We all love giving our dogs treats as much as they love getting them. But In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration cautioned pet owners about a possible link between retail chicken jerky treats and a mysterious illness in dogs. Thousands of dogs across the United States became ill and hundreds died. There seemed to be a connection with the dogs consuming chicken strips, tenders and treats that were imported from China. Tests on over 1000 jerky-style treat samples collected by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine have revealed little information to date.
The treats in question are strips or tenders made from chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit. Vomiting, decreased appetite, bloody diarrhea and increased water consumption are among the symptoms that appear within hours of eating the treats.
In early 2013, a New York lab reportedly found traces of six unapproved antibiotic drugs in specific jerky treats that were made in China. Although the levels of the drugs were very low and not believed to have caused the illnesses, the products were removed from the market. The FDA issued a warning about jerky-style treats, and some companies voluntarily recalled some of their products.
Your veterinarians and staff at Encanto Pet Clinic want to help your pet stay happy and healthy, so we are sharing two easy recipes for dog treats that you can make at home. Our Churkey Treats require only one ingredient – how much easier can it get? The Carrot Sesame Bites are vegetarian and can be modified for gluten-free or grain-free dog diets. Fae, our guest taste-tester, approved of both recipes!
We would love to have your feedback, and share your own special homemade dog (or cat) treat recipes with us. Email us your comments or post on our Facebook page!
Ingredients: Chicken or turkey breasts
Heat oven to 200 degrees.
Grease a cookie sheet or shallow casserole dish with oil.
Remove the skin from chicken or turkey breasts and rinse clean.
Slice the breast with the grain, creating thin, wide fillets. Try to make the slices about 1/8” thick.
Place the fillets on the baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for approximately 2 hours, depending on your oven temperature and the thickness of the fillets. You can also dry using a dehydrator – follow the instructions for jerky in your dehydrator’s cooking manual. The pieces should be dry, firm, and slightly bendable, but not soft or tender in any way. If you are in doubt, opt for overcooked jerky rather than undercooked.
Cool completely. Cut into strips or chunks using kitchen shears.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, and in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.
Carrot Sesame Bites.
4 to 5 medium-size carrots. ¼ cup sesame seeds 2 cups flour (potato or spelt for grain-free treats, or whole wheat flour)
Grate carrots (there is no need to peel). Place in a pot and add sesame seeds and enough water to cover the carrots. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until carrots are soft. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Without draining, pour carrots and sesame seeds into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth puree.
Measure 2 cups of carrot puree into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of flour and mix into a dough consistency. You may have to add flour. Mix only until dough is no longer sticky – turn onto a floured surface and gently knead into a ball. Press and flatten the dough with your fingers until it is approximately ¼ inch thick.
Cut the dough into shapes or squares using a pizza cutter, knife or cookie cutters (We simply cut ours into 1 inch by ½ rectangles). Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake the treats at 275 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until treats are lightly browned but puffy and light. Do not rush the baking process by turning up the heat – the treats will burn. Allow them to cool completely before storing or giving to your dog. We suggest storing the treats in the refrigerator or freezer.
Substitute cooked barley or flax seeds for the sesame seeds, or leave out altogether.
Use chicken, beef or vegetable broth instead of water when cooking the carrots.
Experiment with flours for gluten-free or grain free diets.
Carrots can be substituted with pumpkin, winter squash, or sweet potatoes.
If you are short on time, try substituting the cooked carrots with baby food – carrots, pumpkin, green beans, sweet potatoes or squash are good choices. Do not choose foods that include onions, garlic, mushrooms or rhubarb. These foods can be toxic to dogs.
No sweetener or spice is necessary – the carrots are slightly sweet and appealing to dogs. However, you can add dog-friendly spices (sage or mint, for instance) to enhance the taste.