D is for dried treats! Today's food is more of a treat category than a specific food...
I mention often that most of the treats I feed my boys are homemade. While I've certainly developed some more complicated treat recipes over the years, dried treats, usually meats, are my normal 'go to' treats. Dried dog treats are very easy to make, my dogs love them, and they are normally made from just a single ingredient, which makes them perfect for dogs with food sensitivities.
When it comes to smaller dried snacks, which I often use as high quality training treats, I normally make them myself.
How to Make Dried Dog Treats:
For me, it's usually as easy as cutting whatever food I'm drying into pieces and putting them inside my food dehydrator. This is the dehydrator I'm currently using, but there are lots of other options out there.
Some dehydrated treats, such as meats, will be more appealing to your dog plain. When I make dehydrated chicken or beef treats, I don't add anything to the meat. If you want to try drying things like sweet potatoes, you can make a (dog safe!) marinade to soak them in before drying them. Get creative with your marinade, just make sure the ingredients are dog friendly.
What Types of Foods Can be Dried for Dogs?
Almost any food that is healthy for your dog fresh can be dried. Meats are the first foods that come to mind, but other ideas include...
- Sweet potatoes. Dried sweet potato treats can be purchased for dogs, but they are very easy to make.
- Liver. I know I already mentioned meats, but when thinking of meats most people use muscle meats. Organ meats, such as liver, can make healthy dog treats too!
- Vegetables and Fruits. I've made my dogs dried green beans, bananas, and apples in the past. Kitsune especially is a fan of dried green beans and bananas.
- Canned Dog Food. Did you know that canned/wet dog food can be dried into treats too? You can use an icing bag to pipe wet food into your dehydrator.
One thing to keep in mind is that drying foods can make your house smell. Not such a big deal if you are dehydrating bananas but, the other week, I made my boys dehydrated fish treats. My apartment smelled horrible! My dogs really enjoy the treats though, so it was worth it. In my experience most meats don't smell too bad in the dehydrator. Plus, because dried meats store well, you can make a lot of treats at once and reduce how often you have to smell dog treats cooking if you are not a fan of the smell.
Benefits of Dehydrated Dog Treats:
The benefits of the treats you make will really depend on what foods you are using. However, like I mentioned earlier, one big benefit is that dried treats can easily be made of just a single ingredient. They can be great for dogs who, like my Kitsune, have food allergies. You'll always know what your dog's treats are made of!
My dogs really go crazy for dried treats, especially dried meats. I make high quality training treats by drying small pieces of meats. Because they are small, my dogs don't get a ton of extra calories. Because they love the treats so much, they are willing to work hard to get them.
Comment below! Have you ever made dried/dehydrated treats for your pet? What are some of your dog's favorite types of treats?
This post is a part of the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge! You can learn more about our challenge theme here.