Dehydrated dog treat recipes

by | Mar 25, 2014 | 212 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.

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I’ve used my dehydrator for years.  Click the image to get yours on Amazon.

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 this is 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.

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All these pig ears cost just £5!!

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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So I chop them off!

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

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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.

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

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

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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 this.  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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Wash tripe and then gently pat dry.

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Cut into 1 inch strips and place on tray.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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 🙂

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Once cooled I take all the meat of the bone!

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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.

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I bought a pack of Lamb hearts from the supermarket.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Try these dried banana dog treats

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What about drying apple slices?

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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.

If you live locally and need a Bishopton, Erskine or Dargavel Dog Walking and Pet Service, please enquire about your pet care needs.

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.

Share this recipe with friends

raw pig ears

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 entertaining my three dogs and attending to five hens and my vegetable garden. 

212 Comments

  1. Love your article! Would pig cheeks be done like the skin or ears?

    Reply
  2. Great article thank you

    Reply
  3. 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?

    Reply
    • Tbh, I don’t know as I’ve never used one. You could do a test where some is vac-packed and another batch isn’t and see what happens.

  4. 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!

    Reply
    • The only thing I’d worry about are the bones. Raw bones are fine, but cooked bones splinter. I’ve never tried drying any type of bone, so I’m not sure if it would splinter or not which would be a worry for me.

  5. 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.

    Reply
    • 👍

  6. 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?

    Reply
    • Hi Carissa, since it has been dried it will defrost very, very fast and then you can give it to them once thawed. No need to heat.

  7. 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 .

    Reply
    • I’m afraid I have no idea, but it will take quite a while and probably use a lot of electricity. You know when it’s done when it is completely dried out. Dehydrators are very cheap to buy.

  8. 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?

    Reply
    • Hi, may I know how long it takes to dehydrate pork tendons? Been wanting to try this out for my maltese. She has tried the commercial ones and she lives it. Thank you!

  9. 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?

    Reply
    • well trim off any fat beforehand is probably the only thing you can do.

  10. 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.

    Reply
    • You only put in oven for 10 mins, it is only as a precaution to make sure all pathogens are killed. This is really more for human consumption than for dogs. A quick cook wont change anything.

  11. 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

    Reply
    • In a freezer they will last pretty much forever since they are to be eaten by dogs

  12. Hi! Have you tried dehydrating a beef trachea? What sort of preservative (except salt of course) could we use to make it last longer?

    Reply
    • No I’ve not yet, but maybe others on here have. The longest way to preserve is freezing.

  13. Good day, my meat sticks to the wire mesh. How can I avoid meat and fruits stick to the mesh wire? Also when I cut the frozen meat, do I have to wait for it to defrost before putting it into the dehydrator? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Just turn them over a bit regular to help stop them sticking. Nah, you dont have to wait to defrost, just stick on.

    • I found this too. I bought a roll of food grade silicone mat (it’s perforated all over so the air still travels through) and cut to size for each of my trays. It’s extra to wash, but it is non-stick 🙂

  14. I just found this link this morning and am very happy for such useful and sound information. Just to be extra sure, after 120 hours or so of dehydrating the chicken feet, they will be safe and do not need to be put in the oven at 275F for 10 minutes? Also do you rinse the feet in just cool water or some type of vinegar rinse as well? And am I able to sprinkle a little turmeric powder on the feet before dehydrating? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Well, I washed mine and recommend it cause they were probably just lying around at some point. Just make sure they are dry when they are cooked. 120 hours depending on your dehydrator. They are great, really worth the effort.

  15. Hi! I was wondering if you know how to convert the weights/quantity of dehydrated meats to incorporate into a raw diet?

    Reply
    • If you can remember what the weight was before you dried it then use that as your measurement. Of course after being dried it will be lighter cause there is no water but the macros will stay the same, eg, same amount of protein, fat etc.

  16. Hello!

    I have just bought my first dehydrator to make my puppies food and snacks for myself. I want to feed my pup mostly by hand throughout the day, but also want to feed a raw diet so thought this would be a great way to do that. I’ve been looking for a blog like this for days, thank you!!
    I have a load of chicken thighs in the freezer, in your opinion are they too fatty to use? Shall I use breast instead?
    Looking forward to trying these out!
    Thank you again, brilliant blog!

    Reply
    • Thanks Shona,

      Well if you take the skin and trim the fat of the thighs they should be just fine.

  17. Could I ask why the dehydrated treats have to go in the freezer to be stored?
    Sorry I have seen this has been answered before 🙂

    Reply
    • just for long term storage. we are mot using preservatives like salt as dogs dont do salt to well. It is preservative free. Should last a while though in fridge. I never need to freeze, nothing ever lasts long enough

  18. Hi! Have you tried dehydrating frog legs? What temperature and no of hours do you recommend? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • lol, no i haven’t. Well I’d guess you’d dry at the usual temp (70c) until they are fully dry. If and when you do it please comment with a photo of the dried frogs legs.

  19. Has anyone dehydrated whole fresh sardines? would like to know settings and time, thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • I’ve not tried that, but sounds good. Id try it at 70c (usually that’s the max temp) and dry until bone dry – may take a good 24 hrs or more. They will become very light and papery, all the way through. No flex at all. You could try sprats too. I’ve actually bought dried sprats for the dogs, dogs love them.

    • I used 70°C 24hrs for fresh sardines

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