More and more Americans are tuning in to the food system, trying to avoid nasty ingredients like artificial additives. And increasingly, people are looking harder at what’s best for their four-legged family members, too.
Healthy dog treats are a great starting point, because you can easily whip up good-for-Fido treats in your kitchen. While these recipes are intended for preparation in a food dehydrator, which can help retain more nutrients, you can use your oven set on a low temperature and get a similar dehydrating effect.
Use healthy, fresh, organic, whole ingredients to create healthy dog snacks free of additives and preservatives with these recipes from Excalibur Dehydrators.
Chicken Jerky Strips
These all-natural chicken jerky strips make the perfect snack for your dog, but they’re not just for canines—you can eat them yourself! To make processing easier, pop the meat into the freezer 15 minutes before slicing it, and slice it thin!
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (or use a food dehydrator at 140°F).
2. Rinse off the chicken breast and remove any fat. Slice the chicken with the grain. Next, coat the chicken slices with your dog-friendly seasonings.
3. Place the chicken breast strips in an even layer across the entire tray, leaving an equal amount of space between pieces and making sure that they do not touch each other. This is so air can flow between them while they are drying out, which helps dehydrate them.
4. Once the strips are all set out, place the trays in the food dehydrator, turn it on, and set the temperature for 140°F. It will probably take between 3 and 12 hours for the chicken to fully dry, depending on how thick you cut your slices and the exact temperature of your food dehydrator. Check the strips once every hour after the first hour. To do that, simply open up the tray and take one slice out; cut it open with a sharp knife and examine the inside. You should see no moisture at all, and if it is properly dried, the chicken will have the same color throughout. If it is not finished, put it back in for another hour. Once it gets close, start checking once every half hour.
(In an oven, bake the chicken strips for approximately 2 hours.)
5. Once your chicken jerky is done, store it in sealed containers; zip-locking bags work great for this. Write the date you made it on them. You can also store the finished product in the refrigerator for an even longer shelf life. There—you're done. Enjoy your healthy snacks!
Substitute just about any fruit or vegetable in this great vegetarian dog-treat recipe to add variety. This recipe uses an egg as a binding agent, but if you want to make these treats vegan, just mix the dough longer and omit the egg.
1. Preheat the oven to 150°F (or use a dehydrator at the same heat).
2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and form into a ball. On a flour-dusted cutting board, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thick.
3. Cut with bone-shaped cookie cutter or any cutter shape your pet will like.
4. Dehydrate until done, approximately 6 to 8 hours, or bake in the oven for the same time.
These treats should be very dry, so add time as necessary.