Saturday, December 31, 2011

Home Made Dog Treats

Right now there is a big controversy over chicken treats made in China. There have been some reports in the past that some dogs have gotten some kidney damage from these treats. There is a "current" warning about this but the reporting agency says only that there "might" be a problem, no specific brand is mentioned nor are the "problems" defined.  I still do feed my dogs some treats that are not USA made, just a few and there are some real favorites that we hate to give up. So I decided this morning to try my hand at making them.
There two basic ones that I attempted.  One was yams wrapped in chicken. This is cooked to a jerky like consistency and they do look good!  The other was plain yams cooked to a chewy texture.  I decided, also, to try something with carrots.
I lined the pans with parchment paper and cut up the potatoes. Sweet potatoes are hard to cut, they are a more dense vegetable than the white potatoes.  I made "french fries" and cut those to about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long.  Then cut the chicken, and a hint, cutting it half frozen makes it work better.  I cut long fillets and then halved those.  The fries were put in water with some lemon juice, I'd hoped to keep them from turning brown.  This did work, I used about a quart of water and about 1/4 of a cup of concentrated lemon juice.  I put some of the potatoes on a pan and then wrapped the rest in the chicken.  I also put the plain carrots on one of the pans and wrapped a few in the carrots, too.

My oven is a little cool so instead of 200 degrees, I did this at about 225.  I baked this for 2 hours and checked on it. The chicken was cooked at that point but not jerky like.  The potatoes were still chewy but almost too soft.
I had an errand to do so left things to bake while I was gone.  When I came back, it had been around 5 hours total time so I took them out.

The top photo is the carrots.  A total flop.  These were the teeny little carrots, not the fatter baby carrots.  I may try the baby carrots at some point in the future, though, and cook them maybe a little bit less.  The corgis will enjoy the meat that was wrapped around them, I'm sure.
Next is the yam wrapped potatoes. They came out really nice.  There was a little grease from the meat but not much.  The yams kept their nice orange color.  But the yams are a little bit crisp.
The yams on the bottom, were too crisp.  I should have done them around 3-4 hours, I think.  I did put aluminum foil on the bottom and sprayed that with Pam spray.  I still think the corgis will like these.  I think next time I will slice into round and thicker pieces and then cut them in half to a half moon shape.
Here is what the Chinese made ones look like:
This is apple and chicken.  The chicken is the darker part and I've seen most of the treats that look like this. The apple is soft and chewy but the chicken part is pretty hard.  This isn't the most attractive photo, I could have laid them out and they would have looked a little better. But overall, my treats looked much better.
I ended up cutting up about 5 or 6 medium sized potatoes, and two rather good sized skinless chicken breasts.  And a little lemon juice and 5 hours in the oven.  It made about a pound of treats after cooking.  I charge 11.99 in the store for a pound of these treats, other stores charge much more, up to 19.99.   Four ounces runs around 3.99, so a dollar an ounce.  If you are paying 19.99, then it's probably worth it to make them yourself.  I would probably invest in a dehydrator, though, there is a lot of wasted space/heat in the oven.  I think the dehydrator would probably cost less to run.  Anyhow, say $3 for the chicken and another $2 for the yams, another 25 cents for the lemon juice.  I don't even know how much to say for the gas oven, though.  And don't forget your labor, maybe an hour of cutting up and preparing time.
If I made the apple/chicken ones, I'd also use the lemon juice mixture.  And I will cut the chicken thinner next time, too.  I'd never really sliced raw chicken before, there is a knack to it and it needs to be thinner.  Then it won't have to cook so long and the apple or the yams will be softer.
I also think I would skip the skinning of the potatoes and of the apples, too.  Just one more step that is not really necessary.
I put them in a plain plastic bag and will keep them refrigerated "just in case".  If I were to make a lot of these, I'd probably get one of the little appliances that suck out the air and seal the bag to keep air out of them. These won't last long enough, though, I don't think, to do that to.  :)
So I hope this helps everyone out on this subject.  I don't need to taste test these, the corgis will get them for a bedtime snack and will be delighted with them, I'm sure. They really do look much better than the store bought ones.


  1. Oof, way too much work, bubbie!

  2. May have to try that, sounds like a lot of work, but nothing is too hard for me when it comes to pampering my corgis! Millie would love you follow my blog, Blue Water
    Really enjoyed the latest Watching Story too.

  3. Forget the dogs, this looks like lunch!

  4. I have a food dehydrator, and doing sweet potatoes for Micah is a cinch with one of these, and she loves them. Picked my dehydrator up at a garage sale cheap.