate overnight.  These fill a gallon baggie and last much longer than store bought dog treats for a fraction of the cost.  An added benefit is that they are completely healthy with no added preservatives, coloring, or flavors.  Store them in the freezer and just take out a few when you’re ready.

Dehydrated beef live also makes a tasty treat. Just place the slabs of liver on the dehydrator tray and let it run for about 24 hours. My dog goes crazy over these. I score the liver with a knife, making diagonal cuts about 1/4 of the way through the liver before dehydrating. This helps break the liver into bite size pieces when its dry.
Dehydrated Ground Meats and Applesauce
Mix together two pounds of raw ground beef (the cheapest kind is fine) with about one cup of no sugar added applesauce.  The applesauce holds the meat together when it is dehydrated.  Add pureed butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin to the mix for added flavor.  Spoon the beef mixture onto the plastic trays that fit onto the dehydrator trays.  If you don’t have any solid plastic inserts, you can use parchment paper on the dehydrator trays.  It works just as well.
Dehydrate the mixture overnight.  This beef mixture fills two gallon baggies.  I take these to agility classes and just break off pieces as I need them.  These homemade dog treats also store perfectly in the freezer.
Save some money and give your dog healthy treats by making dehydrated dog treats.  Be creative with the ingredients.  I’ve used my own leftovers, grinding or shredding the meat.  Some suggestions:  pot roast, fish, chicken, pork, or any leftover meat.
I also dehydrate whole fish, such as:  sardines, mackerel, pieces of tilapia, and even fresh fish that I caught myself.  My dog also enjoys whole frozen fish as a treat.
Hope this gives you some ideas to get started making your own healthy, inexpensive, dehydrated dog treats.

8 comments:

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  2. I LOVE this idea! Thanks for the great recipe ideas. I'm going to be searching eBay for a food dehydrator ASAP :)

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  3. I found better dog treats at naturalbullysticks.com !

    My dogs love them and they dont smell.

    -Willard

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  4. These are interesting ideas for dog treats. I wanted to feed my pet a different style of food, aside from the usual serving of meat and stuff. I'll tell my wife about this homemade dog treat. I hope our pet Casie would love it. Thanks for the post!

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  5. Do you cook the ground beef before dehydrating it?

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  6. I've always boiled up gizzards, livers sometimes, and hearts for my dogs and then frozen. Last time, I dehydrated after boiling (my dogs love the juice over their regular dog food) and they turned out great. Is it really ok to just dehydrate them raw?

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  7. Jerky is raw dehydrated meat, it is actually dangerous to dehydrate cooked meat. Food poisoning only occurs after cooking or pasteurization. When smoking meats, you have to be really careful not to build up heat, and thus cook the meat. I am a raw omnivore, and have never gotten I'll from raw meat. Our cat eats only raw meat, and is incredibly healthy.

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  8. oh dear, food poisoning can most certainly occur with raw meat. Raw fish can even cause botulism poisoning, something you really really don't want to deal with. You certainly can eat it raw ..sushi has been around a very long time..but please don't assume that food poisoning can be avoided simply by not cooking.

    It isn't the cooking that leads to problems, it's the UNDERCOOKING, which is much much worse than either raw (assuming very fresh and handled correctly) or properly cooked.

    All foods, like everything else, has bacteria on and in it.. when very fresh, meat has low levels of bacterial contamination, which increase with time, more slowly at low temperatures such as in a cooler or fridge than at higher temps. Cooking, if the temperature of the food is raised enough, (and boiling for sufficient time will do it), will likely kill all of the original bacteria, both good and bad. Not raising the temperature of the food sufficiently will only encourage the bacteria to thrive, grow and multiply at a massive rate. In that case, the fresh raw meat would be much safer. That's not the case, however, if the temperature of the meat is raised to be sufficiently high. Drying alone will not do it, so you better be very sure of your meat before you do it by drying, although my understanding is that moisture is a big part of the equation for the microbes to flourish and multiply.

    The cat being healthy is admirable but not especially important, many animals have much better capacity to deal with spoiled and rotton meat than people do. Perhaps dogs have it too, certainly grizzly bears ( but not black bears) bury their kill and wait for it to start to putrefy before enjoying it. Some cats..I think leopards maybe? also wait for the kill to start to spoil. What they choose to eat and when would likely kill humans. Where dogs fit in that spectrum I don't know.

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