It seems that every time I turn around another food or treat is being recalled for one reason or another. It makes me concerned and extremely nervous to feed my dogs these days. Chicken Jerky treats and Sweet Potato treats (manufactured in China) are the latest treats with cause for concern. Since 2006 chicken and most recently sweet potato/yam jerky-type treats have been responsible for over 1,000 (reported) dogs getting sick, ranging from vomiting, diarrhea, (most notably) kidney failure to death yet they are still on the shelves available for purchase at countless retailers. As of yet they do not know what is specifically causing the illnesses but many vets are recommending to steer clear.
So this brings us to the cooking portion of today’s installment… Making your very own healthy chicken and sweet potato treats.
It’s remarkably easy to make your own chemical-free HEALTHY treats. Not only is it easy, its cheaper to make your own than to buy and you know exactly whats going into them. I have tried out two easy methods of making home made jerky style treats. If you dont already have one, a food dehydrator can be purchased relatively inexpensively at Amazon, Walmart or Big Lots. I paid less than $20 for mine a few years ago at Aldi.
Method #1 – Dehydrator
What you need:
- Raw sweet potato/yams (2 yams filled 3½ trays with ¼ inch slices)
- Thinly sliced chicken (I bough thinly sliced breast meat but any chicken will do)
- Food dehydrator
Wash and dry the meat and yams. Since its for dog treats, you wont have to add any spices or flavoring, nice. For uniformity and to save time I used a mandolin slicer to slice the yams ¼” thick. I then sliced the “thinly sliced” chicken in half and cut it into pieces. Place the slices in a single layer in the trays. 2 yams will fill 3½ trays and 1¼ pounds thinly sliced chicken breast will cover 1½ trays.
Once you have filled the trays plug it in and wait. It will take approximately 12 hours to dehydrate (you should read the instructions for your dehydrator, times vary). Treats should be kept in an airtight container or ziplock bag. They will keep for about 3 weeks (remember there’s no preservatives in them) but unless you only have one tiny dog, they wont be around that long.
Method #2 Oven Dehydrated
What you will need:
- Sweet Potato/yams
- ripe bananas
Preheat oven to 250ºF. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slice yams and bananas ¼” thick. Again, for speed and uniformity I used a mandolin slicer. Place the slices in rows on the cookie sheets and bake in the 250ºf oven and bake for 3-4 hours for “chewy” treats and 5-6 hours for crunchy. Flip the pieces about half way through.
Easy Peasy! Nothing says lovin’ like goodness from the oven…