[Activity] Natural Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats

dog treats

Today is Sunka’s fifth birthday! It seems like just yesterday I brought him home and shamed him into eternity by dressing him up as often as possible with camera in hand.

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This little guy has been with me on many, many adventures and I wanted to make his birthday special this year. There was a brisk winter walk, some soccer in the snow, and even a homemade bow tie! I think mint green is stunning on his handsome visage.

One of the other things I love to do for my pups is make my own treats for them. I know where the treats have come from so I know they’re safe, they’re made out of just one or a few ingredients, and they’re cheap – I paid $.89 a pound for these sweet potatoes. If you want to try them, all you need are sweet potatoes, an oven, and most of a day to piddle around the house. (Perfect for bad-weather days!) If you’re not into sweet potatoes, I’ve also included an insanely simple frozen yogurt treat at the end of the post.

It’s a twofer birthday Tuesday!

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1. Grab some sweet potatoes from your grocer and scrub the dirt off in running water. (Size doesn’t matter; I just try to find big ones because I like to experiment with cutting them into different shapes.) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with parchment paper (it soaks up the juice and makes clean up easy). Use a really sharp knife and some caution because they’re tough, and slice up your potatoes into moderately sized pieces. I like making big, potato-length slices and potato-width rounds, but you can try matchsticks and bite-sized pieces, too.

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Fresh sweet potato slices. They look big, but they’ll dehydrate way down.

Into the oven! These two trays make up 1.5 of the 3 potatoes you saw in the first picture.

Into the oven! These two trays make up 1.5 of the 3 potatoes you saw in the first picture.

3. Lay your slices out close to one another to maximize how many you can put on the tray. They reduce in size substantially once they start drying.

4. Set your timer for about 6-7 hours and put your trays in the oven. Flip your slices every 2-3 hours to help them dehydrate evenly. When you flip them, you will see moisture and their orange innards still wet on the unexposed side. You can bake them longer until all that’s gone and the pieces are totally dehydrated, or just until the edges are nice and crunchy but there’s still a little chew in the middle. I like to do a little of each.

After 2 hours, about to be flipped.

After the first 2 hours, about to be flipped.

5. Around 6-7 hours, I either pull them out or just turn the oven off and let them stay in there until the oven’s cool, but each oven is different so it depends on where yours are when you want to take them out.  I store them in a plastic tub with a lid in the fridge or on the counter, depending on how dry they are. More dry = lasts longer without refrigeration, less dry = I’m-afraid-it-will-mold.

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Finished product!

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The rounds are about 2 inches across now, having lost almost an inch.

My dogs love these treats and they can’t scarf them down without chomping on them, which I love because they actually have to work for it. The key to this recipe is experimentation – I like my treats to end up mostly dehydrated with a little chew right in the middle, but maybe you want them more chewy or more dehydrated!

If you’re not up for baking your own or you want something to mix it up with, I  highly recommend Snook’s Sweet Potato Dog Chews. They’re a little high in price, but totally worth it. They’re huge, and it takes Sunka a good few minutes to demolish one, far longer than it takes him to eat one of my little homemade ones. Snook’s is a little Oregon company and they make all their chews in the US. You can get them on a rope or loose in a bag. I’ve found that Sunka will play with the rope for a while but lose interest, whereas he’ll forget about the ones in a bag until I open it up every few days, thus retaining the excitement factor.

5lb bag for $35 - totally worth it. Snook's Dog Chews

5lb bag for $35 – totally worth it. Snook’s Dog Chews

Here’s the yogurt popsicle treat:

1. Obtain bone, or open toy such as a Kong.

2. If you have a long object, you can wrap a little aluminum foil around the bottom so the yogurt doesn’t cascade out (see pic below).

3. Pour in about 1-3 spoonfuls of plain yogurt depending on the size of your pup (Sunka and Tink both weigh more than 50lbs). Flavored yogurts are often sweetened artificially so I don’t use those, and the dogs seem to like plain just as well. If I’m feeling especially generous, I’ll put 4 or 5 kibbles into the yogurt.

4. Toss them in the freezer for a few hours. Make a whole bunch and you’re set for a couple weeks!

Mmm, doggie froyo.

Mmm, doggie froyo.

Alternatives to yogurt are canned pumpkin (make sure it’s just pumpkin and not pumpkin pie) or peanut butter. The yogurt, pumpkin, and sweet potato seem to be pretty good digestive supplements for dogs from what I’ve read, but they are treats, so I try not to overdo it. Try. Try is definitely the key word there. I’ve definitely given both my dogs stinky butts by giving them more than 2-3 of these treats a week, so monitor your pups. They’re just so darn happy when they get goodies!

my precious

Thanks for reading and let me know if you try them! :)

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Posted on December 10, 2013, in Activities and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on [Activity] Natural Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats.

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