I love my doggies! And I love to spoil them! But I have a little challenge when it comes to dog treats. My chocolate lab Maddox will eat anything (no problem there), but the other 2 dogs are a little challenging.
Andi, our Great Dane, is super picky when it comes to food. We used to always feed Maddox carrots as treats but Andi doesn’t seem to care too much for them. In fact, she’ll nibble at a carrot for a few minutes then leave all the pieces on the floor and guard it. Although she doesn’t want the carrot that she just shredded, she doesn’t want the other dogs to have it either. Her preference when it comes to food or treats is meat. In fact, she has been known to swipe a sausage piece or two from our skillet as soon as it’s cooked and we are looking the other way. One night, we brought chicken friend rice home from our restaurant, had the container laying open on the counter and left the kitchen to change. What we came back to was a to go container with every piece of chicken carefully picked out and the rice and veggies thoughtfully left behind. Picky eater!
Then there is the Murph! Murphy is our little mixed breed rescue who was dumped in the Everglades. He only has 4 teeth so his tongue always hangs out. He loves to eat but doesn’t like soft food. He has 2 molars on the right side of his mouth so he can chew but it takes him a while. He LOVES apple pieces and enjoys carrots but really struggles to crunch on them.
Therein lies my dilemma. When making dog treats I have to find something that our picky Dane will eat but is not too soft cause Murph won’t care for it, yet small enough that it’s easy for him to chew. So I decided to try my hand at herb flavored jerky. Herb falvored because I have a small herb garden in our backyard and know that herbs are really good for dogs. Lucky for me, it was a HUGE success and provided some extra nutrients to our furry buddies. This is a pretty easy recipe and you don’t have to worry too much about the ingredients as you can purchase them relatively cheaply.
- 1.5 – 2lb roast – Feel free to purchase a roast on sale or the cheapest one. The pieces are cut so small that no matter what they will be easy for your dogs to chew. So the type of meat isn’t very important. In fact, I used a roast I had in my freezer that was getting old.
- 6-7 garlic cloves, minced – You will find websites out there that claim garlic is bad for pets. Unfortunately they are misguided by bad information. Garlic is actually very beneficial for dogs and is good for their coat, allergies, and fighting off teas and flicks. But just like anything you don’t want to overdue it which is the issue behind feeding garlic to your furry ones. Although raw garlic is fine for your dog to eat, I prefer to serve it to them roasted or sauteed so that the “bite” isn’t so harsh. And also, don’t ever feed them more than a clove at a time.
- 1/2 bunch parsley – Parsley helps eliminate bad breathe and also contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- 1 cup oregano – Oregano is good for arthritis and also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties which is good for their digestive system since dogs tend to eat everything they come in to contact with thats remotely edible.
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar – Not only does apple cider vinegar have amazing digestive properties for humans, it has the same benefits for dogs.
The How To:
- Trim all the fat off the meat. Extra fat on jerky makes it less shelf stable. Then cut the meat into small size bites. Since most dogs aren’t too good at chewing their food, its good to give them smaller pieces so that if they eat them whole it won’t hurt them.
- Combine herbs and vinegar in a food processor (I used my nutribullet) and process until liquified then stir into the meat.
- You can dehydrate the meat immediately or let it sit a couple hours or overnight in the fridge. The longer it sits the more the vinegar will break down some of the protein and make the jerky more tender.
- Lay marinated meat out on dehydrator sheets or baking sheets. This can be dehydrated in your dehydrator at 155 degrees farenheit for a couple hours on in your stove at your lowest heat setting. My ovens lowest setting is 175 degrees but some ovens don’t get lower than 250. Either is fine, you will just have to keep and eye on your jerky.
- Check your jerky every 30 minutes to an hour until the jerky is dry to the touch and no longer has much give when pressed.
Try the jerky for yourself. It’s completely safe for humans as well as dogs and you may find yourself fighting your doggies over it. It will remain shelf stable as long as the fat has been trimmed off and its dried all the way through.