Sweet Potato Puppy Treats

Since I’ve been back home in Minnesota with Nova, the usual feeding routine has become a little bit trickier-trying to feed three dogs at similar times in the right order (head dog to lowest dog) and make sure no one eats someone else’s is a little more time consuming.

Giving them treats (or as we call them, cookie treats) is even more problematic. Nova is still working on basic training so she tends to get a treat quite often, and will happily eat and enjoy whatever you give her. Indie and Pippin, however, are much older and only get treats for certain things, like after a good walk or as a bedtime snack. Indie is also a bit overweight so her treats are even more sparse. But, unlike Nova, Indie and Pippin are a pair of picky eaters. Between the concerns about treats made in China and looking for healthier, safer alternatives, they’ve tried many brands and flavors, but rarely like the same treat. As you can imagine finding a treat all three will eat is virtually impossible. That changed when I bought a trial pack of Sam’s Yams from our local pet store.

I gave Nova the biggest piece and to our surprise, Indie and Pippin showed a lot of interest (well, even more than they do whenever they hear a bag rattle). I figured Nova would love hers, as she likes some other treats that have sweet potatoes in them, but Indie and Pippin are notorious for ignoring anything that includes them, so I cut one of the Bichon Fries into two small chunks and handed them out. After a few puzzled moments everyone had happily eaten their piece and were looking for more! We were stunned. We were even happier because both Indie and Pippin have less than stellar teeth so finding a chewable they’ll gnaw on for a period of time is tough (although they do love the Zuke’s Z Bones), but the Sam’s Yams have patented ridges for cleaning.

At this point I was kinda bummed I didn’t buy an actual bag at the store, but they were pretty expensive for dried pieces of sweet potato. I decided I would try and make them at home in the oven, but my mom reminded me we had a dehydrator. Not only would it be easier to use, we wouldn’t have to run the oven for three odd hours-a MAJOR bonus when the temps and humidity outside are scorching.

I bought the biggest, most uniform sweet potato I could find. Even though it’d be well washed, I was going to leave the skin on, I shelled out a bit more for an organic one. It’d be easier if the slices were a uniform thickness so I tried our mandoline. Granted, it’s not a very expensive model and it’s fairly old, but sweet potatoes are dense and my slicing was fairly difficult. I switched over to a good old fashioned knife and a cutting board.

Sweet potato slices

A more uniform in shape sweet potato is easier to slice evenly

In hopes of mimicking the fries, I tried the mandoline again using a julienne blade, but they were pretty small and equally tough to do so I cut the rest into thick chunks.

Julienned pieces

The few “fry sized” slices

Chunky fries

I cut these into wedges hoping for a thicker finished product

Our dehydrator is old and doesn’t have any temperature controls, but after doing some research online, it looked like the minimum amount of time was about three hours. Some of the pieces/slices were done by then, but most of them required about five hours total.

Finished treats

As you can see, the thinner ones were quite crispy while the slices were slightly crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle

They didn’t have the same ridges as Sam’s Yams, but they felt and looked pretty close. I gave one to each pup (again, Nova got a large slice while Indie and Pippin each got a fry) and waited for the results. Having already tasted them, they were less skeptical and they went down even quicker. Success!! I even tried one and was pleasantly surprised. I’m usually not a fan of sweet potatoes, but dehydrating them made them much sweeter and the crunchiness made them seem more like a potato chip than a veggie.

While they’re a bit more time consuming than just running to the store and grabbing a bag, making them myself is sooooo much cheaper, I know exactly what’s in them and I can control the size and texture to fit each dog’s needs.

Sweet Potato Chews for Puppies

1 large sweet potato, washed well and dried (you may also peel it, but our pups liked the crunchy skin)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven/dehydrator to 250
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Cut off one side of the sweet potato lengthwise, as close to the edge as possible, allowing you to have a flat surface to make cutting easier, or slice using a mandoline, making sure slices are no smaller than 1/4″ (most treats are about 1/3″ thick)
  • place the slices on the baking sheet in a single layer
  • Bake for 3 hours, turning slices halfway through (this is optional if using a dehydrator, but you might need to rotate the trays–consult your dehydrator’s manual for more information)
  • Cool completely on a wire rack
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 4 months

Tips & Tricks:

  • Try to pick a sweet potato as uniform in size as possible. This will aid in the drying process. Look for a potato with fewer blemishes or bruises.
  • You can experiment cutting the potato into different sizes and shapes to suit your dog’s taste. In my case, Nova likes larger, thicker chews, but Pippin, who has a small mouth likes thinner, softer chews
  • Baking for 3 hours results in a soft, but chewy treat. For a crunchier treat, bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, but check on them often.
  • When the pieces come out of the oven, they may appear to be too soft, but once cooled, you’ll be able to tell if they need to be baked longer or not.

**UPDATE** Well, it turns out Indie and Pippin are back to their picky ways; we’ve offered the sweet potato treats again at various times (and various sizes and textures), but neither one will eat them again. On the bright side, Nova is quite thrilled to eat their leftovers!!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: