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-   -   Making Your Own Treats (http://k9diabetes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2258)

pat3332 11-06-2010 08:52 PM

Making Your Own Treats
I was going to post this in the Everything Else forum, but after doing a search and finding nothing there, I decided this might be the best place since it does concern treats for a diabetic dog.

I have been spending $18-$20 a package on meat and sweet potato treats and have decided that I can make them a lot cheaper and that the $58.00 Nesco dehydrator that I ordered from Amazon would probably pay for itself pretty quick. If anyone else is doing this, I'd appreciate any hints, advice, suggestions, recipes or anything else that pertains to dehydrating and making treats for your diabetic dog, such as what to use, how thick to cut the different foods, whether to blanch the sweet potatoes, or use raw, what spices are OK to use for seasoning, etc. Our babies may just end up having to share their dehydrated treats with dad.

As always, thanks for the help,


MaryLea 11-06-2010 08:57 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
Thanks for starting this thread!:) I was looking for ideas and will be watching to see what everyone says.

CarolW 11-06-2010 09:07 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
I've never been any kind of food expert, nor done any particular cooking except for the simplest basics, but I do want to say that I think making your own treats is an excellent idea, because that way, you can control the ingredients to suit your diabetic dog.

So, Pat, I agree with MaryLea - thanks for bringing this up! Lots of people who train their dogs using treats also make their own.

Sat, 6 Nov 2010 21:06:59 (PDT)

AlisonandMia 11-06-2010 09:52 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
I've been making my own treats for quite a while. I dehydrate lean meats. To date I've used beef heart, lamb's liver, chicken liver and (best of all) chicken breast.

What I do is freeze the meat and then partially defrost it. I then trim off any visible fat (fat will go rancid so you very definitely don't want it) and slice very thinly. Having the meat semi-frozen makes this easy.

I lay it out on very lightly greased cake coolers set on baking trays which I line with baking parchment (to cut down on washing up).

I put it in a fan-forced oven at about 250 degrees F for the first hour and then turn it down to about 120 and leave it overnight to dehydrate. The first hour at 250 gently cooks it and then the rest of the time makes sure it is completely dehydrated.

I use it as training treats but I'd think the chicken in particular could be very good for a diabetic dog. I only ever feed little pieces about the size of my finger nail. The chicken comes out looking a bit like cornflakes and my dogs will just about sell their souls for it.

When my dog Mia was on Baytril, which made her feel quite queasy, she more or less lived on dehydrated beef heart for a week or so with no ill effects. The concentrated flavor seemed to tempt her appetite when nothing else particularly healthy did.

I've never needed to add anything by way of flavoring - the natural flavors in the meat develop concentrate in the cooking/dehydration process.

It is heaps cheaper (and safer) than commercial dehydrated pet treats, IMO.


pat3332 11-06-2010 11:53 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats

Thanks for the help. I just wondered if maybe a little salt free garlic seasoning would hurt, but you're probably right about the flavor being concentrated by the dehydration. Bailey and Katie both think that anything that comes out of our hands is ambrosia. I should have mentioned that Bailey is a 95 pound Rottweiler and Katie is his 15 pound Schipperke girl friend. Fingernail sized treats are viewed with disdain by Katie and can be hazardous to your fingers when giving to Bailey. In fact, I'm not sure he ever chews anything, he just seems to swallow everything whole.

The semi-frozen trick sounds like a good idea and I'll definitely try that.

Thanks again


Patty 11-07-2010 06:00 AM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
A dash of garlic powder shouldn't hurt as long as its not overdone. I know someone who adds a bit garlic to her dogs treats around mosquito/flea season to help ward them off.

Definitely steer clear of onion though as it can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.


pat3332 11-12-2010 03:23 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
Got my dehydrator and so far have fixed sweet potatoes, chicken breast jerky and beef jerky from a round roast. I've been practicing, so I'm going to add some pictures as I go.


New square deyhdrator from Nesco. Different than I thought. I thought the trays would fit inside the dehydrator, but there is a base that you place the first tray on, then as you stack the trays on each other the trays themselves form the exterior of the dehydrator. It comes with 4 trays, and you can add 4 extra trays if needed.


Top of the dehydrator that just fits on the top of the top tray.


My first attempt was sweet potato. I didn't think they had as much flavor as I'd hoped. I didn't blanch them first and I will try that next time. Bailey however was very impressed. Katie, our Schipperke is more picky and seemed to agree with me.


This is the finished chicken jerky. We eat a lot of chicken and I always get the 7 pound packages of breast with skin and rib bones. The chicken needs to be cooked before dehydrating and since I grill everything, I just got 2 packages, grilled all of the breasts and split them up for our salads and their jerky. After they cool enough not to burn me when I handle them, I always remove the skin and bones. Much easier to do after they've cooked and before they're refrigerated. These came out much better than the sweet potatoes. Got Katie's seal of approval. Bailey approves of everything that comes out of our hands.



A couple of pictures of the next project, the beef jerky. Thought I'd give you an idea of how the trays look loaded with meat. I didn't have to cook the beef, so it just goes in raw. I didn't realize I was getting the AlphaTrak in the first picture, but that's also where we do all of his testing.
Edit: Forgot to mention that this was the leanest roast I could find. Still a little marbling, but not bad. Other than that, I trimmed off every bit of fat on the roast.


Pretty much what the beef looks like after 11 1/2 hours in the dehydrator. I have been doing everything at 12 hours mainly to try to eliminate bacteria, but I took these out a little early because I needed some sleep. Some of the meat comes out a little dry, but the dog's don't care.


Just a little closer look at the final product. They really like the chicken jerky, but will just about mug me for the beef. We like it pretty well also. I haven't seasoned anything because I'm not sure how it will affect the dogs, but I'll probably try seasoning some for us using some salt free lemon pepper, or some Teriyaki sauce.

So far I'm slicing everything right at 1/4" and that's working pretty well. I highly recommend putting the meat in the freezer and getting it semi frozen before slicing. I did that with the chicken, but not the roast since I was in a hurry and the semi frozen slices much better. After slicing, the 7 pounds of skinned and boned chicken breast, or 5 1/2 pounds of beef fit in the 4 trays almost perfectly. Buying the meat and fixing my own treats is still a little expensive, but still about half of what I've been paying for the commercial treats and I figure they dehydrator will pay for itself pretty quick. I cut the jerky strips into large pieces just to make them last a little longer.


Patty 11-12-2010 03:47 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
Love this Pat!

MaryLea 11-12-2010 04:06 PM

Re: Making Your Own Treats
WOW, Pat! This is awesome information!!! :cool: Don't know that I'm ready to begin this for Ruffles, but at some point it may be a consideration. I do not really like using kibble as treats, even tho' it's only a little bit at a time. I've been using a very small bite of deli chicken :rolleyes: for the times I test BG and a meal is not forthcoming.

Thanks for sharing! :)

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