Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats

steps to make dog treats at home

Why homemade dog treats?

Homemade dog treats are healthier! With just a dehydrator (or oven) you can customize exactly what kinds of yummies your dog is eating. Dehydrating treats gives you full control over portions & ingredients without additives that could upset your pup’s stomach. Additionally, homemade treats are generally cheaper and healthier than store bought ones. Keep in mind, these are treats and should not replace the dog’s usual meals as the dehydrating process does remove some of the nutrients from the food.

How to make homemade dog treats: 

  1. Pick out your ingredients (see full list below).
  2. Cut your ingredients into thin pieces a little bigger than the final desired size (they will shrink during the process). The thinner you cut your ingredients, the quicker they dehydrate.
  3. Prepare your dehydrator or preheat your oven to 150F.
  4. Transfer ingredients to the dehydrator sheets or baking sheet lined with aluminum if you are using an oven. Don’t worry about placing the ingredients very close together (just not on top of each other) since they will shrink while they dehydrate.
  5. Start dehydrator/place in oven. We always use the highest setting on the dehydrator.
  6. Check on your treats every 12 hours
  7. After 24 hours, the small treats will be ready. Larger treats and pig ears may take up to 48 hours. Your treats are done when they are completely stiff, dry, and not bendable.
  8. Transfer treats to a baking sheet to bake in oven at 180F for 15 minutes.  This will kill off any salmonella bacteria.
  9. Cool off, and enjoy!
  10. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within a few weeks (or freeze up to 6 months) since these treats do not have any preservatives to extend shelf life!

Tips & tricks to make perfect dog treats: 

  • Get a dehydrator.  If you do not own a dehydrator, you can use your oven at a low temperature (150 degrees F)
  • The thinner you cut your ingredients, the faster they’ll be ready.
  • Bake treats in oven at 180F for 15minutes after dehydrating to kill off any salmonella bacteria.
  • Dehydrating can get smelly so set up your dehydrator in an outdoor space if possible.
  • Freeze meat treats to avoid any build up of bacteria
  • Most dehydrated treats are meat products.  If meat makes you uncomfortable, we recommend not reading further. Of course, what you feed your dogs is entirely up to you so we entirely understand and respect your decision.

Ingredients for homemade dog treats. Without further ado, here are dehydrated dog treat ideas….

Fruits & Veggies
These are simple, low risk, and not smelly! Just slice and dehydrate. You can add some coconut oil for an extra kick of nutrition and tastiness.

Sliced Apple
Sliced Banana
Sliced Sweet Potato
Sliced Carrots
Whole Green Beans

Fish
Fish is great for dogs – high in Omega 3s, low fat & high protein. Fish helps for a shinier coat as well. The general rule of thumb is to stick to fish with lower lifespans which have not had the time to build up mercury in their blood. Avoid fish like Tuna.  Keep raw salmon, fish bones, and shrimp tails away from your pups. There is a great variety of fish that you can dehydrate for your dogs. The following types of fish are a great *smelly* value and healthy for your pups….

Whole Lake Swelt
Whole Minnows
Whole Sardines
Whole Herring
Whole Anchovies
Sliced Salmon Filet

Meats
Dehydrated meats like tracheas, bully sticks, and pig ears are some of the more expensive treats you can buy online. Luckily, you can find these ingredients at local markets (generally Asian markets) for a fraction of the price. We dehydrate these meats for a few days to crispy perfection.  Meats with more fat will take more time but will eventually dry out entirely. Here’s how you can prepare your favorite treats at home…..

Chicken Hearts or Lamb Hearts – These are the best value you will find.  For about $1.50 you can get 30 chicken hearts. They are high in protein and make dogs go crazy.  Just pop them into the dehydrator whole. They are generally ready within 24 hours.
Chicken Feet –  Before dehydrating chicken feet, make sure to clip off the nails and thoroughly wash to remove any dirt. They are ready to eat when they no longer bend under pressure.
Pig Snout – Pig snout takes the longest to dehydrate because of its high fat content.  Generally, we will wipe off any oils about a day after we begin dehydrating to help the process along. Use a sharp knife to cut the pig snot into 4 equal pieces (or however large you want the treats to be).  Cut to desired size before dehydrating because they will be hard to split later. You will need a very strong knife, so be careful!
Pig Ears –  These can generally go into the dehydrator as is.  If the ear is too big to comfortably fit – you can use a knife to remove the parts that curl over so they fit on the dehydrator trays. Pig ears from markets are bigger *and cheaper* than the ones online.
Ground Beef – Make quarter sized balls out of the ground beef and then flatten into discs.
Ground Turkey – Make quarter sized balls out of the ground turkey and then flatten into discs.
Steak – Slice the raw steak into thin jerky sized strips. Once dehydrated, the steak will shrink to about half of its cut size.
Chicken Breast Slice the raw chicken breast into thin jerky sized strips. Once dehydrated, the chicken will shrink to about half of its cut size.
Bull Pizzle – Bull pizzle is what we know as bully sticks. This is hard to find so snatch it up if you ever see it!
Liver Protein – you can buy liver protein for any type of meat.  If you don’t like the thought of slicing it, some markets will sell the liver pre sliced.
Dried Sausage – Limited ingredient turkey sausage (no added onion or garlic) or 100% beef hot dogs without nitrites make a great snack. Slice them however you’d like.
Enjoy your treats!
-Your Pal Cal

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