Mark A, My dog loves to chew and I’ve been thinking about making my own jerky but not sure how to do it. Please post the recipe and directions on how you make your chicken jerky. Thanks
Mark A. Good for you for making your own jerky for your dog. I’ve started doing this recently this year as it’s the safest way to give dogs treats. There are always so many recalls and jerky seems to head the list of recalls. You can also freeze dry meats other than poultry and fruits and veggies. You’re absolutely right in that it is so easy to make. Few things are easier than freeze drying for your dogs.
If you are starting with defrosted chicken breasts, put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, just until they start to firm up but are not frozen solid. If you are starting with frozen, defrost them just enough that you can slice them. Slice them into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Put them in your dehydrator on about 145 degrees until they are dry all the way through. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven on the lowest setting. If you don’t have a dehydrator, but wish you did, Walmart sells them. When mine are dry enough, I store them in the freezer because I didn’t add any preservatives and I make big batches, but if you are going to make smaller batches and use them up in a week or two, you don’t need to worry about refrigerating or freezing.
If you want pieces that break easily for training treats cut across the grain of the muscle, if you want something more chewy cut along the grain of the muscle. I do both ways. You can do this with any kind of meat. I have even used ground meats, but I don’t like the texture as much.
How do you freeze dry something without special equipment?
Thank you BCnut. I don’t have a dehydrator but will use my oven.Mark AMember
I simply slice the semi-frozen chicken breast about 3/16″ thick. Place the strips on a cooling rack on top of a cookie pan, and place them in the oven at 170 for about 5 hours. You can’t over dry them, but a guide is that when you bend the strip, it seems to splinter at the bend, they are done. They will reduce to about 1/3 the original size.
I’ve since bought a dehydrator, which is easier and more efficient. I just set the temperature and the time, and forget about it.
Oops! Sorry BC, I have a tendency to be one of those people that refers to dehydrated and freeze dried as though they were interchangeable. I know they’re not. I have a dehydrator and I dehydrate meats, fruits and veggies. I wish I could do it with poultry but with Katie’s many many many issues I can’t. Everyone’s got to eat the same exact thing. As you all know Katie is the poop eater. I really and truly have tried every single thing known to man or woman and nothing stops her. I’m just at my wits end. It would be nice if Lola and Hannah could have more of a variety in proteins because they don’t have any food issues whatsoever. I think at this point it’s too ingrained in Katie and she’ll never stop. She’s 5 1/2 years old and she’s been doing it since I got her at 9 weeks old.
Oh, hey! Thanks BC. I didn’t know you could dehydrate ground meat. I’ve never tried it. Does it stick together at all or does it just crumble away. I don’t use preservatives or anything. I guess I do as you do. I freeze most and keep in fridge what they’ll eat in a few days then take some more out and put in fridge.
i need to give dehydrating a try. i keep saying i’m going to but never do. it would probably save me a lot of money. lately i’ve been using primal and s&c freeze dried and it’s getting pretty expensive.
Ground meats hold together just fine. They come out a little chewier due to the fat content and they are oily for the same reason. I leave them in the freezer right up until I feed them so the fat doesn’t start to go. My dogs love frozen food though.
Good to know BC. I can give mine frozen also. One of their favorite treats is ice. I run the ice cubes under water until they are a bit see through so as not to crack a tooth. I’ve always done this. My sweet little girls! They have such simple tastes!! No kidding, they’d rather have ice than any other treat. They go nuts when they hear the ice machine on the fridge door going. Even Hannah, who is hard of hearing due to her age, comes running and pushes the other two out of her way.
Mine know the word “ice.” I also freeze pumpkin into ice cubes, kefir and veggie puree too.
Yep! I got the idea about freezing all sorts of stuff in ice cube trays from one of your posts ages ago and it’s been a great hit. Oddly enough, they still prefer the plain old ice. They’re not that crazy about the pumpkin ice cubes so I have to keep them in the kitchen when I give them those because they like to play with them and bat them around the floor. You’d think they were cats. It’s funny to watch the three of them at it but then I’ve got to mop the floor. But, they have fun anyway just kinda messy.
I give food ice in their food bowls and don’t have a problem, ice ice goes on the floor though. I have occasionally found a freezing puddle with my bare toes, but it isn’t usually a problem. I also refill their water bowl with ice cubes, except on the rare occasion when we actually have cold weather.
Hubby likes to put ice cubes in their water bowl. He says they look like they’re bobbing for apples. Water, water everywhere while they try to bob for ice cubes. Funny, and it’s only water. Of course, then hubby just walks away after the festivities are over and I’m left to dry the floor. Oh well! I’m always barefoot at home so, yeah, sometimes I’ll step in water and have to stop and smell to make sure no one’s sick and had an accident. It’s always only water, thank goodness. When they’re outside I always fill their water bowl with ice. It’s so darn hot in the South in the summer that it’s impossible to keep the water cool.
I used to be afraid of ice water because of that bloat rumor, but now that it’s been disproved I’m not afraid of it anymore. I’ve been meaning to make frozen treats with pumpkin and Wellness 95% canned. I don’t remember who here suggested that but it’s an awesome idea.
We keep a towel under the water bowl or our floor would constantly be flooded.
OH absolutely. I keep a huge rug (wash and dry able) under the water bowl. I have a few of them but since most of the time they all have beards, Hannah’s being the longest, they still manage to get water everywhere. It’s like if you come out of the shower after washing your hair and you have long hair and decide to swing your hair all over the place while it’s soaking wet. Like I said, water water everywhere. I’ve also tried the towel thing too instead of rugs. I think it’s their beards being so long. I keep saying I should trim down Hannah’s but she might look strange with such long hair and short beard. Maybe I’ll do it next time I groom her. If I don’t like it it’ll grow right back anyway.
Yep, beards are a power unto themselves.
I decided it would be in my best interest to get a dehydrator because I like to dry my own herbs and now I can also make dog biscuits and jerky for Mickey. I looked on Amazon and found the perfect one. Too bad I didn’t think of this sooner I could’ve asked Santa for it.
Hi Gloria. Which one did you decide on?
The Nesco SnackMaster Pro FD 75A – 2200 reviews almost all five stars. Looks like a good one. I don’t know why I am unable to post a picture on this website but there’s nothing to click on to post.Janine SMember
My GSD’s love KONA brand treats.Jerry JMember
Any comments on the Blue Buffalo treats known as “Health Bars”?
I also give my 2 mini-schnauzers petite raw carrots as a treat. Thanks.
Hi Jerry –
There’s nothing really wrong with the Blue Buffalo Health Bars, they’re definitely a big step up from treats like Milk Bones, but they aren’t exactly “healthy” despite the name. They’re really high in carbs. While they’d certainly be fine for an occasional treat, if it were me I’d search for a more protein rich treat. I like to give my dogs freeze-dried raw “complete” foods (e.g. Stella & Chewy’s, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Primal, etc.) which typically come in small medallions or nuggets, air-dried ZiwiPeak (also a complete food) or “jerky” type treats with a high meat content from reputable companies (e.g. Etta Says, Bixbi, The Real Meat Co., etc.). I wouldn’t give raw carrots as treats, most dogs don’t need the extra carbs in their diets and raw vegetables are digested very poorly by dogs.DogFoodieMember
My dogs go crazy for Vital Essentials freeze dried tripe treats. A bag of them is fairly expensive, but there are gobs in each bag.
What are everyone’s thoughts on treats that contain forms of “natural” sugar such as molasses or maple syrup? It’s probably not as bad as high-fructose corn syrup or just “sugar,” but it is sugar either way. I know the THK cookie treats (Pecks, Smooches, Nuzzles) all contain molasses as the third ingredient.
Probably a tad better than high fructose corn syrup, but essentially sugar nonetheless. I try to avoid treats with any added sweeteners but if the other ingredients are healthy (as I’m sure is the case with the THK treats) and they’re only given on occasion, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Kind of like with people, indulging in some sweets once in awhile never hurt anyone but it wouldn’t be the healthiest thing to do regularly.
Molasses does have some nice minerals in it, but I’m not feeding treats to get minerals.
Since the food I’m feeding is balanced, I agree that that isn’t really what I’m looking to get from treats. Is it any worse than other carbs in treats?
Not worse than any other simple carb.
Okay, thanks. I might buy the THK treats and other ones like it sometimes, and just think of them as “junk food” because they are high-carb. They are also super low-calorie though, so that helps.adria ZMember
I bake slices of sweet potatoes and use them as treats
The Cocotherapy Brand of dried fruit or dried veggies or their cocostars.
these treats are AMAZING! Pricey but worth it.
I found NaturalPetWarehouse.com to have the best prices per bag.Janine SMember
You should check out KONA treats
Is it okay to give dog’s cat treats? I remember jake’s mom mentioned doing it recently. It seems kind of counterintuitive, but I don’t really see what the problem is as long as the treats don’t contain catnip or anything like that. Cat treats tend to be smaller and lower in calories than dog treats, and tend to come in smaller packages too.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Dog_Obsessed.
Yes, in my opinion, it is fine to give dogs cat food or treats. The biggest difference usually is that the cats’ are usually a little higher in fat and hopefully protein. So as long as a little more fat will not cause any issues, go for it!
Okay, thanks! I wouldn’t want to feed a dog solely on cat food, but treats aren’t food anyway.
Edit: Oops, that sounded strange. I meant to say: treats aren’t supposed to be a complete diet.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Dog_Obsessed.
I knew what you meant! How I understand it is; that it’s fine to feed dogs cat food or treats as long as higher fat and calories are tolerated by the dog. But, not to feed cats dog food for a prolonged period as it does not contain enough taurine for a cat to thrive. A little bit is not going to do any harm. I will use canned cat food as a topper for my dogs if the cats won’t eat it. My dogs will pretty much eat (unfortunately) anything!John MMember
For a long time I cooked for my dog and then froze it for approximately a month’s supply at a time.
I started with good hamburger, added chicken or turkey and pureed veggies in a base of organic rolled oats. Sometimes I added a bit of liver but that was it.
My dog seemed to do well on that and I even noticed that that diet with the hamburger,chicken etc was also more affordable than most canned dog foods. Lately I have not had the time to do this so I looked for the suggestions on food advisor and started ordering “Be Natural” canned food.
This seemed to work well but only lately I have seen some disturbing comments online about the product “Carrageenan” that is given an “OK” by the FDA but said to be bad by other sources.
Now I’m researching this and looking at “Evanger’s” canned food as a possible alternative. If only my diet was researched as carefully! Regards, Geovani!aquariangtMember
Evangers isn’t a great choice. They have a lot of issues, the one that will affect you the most is a history of misreporting on their labels, amongst some other problems. Do you research before diving into that messRyan YMember
The honest kitchen beams and wishes are great.
Well, as long as there are no fish intolerance with your pet.
Beams last my american eskimo adult a decent amount of time. Pure catfish.
I also have an 9 pound mini australian ahelherd, a skinny “beam” will last her a very long time.
And they’re a solid price. Especially compared to most of the junk out there.
Are bully sticks safe chews for dogs…or what is your favorite chew to keep them entertained for a while? More than just 10 minutes! And also…prefer to know of a brand that I can buy at Walmart…as I don’t live real close to a Petco and we have one Pet Store in town and I didn’t feel he was very informative or trustworthy on giving me recommended items that are safe.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by homzie.
Beef rib bones, fresh cow hooves and Himalayan chews last forever (well, I have small dogs 22-28 lbs) and I’ve seen my dogs gnaw on them for over 30 minutes.
Can you get these at Walmart?pugmomsandyModerator
Actually, I don’t think I’ve seen beef ribs at Walmart and the other two items might be at the specialty pet stores. I know they can be bought online. Feed stores, farm & tractor stores might also have dried, roasted trachea which lasts at least 15 minutes for my dogs. An example would be Merrick Moo Tubes (I think they’re called that). Pig snout also lasts a long time and gets rubbery. I throw those away before they can swallow it!
My dog devours bully sticks with an intensity you wouldn’t believe. He absolutely loves them. I give him about three a week maximum. I get them from Amazon the brand is BEST BULLY STICKS. This is rated one of the best brands and they’re odor-free which is a definite plus. I’m not sure if pet stores carry them but you could try.
Anyone interested in bully sticks or car ears check out ” I and Love and You” you can get them on Amazon. That’s the name of the company, From Colorado.
The bully sticks are practically odor-free as are their cow ears. All free range grass fed beef.
I monitor the girls when then eat their bully sticks and when its almost near the end , take them away,i do the same thing with the cow ears.
I have bought many different holistic brands and my older girl would get sick,this brand so far so good!!
My Mickey absolutely goes wild over bully sticks. I buy BEST brand from Amazon and they are truly odor-free. I monitor Mickey too while he’s eating the bully sticks and take it away when it gets down to about an inch or so. Not an easy thing to do. LOL.
I give him about three per week. Is that too much? Have yet to try the pig or cow ears.
How long are the bully sticks? Bully Sticks contain about 9-22 calories per inch, the average 6-inch bully stick having about 88 calories. (I learned this online, but it was on several different websites, so I think it’s right.) For a small dog, that’s quite a bit. I would recommend not giving them as often as three times a week, maybe more like once a week.
They are maybe about 10″ long. I am going to give them a try.
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