Years ago, I thought that buying my mutts treats was a sign of love. I was not going for the cheap stuff, expensive ones that I thought were healthy. Yeah, right! Zeus was always a bit overweight at one point when I was confusing love and food, and he was confusing his food and mine! I remember the first time I bought the dry chicken breast. What a healthy treat! Especially for a Labrador retriever who gained weight just looking at food!
It was some years later that I realized that I had to take my reading glasses for my shopping and the mutts’ shopping. I started by banning anything from China. No offense China, but if you can poison babies with your milk from Hell, I really don’t think you give a damn about dogs when you have them on your menu for dinner!
Those Chinese dry chicken breasts were expensive, but the day I had my reading glasses, I looked at the composition, and almost had a heart attack: sugar, and so many additives, and on top of it, is it really chicken?
That’s when I started a new chapter in my life with my dogs, older and my babies: healthy treats! Dogs are like kids. You are educating them on food, teaching them what to eat and what to like! From cookies, and jerkies and all that crap, I went to carrots, green beans, and a few other treats that I am going to share with you below!
Believe it or not, but when I say “carrots”, I have seven mutts going straight to my fridge and waiting! They love them. As a matter of fact, they have absolutely no manners. I have an order for everything, food, vitamins and treats, and they patiently wait their turn, but when it is their turn, believe me, they don’t bother with “Thank you, Mom!” they grab the carrot to eat it at their favorite spot, except of course, Jackson who eats his carrot at my feet because Jackson is one of those who doesn’t enjoy the present moment, but is living for the future. If he stays there, he might get another one…. And, yes, I am ashamed to say that sometimes, he is right. Sophie is the same way, except that at least she takes her carrot to her bed to swallow it, and then comes right back to grab another one. I put a stop after two carrots, but I am not sure when or if they would stop if it were raining carrots.
I go to get their food at a high end store which sells only good stuff, but good stuff gets really expensive. I do not mind spending a lot of money on their food – which will be the topic of another article – but treats, they are not that deprived!
There is one thing I bought for the mutts, and it’s one of the best investments I have ever made in my life – which might not make me believe in how wise I can be, right? -. I bought a dehydrator, and for instance instead of buying a bag of 20 slices of sweet potatoes for $ 16.00, I made them. So, let’s now get to the recipes: from dehydrated sweet potatoes to summer treats like chicken broth ice cubes!
DEHYDRATED SWEET POTATOES
4 big sweet potatoes usually fill up my dehydrator.
- Peel them, and then slice them ¼ inch thick slices
- Steam or blanch them until the color turn bright, and you can pick them for a fork.
- Line the slices on the dehydrator trays
- Dehydrate them at 125 degrees from 9 to 12 hours depending on humidity.
I usually store them in a plastic bag in my fridge. I mean, they are not there for long, but still, I prefer to stay on the safe side!
SUMMER TREATS: CHICKEN BROTH ICE CUBES
I am very conscious about the mutts’ weight, and treats don’t have to be fatty to be liked!
Just get ice trays and fill them up with fat free chicken broth.
They love it. My little one, Sammie, still gets very frustrated about it. He usually likes to eat his treats when all the others are done, and can be drooling looking at him! It works with many treats but he still has a hard time figuring out where the ice cube, that he guarded for some time, disappeared and it just drives him nuts but my other ones love them!
SUMMER TREATS: ICE CREAMS LIKE IN STORE BUT HEALTHIER!
- 1 banana
- 32 oz of plain yogurt (I take the ones which are fat free)
- 2 tsp of peanut butter
- 2 tsp of honey
- Mix the ingredients in a blender until well mixed
- I use muffins tins but paper cups work as well. Fill them up, and freeze them.
They usually get them when they are ready, but I would suggest to put them all in a freezer bag if you need to keep them for a while. Not everyone has seven dogs! LOL!
I also substitute sometimes the honey and peanut butter for ½ cup of blueberries for an antioxidant boost!
DEHYDRATED CHICKEN BREAST SLICES
I usually get organic chicken breasts! As I said somewhere, most of my dogs died of cancer, and I do believe that environment, food and water are the major ingredients for that illness. So, I am always on the healthiest side with them.
The good thing about those treats is that I know what’s in it, and that even diabetic dogs can enjoy them!
Of course when you work with raw meat, wash your hands before and after.
- Slice your chicken breasts thin (1/8 inch to give you an idea!)
- Pat them dry
- Brush the slices lightly with olive oil on both sides (I only use olive oil in my household, again my Italian side!)
- When you lay the slices on the tray, try to give some space between each piece, it will be easier for the air to flow.
- Set the temperature at 140 degrees, and depending how thick the slices are and of your machine, it will take between 3 to 6 hours to cook.
- I now know that on my dehydrator, it takes around 6 hours. But the first time you do it, you can check it out by picking up a piece and breaking it up. The inside should be the same color all over, and there should not be any more moisture in the piece. My dogs like them crispy, but check with your furry friends to see what are their preferences.
When the jerkies are totally cooled off, I store them in a zip lock bag in my refrigerator, and I believe that you can keep them for up to 3 weeks.
DEHYDRATED GREEN BEANS
1 bag of frozen green beans
Olive oil spray
- With the olive oil cooking spray, spray your multiple trays
- Put your frozen green beans on the trays trying to give them some space around
- Temperature at 140 degrees for around 6 hours until they are crunchy! I always have one of my mutts who is volunteer to taste one after cooling it off of course!
You store them in a zip lock bag in the fridge and here you have another bag of healthy treats for your furry friend(s).
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 4 tbsp molasses
- 4 tbsp of water
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (I always use olive oil)
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- ¼ tsp of baking soda
- ¼ tps of baking powder
- 1 tsp of cinammon
These are really treats for the mutts since they don’t get them that often, only on special occasions!
- Preheat your oven at 350 degrees
- At the same time, mix the pumpkin with molasses, oil and water in a mixing bowl.
- Then, add the flour, the cinnamon, the baking soda and the baking powder
- Mix until the dough is well mixed
- Slightly oil a cookie sheet and make little balls of dough (size of a tablespoon) that you flatten a bit at the same time.
- Place the balls on the cookie sheet slight apart to each other and bake for 20/25 minutes. The cookies should be hardened by then.
- Store them in a zip lock bag in the fridge after they cool off.
A tip: It’s valid for shaping any cookies, if you wet your fingers with water, the dough will not become a second skin and will stay away from your hands, and will make it much easier to place them on the cookie shit without losing half of the dough on your fingers!