August 15, 2016

In the kitchen: Homemade Dog Treats

Lately, Piri's meals consist of steamed hamburger patties stuffed with vegetables like cabbages, carrots and peas and boiled chicken breasts. I tried to get him to eat ground turkey again but he's not really into turkey anymore. So you can see how I may have an abundance of meat in the freezer, which I don't like to keep for too long and so I decided to whip out my trusty dehydrator and make some homemade dog treats again. 

I can't believe it was only a few months ago when I was hating my dehydrator and regretting buying it. I mostly use it to experiment now in making dog treats - mainly for Piri's Place guest dogs as Piri is picky with what he eats now and only prefers fruits and these cookies as treats. But some of the treats I have made before have been such a hit with our guests that it's a real joy to make now. 

I'm not a dog nutritionist so these probably shouldn't be the main go to treats or meals for your dogs. I use all organic meat for pups and vegetables likes carrots and parsley are all homegrown. I also like to add turmeric spice {you can read up on all the good things about this amazing spice here -- but also please make sure you also read up on possible side effects such as how turmeric can thin the blood, which can be harmful for dogs who will undergo surgery. It's always best to tell your vet what your dog is taking before surgery date is set}. I didn't add an oil this time around, but I normally like to add coconut oil to the mix as well. 

Here's what went down in our kitchen a few days ago: 

Sweet Potato Chicken Patty

You'll need: 
 // Sweet Potatoes
 // One uncooked chicken breast tenderloin 
 // Parsley
 // Turmeric 

I used about 2 medium to large sized Korean sweet potatoes for the chicken version and the turkey and beef version below. I like to use Korean sweet potatoes but other sweet potatoes that have a more orange shade will also probably work. I steamed mine until they were soft {I just poked it with a knife until it went in nice and smoothly}.  I let it cool off completely. 

I used one uncooked chicken breast tenderloin and cut them up into little pieces. Set aside. 

I picked some parsley from our herb garden and gave them a good wash and chopped them up. Set aside. 

Once the sweet potatoes are cooled down, peel them and mash them up together. Depending on how big or small you want them, grab some of the mashed sweet potatoes, roll them between the palm of your hands and flatten. You probably don't want them to be too thick as it'll take longer to dehydrate. 

On your flattened sweet potatoes, place some chopped pieces of chicken on top with some parsley and finish with a dash of turmeric. You'll want to press them down into the sweet potato a bit so that it dries up together and not separately.

Sweet Potato Beef/Turkey Patty

Follow the steps for the Sweet Potato Chicken Patty and instead of using uncooked chicken breast, use uncooked ground turkey and ground beef. I didn't mix the two together and instead made a few patties with ground turkey and a few more with ground beef. 

Again, I used a total of 2 medium to large steamed Korean sweet potatoes to make all the patties. I was able to make 13 total. 

Also! Once you start to dehydrate your treats will shrink so you probably don't want to make them too small. 

And another note -- if you are handling raw meat, please make sure you properly wash your hands (with soap!) every time you touch them! I may sound a bit too over dramatic, and a clean freak, but you probably don't want to just rinse your hands (or not wash your hands altogether! eep!) after touching raw meat and then touch your vegetables, trays and other cooking utensils. A clean kitchen and clean cooking routine is a happy kitchen! 

Mini Beef & Turkey Patty Bites

You'll need: 
 // Ground Turkey
 // Ground Beef
 // Shredded carrots
 // Turmeric 

I had some ground meat left over without any sweet potatoes and so I decided to just turn them into a treat of their own. Again, I didn't mix the two meats together and instead made them into their own separate flavors. 

I took a golf ball size amount of ground turkey/ground beef and rolled it into a ball between the palm of my hands and flattened them out. Then I placed shredded carrots on top with a dash of turmeric to finish.

Chicken Jerky

I've made these before, which were a big hit with Spootie and Clover and a few of our other guest dogs so I decided to make a few more. 

What you'll need: 
 // Uncooked chicken breast tenderloin
 // Parsley 
 // Turmeric

First you'll want to cut your chicken breast tenderloin in half so that they are a bit more thinner. I cut mine width-wise (like when you are slicing open a sandwich bun). 

In the past I used coconut oil (I didn't this time because I didn't realize I was out of them!}, and if you'd like to add them to your treats you are more than welcome to! I use about half teaspoon. 

In a bowl, place your sliced chicken breasts, a little bit of turmeric, coconut oil (if you'd like) and a couple of dashes of turmeric and mix together until your chicken breasts pieces are covered evenly with the herb and spice. 

If you are new to dehydrating food, you'll notice that the very bottom tray will tend to dry out the fastest. What I like to do is at about the half way point, I like to shift the trays around and also flip the treats on their other side. I usually flip them back after a few hours and finish the dehydrating process on the side they originally started. 

In the past, I only dehydrated dog treats for about 8-10 hours. I was working with less treats and I wanted them to be more on the softer, chewy side (although they do have a shorter shelf life). This time though, I started a bit late (2 pm) and wanted them to be a little bit more crispy and dry. I ended up dehydrating 18 hours and they turned out to be a bit more crispy than I would've wanted them to be but that's ok. 

It's really up to you on how long you want to dehydrate. You just want to make sure that the meat is all cooked and that the chewiness is the level of how your dog would like them (some dogs can't chew on hard crispy treats). Just make sure you either start early in the day and that you are available throughout the day to check on your treats. Other people like to dehydrate for a full day. 

I usually keep finished treats in a zip lock bag. Again, you'll want to always make sure they are fresh before giving them to your dog. If they are completely dry and crispy they will obviously have a longer shelf life.

And finally, make sure you clean up and wash your trays! It's such a crumby part of the whole process but if you maintain your dehydrator well and clean it well, you'll be able to use it longer and experiment with more dog treats (and human treats, too).

  // Sweet Potato Chicken Patty // 

  // Sweet Potato Beef & Turkey Patty // 

  // Mini Beef & Turkey Patty Bites // 

  // Chicken Jerky // 

As always, please make sure you are supervising your dog when giving treats. Choking can always be a hazard. You know your dog best! Their safety always comes first.

Happy eating everybody!

What are you making in the kitchen?

**Treats are only given to our guest dogs with permission from their human companions first.

1 comment

  1. These look so good, Jane! Good to hear that Piri and his guests enjoy them as well :)


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