Dehydrated dog treat recipes

by | Mar 25, 2014 | 209 comments

Dehydrators are cheap to buy and even cheaper to run and it’s very simple to learn how to dry treats for dogs!  I’ve been wanting one for ages so I decided to just jump in and get one.  I’ve been really impressed with this new toy and recommend any dog owner that enjoys baking homemade dog treats for their dog to buy one. Jerky treats are ideal for me as they are clean, dry and ideal for shoving in my pocket while out dog walking and dogs go crazy for it!  Just make sure that if you’re buying a dehydrator that it can dry meat, some only dry fruit as they don’t get warm enough.

dog food dehydrator
I’ve used the Andrew James dehydrator for years – sadly they’ve gone into liquidation.  Amazon still have some in stock. Click image to get it while you can!!

IMPORTANT READING

While researching how to make jerky for dogs I see that there’s recipes out there on the web that place raw meat including chicken on the dehydrator while on other websites they tell you to precook the meat first to kill pathogens.  A dog becoming sick from such things as Salmonella is rare as their digestive tract is very small so bad bacteria usually gets killed before it can harm the dog.  But note that the top temperature of a dehydrator is usually around 70c (160f) which is not enough to kill such pathogens as Salmonella and E. coli.  Therefore after drying raw meat I always put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 150ºC to make sure all pathogens are killed.

Oregon state University researched how to make homemade jerky safe and they say that:

“Jerky can be considered “done” and safe to eat only when it has been heated sufficiently to destroy any pathogens present and is dry enough to be shelf-stable.  Shelf-stable means the the jerky can be stored at room temperature and will not support microbial growth.” 

Oregon state University’s method for destroying pathogens:

“Post-drying heating.  Placing dried meat strips on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 257ºF [126ºC] and heating the strips for 10 minutes effectively eliminates pathogens.  This method produces the most traditional jerky.”

So after drying any raw meat I place the jerky in the oven for 10 minutes just to be sure.  It doesn’t change the jerky in any way and gives me peace of mind.  Many recipes (mainly for human consumption) use salt or vinegar soak to deal with pathogens in raw meat but both can cause stomach problems in dogs and I want to keep these treats pure and simple.

HOW TO DEHYDRATE DOG TREATS

1. Always wash your hands before you start.
2. Food that has less fat lasts longer as fat can’t be dried and will spoil the food faster, so if you’re planning to store the treats for long term then trim any fat off the meat before you dry it out.
3. Drying times vary a lot.  Temperature, thickness’s of food, amount on trays and different machines all affect timing.  Your user manual will help and you’ll soon get to know when it’s done by texture, look and from general experience.  The above dehydrator is cheap and perfectly good and what I use but if you want the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of dehydrators check out Excalibur.
4. Place dehydrated jerky in the freezer (no defrost required) but you can learn more about storing jerky here.
5. Cut meat as thin or as thick as you want but the thicker it is the longer it takes to dry.
6. A very sharp knife for cutting thin slices.
7. You’ll be surprised how much food shrinks when dehydrated. Just remember that it’s concentrated food and don’t give too much – it’s a treat!

DRYING RAW PIG EARS

Dried pig ears are expensive to buy but if you can get raw pig ears then they can cost around a third of the price or less.  Stick them on the dehydrator and once done you wont be able to tell them apart from the ones you buy in pet shops (except that they may be a lot larger!).  They are easy to buy raw online if you have trouble getting them locally.

raw pig ears

All these pig ears cost just £5!!

dehydrating pig ears for dogs

Place on dehydrator and dry for 16-24 hours. I filled 4 racks! Once dried I place in oven at 257ºF (126ºC) for 10 mins.

dehydrated pig ears for dogs

And they are done. Identical to what you buy in the shops. They have cost around 30p each. Great value!

raw pig ears

Flo just adores her homemade pig ears!

HOW TO DRY CHICKEN FEET

I first bought dried chicken feet in the pet shop 3 years ago for my new puppy Flo.  It’s her all time favourite treat.  If you ask a local butcher you may able to get raw feet for free else you can buy them raw and by the kilo on this website.  Raw chicken feet take ages to dry so there is no point just drying off a dozen or so.  To make the drying time worthwhile I’m gonna be drying off 2 kilos worth of feet which will take around 4-5 days at 70ºC.

raw chicken feet

The first thing I’ll do is give the feet a wee rinse.

raw chicken foot

The feet have nails and they are quite sharp so I don’t want the dogs eating these when they are dry and brittle…

denailed chicken foot

So I chop them off!

drying chicken feet

2 kilos will give me around 60+ feet which will fill 4 racks

chicken feet drying time

I’ll be drying these for 96 – 120 hours, but the timer only goes up to 48 hours, so I’ll be resetting the dehydrator 3 times. I’ll know when they are done when there is no flex in the feet, especially the skin and the padded parts. I want them dry and hard.

fresh dried chicken feet

Nearly 120 hours later and they’re done! No need to place in oven afterwards.

close up dried chicken feet

They look great! I’m really happy with how this went!

close up dried chicken feet

Really tasty and all the dogs loved them.

DRIED PIG SKIN

Every super market sells pig skin it and it’s very cheap to buy.  Dehydrating pig skin makes a great treat for dogs especially a treat to keep the dog busy – of all the foods here this one will last the longest.  Pig skin dries a little different than pig ears and completely different than my doggy pork scratchings.  It’s much harder to break down and isn’t as brittle as the ear, it’s more like rawhide and the dogs just go crazy for it.  And like rawhide dogs should be supervised when eating it.  When prepping this recipe, cut the pig skin into the sizes you want before you dry as it’s too difficult to do it after – it’s very, very tough.
raw pig skin

Place the skin on the dehydrator. Remember to cut to the size you want before you dry. Dry at 70ºC for 24 hours.

dried pig skin

24 hours later and it’s dry and very tough. There may be a little grease on the inside so lay the dried skin on some kitchen towel to soak up any residue.

dog eating dried pig skin

One of Flo’s favourite treats. This will keep her busy for a good 20 minutes.

TRIPE JERKY

I’m using white tripe (dressed) cause it’s easier for me to get than green tripe (undressed) – although I do plan to try green tripe in the future.   Green tripe is very smelly which is why dogs love it, so be warned when drying it indoors!  Every dog owner at one point has bought this treat in the pet shop, now you can have some fun by making tripe jerky at home.
green tripe

Half a kilo of white tripe I bought from the butchers.

white tripe

Wash tripe and then gently pat dry.

white tripe

Cut into 1 inch strips and place on tray.

dehydrating tripe

I’ll be dehydrating for around 14 hours at 70ºC (158ºf) followed by a quick 10 minute heat in over .

homemade tripe jerky

Tripe done! I’ll bung it in the freezer for when I need it.

dog eating tripe

Ruby loves her homemade tripe jerky!

BEEF JERKY RECIPE FOR DOGS

If you buy jerky for dogs it’s usually either chicken or beef.  It’s rare to get in this pure high quality form, it’s usually very processed and nasty but here we can make a beef jerky treat worthy of our dogs.
sliced beef in bowl

Freeze for an hour and then slice your lean beef 1/8th of an inch thick.

sliced beef on tray

Evenly lay out beef strips on dehydrator tray and make sure no strips are touching each other. Check user instructions for cooking meat. For my dehydrator I’m advised to use the highest temp of 70ºc (158ºf). I will dry this batch for about 7-8 hours. I’ll know it’s ready if I bend it and it cracks without breaking.

homemade beef jerky

After 7-8 hours drying and 10 minutes in the oven they are done!. Freeze and reward dog when necessary.

SALMON JERKY

Salmon super-food, but a bit oily and wont last as long.  But you know what?  That oil is super healthy 🙂
sliced salmon in bowl

Freeze for 1 hour to firm salmon. Like the beef slice your salmon into strips about 1/8th of an inch thick.

salmon strips on tray

Place salmon on tray while making sure they are evenly spread and not touching. Check user guide for drying instructions. These will be dried at 70ºC (158ºf) for 8-10 hours or until they are hard and dry all the way through followed by 10 minute stint in the oven.

homemade salmon jerky dog treats

Salmon jerky done!

HOW TO DRY LIVER FOR DOGS

A great alternative to dried liver treats cooked in the oven.  Hardly any smell and very clean to handle.  You’ll want to cut thin strips of liver to reduce dehydrating time.
sliced liver in bowl

Liver is washed, patted dry and sliced in thin strips.

drying liver on dehydrator

Space evenly on tray. I will dry this for around 10-12 hours followed by a 10 minute stint in the oven!

dehydrated liver

Liver jerky done! A real doggy favourite!

SEA BASS JERKY

I found two boneless fillets of Sea Bass going very cheap in the local market.  Because of it’s low fat content Sea Bass is ideal for drying, packed with flavour with a strong fishy aroma.  Yummy and a real winner with dogs.  I couldn’t stop eating the stuff.  Yummy
sliced sea bass in a bowl

Put in freezer for an hour to firm fish then slice into strips.

sea bass strips

Place strips on tray and dehydrate. These took about 9 hours to dry then I put them in the oven for 10 mins.

dried sea bass

Sea bass fish jerky dog treats done! Delicious!

HOW TO DRY CHICKEN FOR DOGS

I’m using a couple of chicken breasts for this recipe.  I’ve trimmed off any bits of fat.
chicken strips with oil

Wash hands, wash chicken, pat dry and cut thin strips.

sliced chicken on tray

Place chicken strips evenly and without touching on dehydrator tray. After around 8-10 hours they are dry and placed in the oven for 10 minutes at 150ºC (300ºf) to make sure it’s completely safe and free from any bacteria.

chicken jerky dog treat

Chicken jerky dog treats done! Place in freezer for when you need them. No defrost required.

RABBIT JERKY

I bought a rabbit from the butchers but because it’s just so boney I’ll boil it first, take all the meat off the bone and then dry it.
raw rabbit

Lovely fresh rabbit! I’ll bring it to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours.

deboned rabbit

Once cooled I take all the meat of the bone!

dehydrated rabbit jerky

6-8 hours in the dehydrator and it’s done!

DRIED HEART SLICES

Heart is ideal for turning into jerky because it’s just pure muscle and apart from a little bit of fat on the outside it’s very lean.  Because it is so lean and dense make sure that strips are cut thinly to reduce dehydrating time.
lamb heart

I bought a pack of Lamb hearts from the supermarket.

sliced heart on dehydrator

Wash strips, trim fat, pat dry and place on tray. I’ll be dehydrating these for around 12 hours. (Time varies on thickness of strips) followed by 10 mins in the oven.

heart jerky dog treats

Heart jerky dog treats done

KIDNEY CRISPS

Using Ox kidney you can make great crisps with a real crunch.  Cheap to buy and they smell like bacon – dogs love them!  In Ox kidney there is a large bit of fat in the middle, cut that out if you plan to store.
frozen kidney

I freeze the kidney first so I can cut very thin slices.

sliced kidney on tray

Place ‘crisps’ on tray. I’ll dehydrate for 12 hours and then heat in oven for 10 mins afterwards.

kidney crisps

Kidney crisps done! A real winner with the dogs!

DRIED PIG SNOUT

Just for fun I bought a pig snout when ordering a delivery of fresh meat for the dogs.  Very high value, the dogs go crazy for it.  Lots of yummy meat.  I dried it for 24 hours.  Huge success but drying pig snouts aren’t practical as they are not easy to get but fun and totally delicious.

pig snout

One pig snout placed on dehydrator. I’ll let it dry for 24 hours at 70ºC. It’s just pure delicious meat!

dehydrated pig snout

24 hours later and its hard and ready to give to dog.

dog eating dried pig snout

Ruby loves her dried pig snout!

NON MEAT IDEAS

Dehydrators are also excellent for drying fruit and vegetables so things like bananas, apples and sweet potatoes can be dried to make dog treats.  For me I prefer to use meat simply because my dog prefers it.

sliced banana on tray

Try these dried banana dog treats

sliced apple on tray

What about drying apple slices?

sweet potato slices

Sweet potato (blanch first)

Have questions? Things not working out as expected or need some advice? Then please use the comment section below.

This is the first and original dog treat recipe using a dehydrator that was published on the internet and inspired many other websites to copy it, but they cut out all the important info. This is also the second most popular homemade dog treat recipe behind my recipe for liver cake for dogs that I have on my site.

How to store

As a general guide if meat protein is present in recipe then it will last around 3 to 5 days stored in a cool place.  If it has second class protein in it eg. cheese, lentils, eggs, etc, then they will store for about 10 days in a cool place. You can use cake tins lined with baking paper – greaseproof. If there is no meat or second class proteins present then it will last around 3 weeks before they go soft like human biscuits.

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jamie the dog walker

By Jamie Shanks

BDWS is owned and run by me, Jamie Shanks. I’ve been a professional dog walker since 2010. When I’m not walking dogs, I’m usually at home (like everyone else) entertaining my two dogs and attending to five hens and my vegetable garden.

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Elise Penhalagan
1 month ago

Thank you for such a brilliant article, I have made you liver cake (although I make it in a small oblong baking tray and then cut it into small squares) with great success. I do have a dehydrator, actually I have two of the circular ones lol. I will be training a new puppy in about a months time and wanted some natural training treats ( I hate looking at some packets and needing a chemistry degree to decipher..) I was wondering if using a vac pack machine would help to prolong the shelf life?

Kimmy
2 months ago

Hello, this is one of the best places I have found for information on dehydrating treats for my dog. I’ve made him liver treats and chicken breast treats with good success. I want to try turkey necks bc he loves them raw so I thought he might like the dehydrated version. How long would they need to dehydrate for? And would they need to go in the oven for 10 minutes at the end as well? Thank you!

Anna
2 months ago

Dehydrating IS preserving. If you remove enough moisture, it’ll prolong the lift of the product. Baking kills any germs on the surface as that’s the other thing that will spoil your meat. I store meaty items in the fridge for several weeks, in an airtight container. If you see any moisture on the side of the tub, it isn’t dehydrated enough.

Carissa
4 months ago

Hello from Asia! Such amazing read! Thank you! A question though – for safekeeping in the freezer – how do we serve it after? do we reheat the dehydrated food or serve it frozen or let it thaw naturally in room temperature before giving it to the dog? will it change the texture of the dehydrated food?

Ashwin
4 months ago

Hi …
Great Article . Thanks .

I don’t have a dehydrator with me , for doing the chicken feet in an oven what is the procedure and how long does it take .

5 months ago

Great article. It’s so nice to have guidance on so many protein options!
I was also wondering if you (or and readers) have done ground lamb and for how long?

Lorna
6 months ago

Hi
I’m trying to dehydrate chicken wing tips but I find that after dehydrating them they seem to be very greasy and the same with the pig snouts
How do I get rid of the grease?

N.Satabongkot
6 months ago

Hi! I’ve just found your post. It is very great. But I have some question. Some types of Cartilage like trachea, cow’s ears etc. If I bake at 126 deg C after dehydrated, will they be cooked and harm my pup’s stomach? Please kindly advise.

Janice Burke
8 months ago

Hi
Ive started a small business selling 100% natural dehydrated pet treats. I had them shelf life tested at a laboratory which determined they would last 12 weeks in a cool dry place. Is it possible to freeze them after cooking and if so will they still have a shelf life of 12 weeks after removing from the freezer.
Jan

Tom Bennett
6 years ago

My Welsh Terrier, Chuck, absolutely loves your liver cake recipe, and having had a look through these recipes, I bought a dehydrator, which arrive today! Just been to the butchers, who offered me 2 lungs, heart and liver for £6!! I said I probably needed to start small, so have just bought the heart and about a third of the liver… just about to start slicing and drying! Have put them in the freezer first for 30 mins to help with the slicing. Wish me luck! Chuck is drooling already!