The DogSmith Home Made Treat Guide

 

By Catherine M. Zehner, CDT, CPDT-KA

The DogSmith of Florida’s Emerald Coast                        

 Delta Society Pet Partner, Member, IAPDT                   

AKC CGC Evaluator, Member, APDT

 

As a dog trainer, I am constantly on the hunt for tasty, nutritious and affordable treats.  Unfortunately, I have found that “tasty,” “nutritious” and “affordable” rarely come in the same package.

Santa brought me the solution this holiday season – a food dehydrator! 

Before you yawn, “ho-hum,” read on:  I can make a gallon freezer bag full of treats for less than $5 – with all human-grade ingredients right out of my pantry/refrigerator. (You can also make human treats too, such as beef jerky, dried fruits, fruit roll-ups, trail bars at a huge cost-savings.)

A dehydrator works by forcing hot air over food, removing the moisture. As a result, your treats are dried, so there is no refrigeration necessary.  This is a big bonus for avid dog people who might occasionally on a hot summer day leave the treat bag in the car.  With homemade dehydrated treats, you not only don’t have a stinky mess to remove – you can still use them!

And the best part is – your dogs will never know the treats are good for them!  But you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that only foods that meet your standards have gone into these treats. You’ll never have to worry about missing a pet food recall alert. I use these treats with so many different dogs, that I always use oats as the starch since many dogs are sensitive to corn, wheat and soy products.  Knowing what’s in my treats gives me great peace of mind when dealing with dogs that may have allergies.  However, if your dog isn’t sensitive to those ingredients, you can use flour or corn meal.

 

The sky is the limit as far as the recipes.  They can be as simple as dehydrating sliced deli meats to more elaborate recipes using cooked vegetables and meats.  The favorite so far is simply  chicken breast sliced through my food processor and dehydrated with nothing added.  Runner up was a leftover Boston butt roast that we smoked one weekend. Tired of eating barbecue, I sliced it up and dehydrated it. Instant dog treats out of leftovers! And I looked like the pied piper at the dog park the next day.

I’m still experimenting, but I’ve had about two dozen canine quality-control inspectors indicate to me that these also are favorite recipes.

 

Happy drying, and “Bone Apetit!”

 

For dogs (and cats) that like “fishy” treats:

I large can salmon (with liquid and bones)

2 eggs

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbl dried parsley (optional)

1 1/3 cup quick oats

 

  1. You can either drop the mixture by the spoonful onto the dehydrator racks or squeeze it onto the racks with a pastry bag or a plastic bag. Squeezing it onto the racks is much quicker.
  2. To do this, take a gallon Ziplock bag and push one of the bottom corners downward into the bottom of a drinking glass. Spoon the mixture into the Ziplock bag, pushing it into the bottom corner, and gather the remaining three corners of the bag and twist them together to seal the top.
  3. Cut the bottom corner of the bag with kitchen scissors approximately ¼ from edge.  You will now be able to squeeze the mixture into a tube on the racks. The tube should be approximately the diameter of a dime. You can make the diameter of the treat bigger or smaller, according to preference.
  4. Squeeze the mixture from the bag onto the rack in a continuous concentric circle on each rack, leaving no less than ¼ inch between each tube.
  5. Set dehydrator on 165-degrees and check after four hours.  Break one of the tubes. The treats will be done when they are completely dry in the middle.
  6. You can now break the tubes into whatever size treats suits you.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to four weeks un-refrigerated and up to two months if refrigerated.

  

For dogs that like “sweet” treats:

1 cup peanut butter

3 very over-ripe bananas (black and mushy are the best)

1 cup quick oats

Follow directions 1 through 8 from above recipe.

   

For dogs (and cats) that love liver:

1 8-ounce package of beef or calf liver

2 tbl vegetable oil

1 tbl garlic powder

1 egg

2 cups quick oats

  1. In a hot frying pan with 2 tbl of vegetable oil, sear liver over medium-high heat for one minute on each side.
  2. Put liver and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. The mixture should have the consistency of toothpaste (you should be able to pick up a spoonful and it not drop off).  If it is too wet, add more oats 1 tablespoon at a time. If too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time.
  3. You can either drop the mixture by the spoonful onto the dehydrator racks or squeeze it onto the racks with a pastry bag or a plastic bag. Squeezing it onto the racks is much quicker.
  4. To do this, take a gallon Ziplock bag and push one of the bottom corners downward into the bottom of a drinking glass. Spoon the mixture into the Ziplock bag, pushing it into the bottom corner, and gather the remaining three corners of the bag and twist them together to seal the top.
  5. Cut the bottom corner of the bag with kitchen scissors approximately ¼ from edge.  You will now be able to squeeze the mixture into a tube on the racks. The tube should be approximately the diameter of a dime. You can make the diameter of the treat bigger or smaller, according to preference.
  6. Squeeze the mixture from the bag onto the rack in a continuous concentric circle on each rack, leaving no less than ¼ inch between each tube.
  7. Set dehydrator on 165-degrees and check after four hours.  Break one of the tubes. The treats will be done when they are completely dry in the middle.
  8. You can now break the tubes into whatever size treats suits you.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to four weeks un-refrigerated and up to two months if refrigerated.

 

Note, always consult the directions and recommendations of your appliance when making homemade treats.


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