If you have an oven, you can make your dog tasty, healthy snacks without breaking the bank. In fact, you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now -- the trick is to dehydrate dog-friendly vegetables, turning them into chewy snacks your dog will love. Since they don't have all of the fillers and preservatives you may find in store-bought treats, you can give treats like these to your pooch without feeling any guilt or worry.
Slice up some dog-friendly vegetables into thin slices -- about 1/2-inch thick will do. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are usually a hit, but if you want, you can even use canned vegetables, like sliced beets.
Preheat your oven to a low temperature, ideally around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This takes longer than dehydrating at a high temperature, prevents the scorching that can happen when you try to rush the job.
Line a cooking sheet with non-stick paper and spread out your vegetable slices on the sheet. Put it in your oven on the top or bottom rack, allowing for a few inches on all sides -- a minimum of 4 to 6 inches on all sides in an electric oven and 1 to 2 inches on all sides in a gas oven. Leave the oven door slightly ajar by propping it open with a hot pad or a wooden block -- this allows humidity to escape while retaining most of the heat, allowing the vegetables to dehydrate instead of just roasting.
Rotate the vegetables every 30 minutes so they get even coverage. Take them out, stir them up and put them back in the opposite position they were -- if they were on the front of the bottom rack, for example, move them to the back of the top rack. Repeat this every 30 minutes until they are firm and dry.
Transfer your vegetables to a wire drying rack while they cool down. After they do, they're ready for your dog to chow down. Store the uneaten treats in a sealed container and refrigerate or freeze.
Items You Will Need
- Dog-safe vegetables
- Vegetable knife
- Baking sheet
- Non-stick paper
- Wire drying rack
- Airtight container
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.