Since making the switch to raw I think the thing I miss most is making adorable holiday themed baked treats! That being said I always used top quality ingredients with health benefits, so in the next few weeks I still plan on sharing those recipes! I also plan on going a lot more in-depth on the treat subject in future posts, this was just something that came to mind during doggie dinner time. I thought it might be helpful with Halloween coming up!
Treats can be as simple (or as complicated) as we want them to be for various purposes. These are a few of my favorite “tricks” to keep quick and easy treats on hand.
1. Almost anything can be dehydrated! I can’t say enough about how much I love my dehydrator! It’s a cheap and easy way to make whatever meat I have an excess of into a long lasting crispy treat. I can also control the quality this way and I know it won’t be full of preservatives! AND it saves money and freezer space!
I also dehydrate veggies for snacks for both animals and humans in the house 😉
2. Almost anything can be frozen! This is another great and even easier option for excess meat!
It’s also a great way to hide veggies! I bought these adorable little paw print silicone molds (ice cube trays work just fine) fill them with a veggie purée I make and throw in something appetizing. A lot of dogs will eat them plain… mine won’t! Adding a bit of puréed liver or ground beef makes her love them. Typically she’s not great about the veg mix so I like this method a lot.
BONE broth works great also!!
Frozen chicken feet take longer to eat on a hot day and blueberries are great to use also!
After these more basic treats is my personal favorite for fall:
Candy corn frozen treats:
(Any silicone mold or ice try will do)
1. Fill 1/4 of tray with plain yogurt (I use raw goats milk yogurt) and place in freezer for around 20 min or so just so it freezes
2. Fill the next 1/4 layer with organic pumpkin purée and freeze again
3. Fill the last 1/4 with golden paste (or puréed banana) and freeze until the whole thing is solid.
The extra 1/4 is just to allow for expansion, I always end up going over the 1/4 measurement and it’s always fine. It’s just a guideline.
Now you’ve got yourself some super healthy candy corn dog treats! *These can be messy so be careful to serve on a surface that can be cleaned easily!
3. Almost anything can be baked! Before I had a dehydrator or even now sometimes when I just don’t have time to use it, the oven is the next best option. I don’t personally like to use it for all meat because of issues with cooked meats being linked to cancer risks, but I do bake veggies and liver.
I try to stick with a low temp (200 degrees max) for liver. It’s also a GREAT way to make kale, apple, sweet potato, etc crisps for some crunchy, tasty, healthy fiber!
*Also, most dehydrated treat recipes come with oven version options!
Here is a link to my go-to liver treat recipe:
4. One final trick I use is feeding her daily bone AS a treat. 2-3 times per week she gets a larger meaty bone. I serve it separate from dinner time because it’s messy and takes longer to eat. This might be cheating but she’s always thrilled to see it!
All of these items (besides the candy corn) can also be found at most independent dog stores, they are all healthy and great for cleaning teeth! I also love to buy and keep some freeze dried in the house because they retain their nutrients the best (I can’t freeze dry on my own) and they’re a great back up for unforeseen circumstances and trips!
For Howl-o-ween this year I made
chicken and duck feet because I had a bunch and they’re supper creepy!! I also made some bone broth pupsicles with dried string bean sticks.
Every dehydrator machine is slightly different. I have a Nesco but they all come with detailed descriptions for different items (meat, fish, fruit, veg etc). I do most meats at around 158F. Different cut thicknesses and fat content also vary the time they take to make so many recipes are just guesstimates. You kind of just have to check. I’ve left them in too long many times though and it’s always fine so I usually don’t stress about it.
The down side of feet is they take 3x as long as lean thin cut meat strips so when I make these, I make a lot so I don’t have to do it too often. Dehydrating most meats takes around 12-24 hrs but feet take me 3-4 days at 122F. (Lean meats also lasts the longest because fat can’t fully dry.)
A good tip for thin slicing (organs especially – after washing and patting them dry) is freezing them first!
I also ALWAYS dehydrate outside on my porch because it can be pretty stinky. Not really lean meats but feet, organs, ears and tripe would be nauseating in the house (learned this one the hard way lol).
Pig ears are another great treat! They take a little bit less time (16-24 hours depending on thickness) and provide extra entertainment because of how long they take to eat!
As we get closer to the holiday madness, I will be trying to come up with new ways to make these items more festive. Raw food is perfect for Halloween however and couldn’t make for a healthier treat!!
Remember, tricks deserve treats on this holiday 😉 and it’s no fun being healthy without the occasional treat!
We hope everyone stays safe and has a spooktacular night!!
Candy corn pawsicles
Dehydrated chicken feet
Dehydrated duck feet
Dehydrated pig ears
You can make anything interesting if you want to! As adults we can play with our food (I know my dog does!) It’s fun to be creative!