Help your dog eat fresher food by learning how to make dehydrated dog treats!
One easy way to help dogs get healthier, fresh food in their diet is to learn how to make dehydrated dog treats.
Once dehydrated, those cuts of meat make great food toppers, training treats or snacks for long hikes.
First, I’ll let you know about what foods I use for making dehydrated treats for dogs. Then I’ll let you know more about how to make dehydrated dog treats.
While I feed my dogs a raw diet, dehydrated treats are also a great option for dogs who eat cooked, dry dog food.
What kinds of meat and other food can be dehydrated to make dog treats?
You can dehydrate any cut of meat for dog treats!
I like to fill the trays of my dehydrator with chicken liver, hearts, gizzards or chicken breast strips and sweet potato. I can find all of these at my local grocery store for very little money.
Are dehydrated treats good for dogs?
Yes, liver is an important component of a balanced raw food diet. So is chicken meat, hearts and gizzards.
The latter count towards “muscle meat,” which makes up about 80% of a dog’s raw diet. Liver makes up about 5%.
Note that while hearts are of course organs, they don’t count towards organs in raw feeding. Only secreting organs such as liver, kidney and spleen do.
I also choose not to feed veggies such as sweet potato on a daily basis, but there are raw feeders who do. It’s really up to personal preference.
See our post: Do dogs need fruits and veggies?
The rest of a balanced raw meal consists of 5% other organs and 10% raw meaty bones.
A quick word about bones.
Raw meaty bones are an integral part of feeding a balanced, raw diet. But, I typically don’t dehydrate raw bones because I don’t want them to get brittle and cause potential damage in my pups’ gastrointestinal systems.
Smaller bones that consist mainly of cartilage like chicken or duck feet would be OK to dehydrate. And they’d also fit just fine on a dehydrator tray.
I get my pups an air-dried treat/chew subscription box from Real Dog Box once a month. The box includes dried cartilage-heavy items like duck feet and trachea, so I know those are safe to feed.
Dehydrated dog treat recipe
Here’s how I go about making my dogs’ dehydrated treats:
- First I boil the sweet potato to be able to cut it into thin slices. I remove the skin if it’s not an organic, otherwise I leave it on because it contains fiber and potassium.
- I wash the liver and cut it into smaller pieces if it’s not pre-cut.
- Wash the chicken breast, hearts and gizzards before cutting the chicken breast into smaller pieces. Chicken hearts are fairly small, so they don’t require any cutting.
- I let it dry a little on paper towels, then I load the dehydrator trays.
- It takes the chicken hearts and chicken breast strips about 12 hours to dehydrate; the liver, gizzards, and sweet potato typically need an additional 3 hours because they’re thicker.
- I put all of the dehydrated treats into a large bowl and let them cool off completely before I store them in regular glass jars. If you make a large batch, you could also stick some of the treats into a ziplock bag and freeze them.
- I give the dehydrator trays a thorough wash with hot water and dishwashing soap before putting them away.
How long do dehydrated dog treats last?
Dehydrated dog treats last for at least a year! That’s because the dehydration process gently removes moisture from the food at a very low temperature.
Unlike other methods which dry out food at considerably higher temperatures (think cooking), dehydrating it barely damages the nutritional value.
What dehydrator to buy for making dog treats?
There are higher-end dehydrators that come with temperature guidelines for different foods and adjustable thermostats.
I saw one on Amazon that’s only $80 (comes with adjustable thermostat and 5 trays, but has the option of adding a total of 12 trays):
My pups Missy & Buzz have been on a raw food diet for close to 3 years now. I no longer have to entice them to try fresh food, but let me assure you that they absolutely love their single-ingredient, dehydrated treats!
If you’d prefer to buy dehydrated raw treats for your dog, you can do so from Raw Paws HERE.
Have you tried dehydrating treats for your dog or for yourself?
Let me know in the comments!
Also, let us know if you have any questions.
Favorite dehydrators for dog treats
- NESCO dehydrator:
The NESCO dehydrator is only $80 and comes with an adjustable thermostat and five trays.
- COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator:
This is a top quality dehydrator with over 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. We like the modern look.
- COSORI Food Dehydrator (budget friendly):
COSORI makes an affordable dehydrator that should also get the job done for dehydrating fruits, veggies or meat.
- Dehydrated treats from Campfire Treats
- Primal Patties raw dog food review
- When your dog won’t eat certain cuts of raw meat
- Where to buy affordable raw meaty bones
See all of our raw feeding articles HERE.
Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt. She is a blogger and former dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.