Affordable Healthy Diet for Dogs Part 2: 5 Ideas for DIY Dog Chews
This is the second part in our series on an affordable, healthy diet for your dog. Catch up on the full series here:
Every dog parent knows that most dogs love to chew. It gets out a lot of pent-up energy and dogs find it satisfying. But a lot of commercially available dog chews, such as pig ears, can be very fatty and unhealthy. Other chews such as rawhide can be a choking hazard. A lot of dogs enjoy chewing on beef or pork bones, but some veterinarians warn that these can break your dog’s teeth.
Luckily there are some very easy ideas you can make at home that can satisfy your dog’s chewing instinct that are healthier than the products found in a pet store.
Dog Chew Idea 1: Large Frozen Carrot
The first dog chew idea is incredibly simple and easy, so it’s perfect for a busy dog parent! Take a large carrot and stick it in the freezer. Once it is completely frozen, you can give it to your dog as a chew toy. Frozen carrots are perfect for teething puppies or for any dog that loves to chew.
Once the carrot starts to thaw, put it back in the freezer for your dog to enjoy at another time.
Dog Chew Idea 2: Dehydrated Sweet Potato Slices
Slices of dehydrated sweet potato make a satisfying and healthy substitute for rawhide.
To prepare the sweet potato chews, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. You can also use a dehydrator if your have one.
Wash and dry your sweet potatoes. Thinly slice your potatoes length-wise, 1/4- 1/3 inch wide max.
Place them on a baking sheet (line with parchment for easier clean up.) Then bake them for 3 hours, turning them over halfway through. You want them to be pretty chewy and dry.
Be sure to store them in the fridge or freezer because if they could get moldy if they are left out.
For step by step directions, see this video:
Dog Chew Idea 3: Frozen Chicken Stock and Peanut Butter Chews
A lot of dogs enjoy chewing on ice cubes. You can make some very satisfying dog chews by freezing chicken stock and peanut butter. This is a great refreshing treat for the summer months. It might be a little messy when your dog is eating it, so it’s better to feed this one outside.
For this recipe, you need only chicken stock and peanut butter. Be sure to use peanut butter that is 100% peanuts – it’s best to avoid added sugar and sweeteners.
Fill your ice cube tray half full with chicken stock. You can use regular ice cube trays or fun shapes if you have them. Freeze the chicken stock for 1 hour and remove the tray. Fill the ice cubes the rest of the way with peanut butter and freeze for at least 4 more hours.
Dog Chew Idea 4: Homemade Jerky
Jerky is popular treat for dogs. You can easily make your own jerky for your dogs, which gives you a lot more control over the fat content and the origin of the meat.
Chicken is one of the healthiest meats for dogs, we recommend using chicken breast fillets for this recipe. However, you can create jerky from any meat using this technique. Organ meat is inexpensive, and dogs love it, though some people find the smell of cooked organ meat unappealing.
For this recipe, use plain meat and do not add any salt or spices.
- Preheat oven to 200° F
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
- Rinse off chicken breast and remove any fat.
- Slice the chicken with the grain. This will help make the jerky even chewier for your dog. The slices should be very thin, about 1/8" to 1/4" thickness.
- Place the strips on the baking sheet.
- Bake for approximately 2 hours.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
- Cut strips into bite sized pieces.
Store homemade jerky in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Freeze any remainder for up to 8 months.
Dog Chew Idea 5: Dehydrated Salmon Skin
Many dogs love the smell of fish and fish oil is great for your dog’s skin. If you have a local seafood market or fishmonger, you should be able to get Salmon skin from them. Sometimes they will even give it to you for free!
- Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil on the stove, and add the salmon skins – allow to boil for 2-3 minutes
- When done boiling, pull out skins and allow to cool a minute or two before slicing
- Pat all water off of the salmon skins, and slice them in long strips, uneven sizes are fine for this recipe
- Place the salmon skin strips on your dehydrator trays, allowing room in-between for good airflow
- Set dehydrator or stove at 175 degrees, and salmon skins will be done in 8-10 hours
- Allow salmon skin treats to cool before placing in a glass, airtight container for up to a month
Have you tried making any chews for your dog at home? Leave a comment below!