Dehydrated Treats How-To
By Emily Hendren
One of the many questions that gets asked by new raw feeders is "What can I give as treats?" The answer is simply this...Dehydrated! You can dehydrate, oven dry, or even fridge dry many of the meats and organs you're already feeding. Dehydrated is also a great option to try out for the picky offal eater as well. Some examples of what you can dehydrate include sliced chicken breast, beef lung, heart, even pig ears. There's lot's of options! Remember to keep in mind of the daily allowance and count your treats towards the 80%.
If using this method for feeding the 10% offal, a good rule of thumb to remember is that once dehydrated the liver, kidney, etc becomes more concentrated due to the moisture being removed. So, best to feed it at 1/3 of the raw weight. For example, if the daily liver requirement calls for 3oz. dehydrated weight would be 1oz.
NO BONES! With the exception of small fish like sprats it is not recommended to dehydrate any form of bone.
Here's some how to's for you to get going on making your pet some yummy raw friendly treats!
1.) Set your dehydrator at 155°F/68°C or 160°F, 70°C
2.) Slice desired meat thin. The thicker the slices the longer they will take. Try no larger than a 1/4" slice. For small bits like chicken gizzards you can leave them as is just give them extra time.
3.) Line slices on your dehydrator trays and begin! Dehydrating time can take anywhere from just 3 hours on up to a couple of days. All depends on what you're using. Check on them every couple of hours or so. Things like tendons, pig ears, and snouts can take up to 48hrs. If the item bends or feels moist continue dehydrating until it's firm and snaps in half.
4.) Store either in an open container in a dry place or in a ziploc baggie in the freezer.
1.) Set your oven to it's lowest temperature. If you have a convection option turn that on to allow air flow. Keep the door slightly ajar as to not allow heat to build up in the oven.
2.) Slice to desired thinness. Line them up on a cookie tray using parchment paper to avoid sticking. Or you can lay slices or large items like trachea on each rack. Just be sure to have something at the bottom of the oven to catch any drippings.
3.) Timing in the oven can be pretty fast, as little as 3 hours. Some items may take longer than others. Check every hour or so. Rotate the tray and flip the items every so often to ensure evenness of drying. If the item is still moist to the touch or bends continue oven drying until it's firm and snaps in half.
4.) Follow the same storage options as above.
1.) Slice to desired thinness. The thinner the better.
2.) Line on a cookie tray using parchment paper to avoid sticking, a cooling rack if you have one available, or just a plate.
3.) Place in the fridge (not the freezer) for 4 days up to a week until they are completely dry like jerky. Check every day and flip them to ensure even dryness. If still moist after a few days just continue until the item is firm and snaps in half.
4.) Follow the same storage recommendation as above.
There you have it. Simple as that. Treats galore! :-)