I am always looking for natural dog treats to spoil Milly with. About a month ago I picked up a bag of dehydrated sweet potatoes for her. They are cut into strips, and the perfect treat to give her – it takes her longer than a small biscuit would to eat, but it isn’t a chew treat that she would spend a significant amount of time on. She goes bonkers for her sweet potato treats, but they aren’t cheap. My bag was $9, and I now have 3 treats left in it. It probably had about 2 or 3 sweet potatoes worth of dehydrated strips in it when I originally bought the bag.
For a long time I have been thinking about purchasing a dehydrator to make my own jerky treats, but right now my next big dog purchase is going to be a professional dryer, and so I’m putting the dehydrator on the backburner for now. But, I really can’t justify or afford regularly spending $9 on bags of dog treats that won’t last that long, and to me the price seems somewhat steep, so I decided to see if I could make these myself.
A few days ago I bought two sweet potatoes ($.99 each) and scrubbed them very well. I then thinly sliced them, and laid them on a cookie sheet (I lightly greased the cookie sheet with oil, but I don’t think I will do that in the future), and pre-heated the oven for 200 degrees. The hardest part was thinly slicing the potatoes, and I found the thinner slices the better. I then laid my sliced potatoes on a cookie sheet (1 potato sliced perfectly fit 1 cookie sheet) and put them in the oven, and waited. Every 30 minutes I flipped the potato slices, and back in the oven they went. I waited, and waited, and waited… after almost four hours in the oven I was tired of waiting. The thinnest sliced potatoes I removed at about 2.5 hours (they were potato chip thin), but the larger strips (like the dehydrated bag I bought) were not yet crispy. I cranked up the heat to 350, and gave them another hour and a half in the oven. The results were great! I actually tasted the chip thin ones, and loved them. Totally baked, all-natural, healthy, easy and satisfying, but would Milly like them? I always ask her to perform a task before she gets a treat so I asked for a “down” and then handed her the potato, and she gobbled it right up, and wagged her tail asking for more. I still have a few left from my homemade batch, and all-in-all I think it was a success.
In the future I plan on doing this on a weekend when I have time to be at the house with the oven on. I will set the oven to 200-250 next time, and give them 6-8 hours at this low heat. Other than wanting to cook them for more time at a lower heat to really dry them out, I was very pleased with my cost-saving healthy alternative to buying dog treats at the store. Milly seems pleased too.
If you have a dehydrator I totally suggest doing them in that, but if you don’t have one, give it a whirl. It’s a great treat for dogs on a grain free diet too! I am saving about $7 by making these myself, and that is $7 I can put towards either a puppy, or the dog dryer I am lusting after! :)