Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Natural Chicken Jerky for Dogs

So, remember how I warned you that it might be a little dog-centric around here for a bit?  I'm making good on that promise, with homemade chicken jerky for dogs.

Twister says "YUM!"  And I would have had a picture of him saying that for you, but he also seems to have a thing about having his picture taken while eating.  He kept trying to take his chicken jerky somewhere a little more private.

When I went a-searchin' for natural recipes for dog treats, I came across this one over and over and over again, and seeing how as I have a boatload of chicken breast bits, I decided to give it a try.

It goes a little something like this:

You'll want to use 1-2 chicken breasts (or in my case, enough breast pieces to equal 1-2 breasts, since that was what was on hand).  They looked like this:

Eww.  They look a little frozen still because they are.  Because slightly frozen chicken breast is so much easier to slice than fully thawed chicken breast.

Which is a great segue to show you this:

That is what it all looks like when all the bits are sliced and and stretched out on a foiled cookie sheet, ready to start dehydrating.  I tried for the thinest slices I could manage, but in hindsight, I might go just a bit thicker.  These dried out great, but were pretty paper thin, and didn't give Twister much to chew on for any length of time.  Oh, and when you slice, slice with the grain, to make the strips a little tougher.  Something I only recently learned about meat - slicing with the grain makes meat chewier and tougher.  Slicing against the grain keeps it tender.  So for your meat, against the grain.  Dog chews - with the grain.

Did you know that?  You did?  Oh. Me too.  I was just checking to see if you did.


Some of the recipes that I found used a dehydrator.  I don't have a dehydrator.  I have this:

It's called an oven.  Well, the bottom one is an oven.  The top one is a micro-convection.

But I digress.

I set the oven to preheat to 200 degrees.  Have you ever heated your oven to only 200 degrees.  Me either.  It took about a second and a half.

Then I tossed carefully placed the cookie sheet in the 200 degree oven, and let it sit there for two hours.  At the two hour mark, I pulled it out, peeled all the little jerky pieces from the foil, flipped them over and let it go for another half an hour or so.


Perfect little strips of chicken jerky made at home with loving hands.  Hands that got scrubbed numerous times throughout this process because I hate raw chicken.

Now, there were a few things that I learned in this endeavor:

1.  Don't bother with the foil.  It gets in the way.  As the chicken dries, it shrinks.  Problem is, if it is on foil it's sticking to foil.  So the foil is getting pulled and popping up and just generally not working well.  Next time I will just use the cookie sheet all by it's little lonesome, and just suck up the fact that there will be dishes.

2.  I already mentioned this, but cut the pieces a little thicker.  Not super thick or anything, just not so paper thin.  They say 1/8 to 1/4 inch, but no bigger.  I just had to go get all fancy and see how thin I could go.  Wrong choice.

3.  Use big chicken breasts.  I had those little bits on hand, but the resulting chewy things were more a choking hazard than a satisfying chew for Twister, poor guy.  

So, there you have it.  A natural, homemade alternative to nasty dog treats that were made in China and probably recalled anyway.

Just saying.

What treats do you make for your pets?

I linked this post at these amazing blogs:

Or So She Says
Be Different, Act Normal
Too Much Time On My Hands
It's Overflowing
House Of Hepworths
A Glimpse Inside


  1. Where do you find the time. You are so cute. I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Thanks Kollette! I really enjoy your blog too!! :-)

  3. Hi Jen, I found your blog through Kollette. I have two dogs and I'll definitely give this a go, Thanks! Oh, I have a FB and Blog, both are Essential Planet: https://www.facebook.com/essentialplanet & http://essentialplanet.blogspot.com/
    Check them out when you have time, I'll be watching and reading yours, :-)

  4. Hi Peggy! Thanks so much for stopping by Noodles and Nuggets! I will definitely be checking out your blog and FB too! Let me know how these jerky strips come out for you... :-)

  5. Hi Jen,
    I make peanut butter and whole wheat treats for our Daisy, I found the recipe on Pinterest. I usually make a triple recipe and just roll it out, cut them with a pizza cutter and bake them. We haven't bought any treats for her in almost a year. We had gotten a quarter of a cow once and the farmer told me that the heart tongue are real treats for a dog (yuck) so I made jerky out of those and she loved it. I am looking forward to trying the chicken.

  6. Hi Kathy! Oh how I would love to buy a quarter of a cow! I have a post coming up about canning meat, and I could do a LOT with a quarter of a cow. :-) I will look up the PB and whole wheat treats... I would love to try them. Thanks for the tip!