Our dogs are our kids. We love and cherish them with all our hearts and their health and happiness is our priority, I now make healthy home-made treats for our dogs and my clients’ dogs.
INCONSISTENCY WITH STORE-BOUGHT TREATS
I used to buy beef and liver jerky for our dogs ensuring it was Australian-made and preservative-free.
Each morning they would get a piece each for their breaky and they’d chew to their heart’s content.
However, I started to find inconsistencies each time I purchased a new bag. Sometimes they were lean and easy to snap, other times they were covered in fat which I had to then scrape off, sometimes thick and tough. Yuk!
I’d been thinking about investing in a food dehydrator for over a year now, so recently I stopped procrastinating and ordered one online. It arrived and I’ve been working it hard ever since at making healthy home-made treats for our dogs!
I bought the Excalibur 9-Tray Food Dehydrator 4926T in black from Sprout in Australia, and I love it.
I make beef jerky for the #3dogkateers using topside which I freeze and then allow to thaw enough to slice easily with a mandolin or a sharp knife (very carefully).
Here are the steps to my chicken jerky which I make once a week from free-range human-grade chicken breast for both our dogs, and my dog photography client sessions.
Slice with the mandolin in the morning before it freezes rock hard.
Remove any fat and then lay the slices out onto the trays of my dehydrator pre-lined with baking paper.
Set the dehydrator to about 75 degrees celsius for about 6-8 hours and the result is perfect chicken jerky with absolutely nothing added. This is what I use for my client shoots too… I haven’t met a dog yet who doesn’t go wacko over it!
Update: I now also purchase chicken wing tips and beef hearts when available. I simply line the baking paper with the wing tips. I slice the beef hearts into about 5mm-10mm slices and place on baking paper in the dehydrator. The dogs love it and it is a chewy consistency.
Just last week I purchased a bag of small sweet potatoes and made Sweet Potato Jerky. This was a hit with ours so I went out again yesterday and bought 3 more bags! It’s hard to find the really petite sweet potatoes but they work well for this. If you’d like to make your own, keep an eye out for them at your local fruit and veg store.
Wash the sweet potato with fresh cold water and a vegetable scrubber, then place them in the steamer with about a litre of water in the bottom pan.
Put the lid on and set the timer for 30 minutes depending on the amount you are steaming. This particular batch was huge and took about 30 minutes. You just need to steam them until you can put a fork through them firmly. Don’t overcook as they will become too soft to cut for the jerky.
Once your sweet potatoes are just tender, take the lid off an allow them to cool down enough for handling and peeling.
Cut them into 50mm rounds. I just use a sharp knife and place each sweet potato on a wooden chopping board. After slicing each one, I place the slices onto a dehydrator tray lined with baking paper.
Set the dehydrator it at around 52 degrees celsius and leave them for about 8-12 hours.
When cool, place them into a paper lined storage container and keep in the fridge.
Whilst doing this I have three little dogs at my feet begging for a slice… they absolutely love it!
Healthy home-made treats for our dogs
So there you have it! Some quick insights as to how we keep our little dogs healthy and happy with the peace of mind of knowing exactly what they are eating.
I carry a little zip-lock plastic bag with me on our walks each day with some of these treats and it still amazes me how excited they get when I yell out the word “treats”. They come rushing back to me no matter what they are doing and the smiles of joy are heartwarming.
Here is Little Luna taste testing this latest batch of sweet potato jerky.
What is your dog’s favourite treat? Do you have any great recipes to share? I’d love to read them if you do, so please share them here in the comments, or post them on my Facebook page, and I will add them to my list of new recipes to try and maybe even feature your recipe in future blogs if they are a hit with the #3dogkateers.
ALWAYS READ THE LABELS!
If you don’t make your own treats, please take care when purchasing treats for your precious dogs.
Always read the pack to find out the country of origin and the ingredient listing. If I do purchase treats, they must be Australian-made.
So what is my go-to brand for treats when I go to the animal shelter each week, or run out of my home-made treats?
Businesses who support animal rescue such as SavourLife and their Australian Chicken Training Treats. Apart from being an awesome product, they donate 50% of their profits back to animal rescue organisations to help rescue dogs. That’s the kind of organisation close to my heart!
AN ETHICAL CHOICE WHEN FEEDING YOUR DOG
Aside from my holistic treats, I feed our dogs ethical food by Frontier Pets, you can learn more here about this amazing choice.
If your dog would love to try my home made chicken jerky, and you would love some stunning portraits of your dog for your home, get in touch and we can chat about planning the perfect photoshoot.