If you know me at all or follow me on Snapchat, you know that I love our little pooches like they are my babies. I do my best to use the best quality ingredients when it comes to cooking and eating at home, and the same goes for our dogs. I have posted before about how we feed our dogs a raw meat diet, and while I believe this is still the ideal diet, this has changed because C and I love to travel so much and it was too much of a hassle to worry about while we were away. Also, it wasn’t working great for Sally, our shih tzu, so we have switched it up to high quality grain-free dehydrated raw kibble while still supplementing with eggs, bones, liver, and raw meat occasionally.
When it comes to treats, I’ve found that there are also many great quality products that we can buy but they are quite expensive if you want the ones with just 1 ingredient in them (high quality meat) without any kind of fillers and grains. I realized that making them at home is a much better option that’s both healthy and economical. Luckily for us, our local farmers market has a meat vendor that sells ground up grass fed raw food for dogs which includes beef meat, bones and various organs like hearts, livers, and kidneys. I’ve bought them previously to supplement their food, but I realized I could use them to make homemade beef jerky for them!
If you can’t find a mixture like this one, you can just use ground beef or make your own mix after buying the parts separately. All these various parts contain different nutrients that are so beneficial and the dogs go crazy for them. Just like humans, it’s important for the dogs to eat all parts of the animal for the maximum nutrient profile. You don’t always need to get grass fed, but if you have the option and the means, I think it’s worth getting. After all, the dogs give us so much happiness in our lives, why wouldn’t we want to give them the best stuff so they can be healthy even as they get older?
Homemade Beef Jerky for Dogs
- 1 lb mixture of ground beef, organ meats, and bones (you can use just ground beef as well)
- Preheat oven 130 degrees F or to its lowest setting.
- Place the meat mixture on a parchment paper and use your hands or a greased rolling pin to flatten out the meat to about 1/8 inch thick.
- Use a blunt knife to score the meat into a checkerboard pattern so you can later break them into bite sized pieces.
- Place the entire thing on a baking sheet, and dehydrate in the oven for 8 hours.
- Take out of the oven and tilt the baking sheet carefully over the sink to drain out any grease that seeped out.
- Break the beef into pieces along the previously scored lines, then place them in a single layer on a cooling rack on top of a fresh baking sheet.
- Place back in the oven for 4-5 more hours. There may be more drippings that fall into the baking sheet.
- Store at room temperature for 3 weeks, or keep in the fridge if planning to keep longer than that.