HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO DOG TREATS
Homemade sweet potato dog treats…YUM!! I first ever used these with my Amstaff puppy who had a lot of food sensitivities and ever since then these have been the treat of choice for all my dogs. I also use these as add-ons to a lot of my other recipes I use, so when you see, “add potato flair” it simply means garnish with one of these bad boys.
With these cooking instructions, it is what works best for me due to my cutting my baking equipment and my knowledge of picking out the right pieces from the grocery store or market. So I would recommend your first time to watch closely, take out early and let cool and if they are not chewy enough, put them back in again. Your first few times will take a little longer until you figure out where it works best for you. Be sure to create a recipe card once you have your technique figured out.
I have two recipes for these, one is for the add-ons and a fully natural organic sweet potato chew and the second we make it into a sort of doggy vitamin. I will tell you the organic version and at the end, I will tell you my doggy vitamin recipe that will help with medical conditions that are predominant in Labs. Here are some photos of finished products so you know what you are looking for and what you don’t want as a finished product.
In these two pictures can tell by the color which is chewy and which are crunchy. You can also tell by the thickness of the cut as well, a thinner slice will dehydrate quicker. You can also cut them into circles with a mandolin but I have found that they don’t dehydrate as nicely as the lengthwise cut when baking but the round slices work better if you are using an actual dehydrator.
- 1-5 – Decent sized sweet potatoes
- 1 – Large sharpened knife or mandolin
- 1-2 Large baking sheets
- Parchment paper
- 1 – Airtight container (glass preferred)
- Optional items
- Glucosamine powder
- Basting brush
- Small mixing bowl
SOME ADDED TIPS AND TRICKS
- When you’re picking out your sweet potatoes, I usually go for ones a little shorter than the cutting knife you are using. I also try to find ones that are evenly grown, no odd shapes of wavy kinked prospects and no bruises or dark spots because remember you and your children can snack on these as well!
- Sweet potatoes are not the easiest thing to slice thin so a sharp knife is imperative and will help reduce slipping. My wife wasn’t happy when I nailed a nail through her cutting board that I would stick the end of the sweet potato on to stop rolling. If you are worried about divorce, you can also take a slice off 1 side to create a flat surface to cut on. If you are using a mandolin, microwave your sweet potato for 30-40secs on high then slice. Because of the difficulty in cutting here, I would avoid letting children help with this stage.
- When cutting your slices, aim for even unified pieces so they will all cook evenly. If you decide to do the optional recipe that will have a sauce based on, I would remove the skin to again create equal cooking but for this o’natural way, I would leave the skins on for added crunchy texture.
- When cooking, avoid using glassware as it becomes harder to actually dehydrate. The parchment paper ensures proper dehydration and non-stick cooking.
- For the lab that likes crunchier treats cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. Generally, 3 hour bake times yield chewy treats but remember they will continue to cook until they fully cool so cool fully before deciding on more cook time to be added. The more you make these you will be able to eyeball it by the color they turn.
- Lastly, when storing these they keep best in glass containers. If your freezing them a Ziploc freezer bag will work fine. Generally, these freeze well up to 4 months time. Big batches are a good idea as I guarantee you that you will have all the dogs at the dog park sitting at your feet for these naturally sweet treats. I have nothing to do with how fast these treats disappear.
LET'S GET COOKING!!!
- Preheat your oven to 250F or 120C for our Canadian friends…I think that’s backward as I am Canadian…or am I just backwards?
- Cover your baking tray with the parchment paper and set aside. Be sure not to put over the vent to the oven as I did my first time making these.
- Wash your sweet potatoes and then begin slicing lengthwise to about 1/4″ thickness but no thinner as they will cook too fast. This is why I like the mandolin as they are extremely consistent and you won’t lose a finger. If the mandolin is your choice just be sure to lop off both ends. If you are using a knife as you have skills like Gordon Ramsey, create that flat side to stable the sweet potato and start slicing lengthwise. You can also cut the rounds but lengthwise works best.
- place them onto your parchment paper covered baking tray leaving space in between each piece.
- Bake for 3 hours to start, flipping once halfway through and you can even spin the tray around as well.
- Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Let them fully cool before you decide to cook them more. You are looking for an almost jerky or dried apricot texture. Not sweaty or mushy and not snapping in half.
- If more time is required continue at 250F/120C for another 20-30 minutes keeping a close eye on them at this point. Overcooking can sneak up really quickly. Best to under cook as you can always cook some more if needed but it doesn’t work in reverse if they are overcooked.
- Once fully cooled remove from wire rack and place in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks or freeze in a Ziploc freezer bag for up to 4 months. These are just guidelines so always use your best judgment.
There you have it, healthy, natural, inexpensive easy to make dog treats that the whole family can share. What other dog treat can say that! I have heard of people trying this recipe with yams as they were on sale but I have never tried them with a dog, heck, I have not even tried them. If you have tried yams or you have your own sweet potato chew recipe please share it in the comments below.
Earlier I had mentioned my miracle doggy vitamin version. There’s actually 2 versions to this recipe as well. The cooking instructions are all the exact same except we will add one extra step. So without further adieu.
HONEY GLO GLAZED SWEET POTATO TREATS
In a small bowl mix 2 Tbsp of honey and glucosamine powder. I usually use a 1/2-1 Tsp of Glucosamine powder depending on how concentrated your powder is but anywhere from 1/4-1/2 Tsp will work fine. Glucosamine powder helps fight arthritis, hip dysplasia and many other things but those are the 2 we want to fight as they are very predominant in our lovable labs. In the last 30 minutes of cooking the sweet potatoes, use your basting brush and apply a thin coat, flip and apply another thin coat to that side and continue cooking for the remainder time. Once the full cook time has expired and if they are still runny, you can broil them till they start to brown. Be careful as broiling again can over cook in a blink of an eye.
PARMESAN-MINT SWEET POTATO CHEWS
These ones are sort of made on the fly. You make your sweet potato chews and store away until you need them. Then dust them with parmesan cheese and a few flakes of mint. This helps freshen their breath a bit. These are a little messy but that’s why we make them on the fly but every Labrador I have encountered love these so they make a nice once and awhile treats. These treats also worked best with sweet potato rounds as opposed to the lengthwise cuts but either will do. I also found either broiling the tops or taking a torch to them can make them less of a mess. You just need to melt the cheese and then let them cool again so as not to burn your puppy or dogs mouth. Just remember they are for your fury friend so don’t eat them all yourself.