Jerky is a delicious and nutritious snack for humans and dogs alike. It is high in protein and low in fat, making it a healthy alternative to commercial dog treats. Jerky is also relatively easy to make at home.
What You’ll Need:
- Lean meat, such as beef, chicken, or turkey (about 1 pound)
- Salt (optional)
- Other seasonings (optional, such as black pepper, garlic powder, or onion powder)
- Dehydrator or oven
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet (if using an oven)
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Trim any excess fat from the meat.
- Cut the meat into thin strips, about 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch wide.
- If desired, season the meat with salt and other seasonings.
- Dehydrator: Place the meat strips on a single layer on a dehydrator tray. Set the dehydrator to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate the meat for 6-8 hours, or until it is dry and brittle.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (usually 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Place the meat strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven and bake for 2-3 hours, or until they are dry and brittle.
- Once the jerky is finished dehydrating or baking, let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
- For a chewier jerky, cut the meat into thicker strips.
- For a crispier jerky, cut the meat into thinner strips and dehydrate or bake it for longer.
- Be careful not to over-dehydrate or bake the jerky, or it will become hard and difficult to chew.
- You can also use a meat grinder to grind the meat into a coarse mixture before dehydrating or baking it. This will make softer jerky that is easier for dogs to eat.
- You can add other ingredients to the jerky, such as sweet potato, pumpkin, or carrots. Just be sure to cook the vegetables thoroughly before adding them to the jerky.
Store the jerky in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. You can also store the jerky in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Peanut Butter Jerky: Add 1/4 cup of peanut butter to the meat strips before dehydrating or baking.
- Sweet Potato Jerky: Cut a sweet potato into thin strips and cook it in the oven until it is soft. Add the sweet potato strips to the meat strips before dehydrating or baking.
- Pumpkin Jerky: Add 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin to the meat strips before dehydrating or baking.
Jerky is a healthy and nutritious snack for dogs, but it is important to feed it in moderation. Jerky is high in protein and calories, so too much can cause stomach upset or weight gain.
Start by giving your dog a small piece of jerky to see how they tolerate it. If they do well, you can gradually increase the amount you give them. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog no more than 1 ounce of jerky per day.
Homemade jerky treats are a healthy and delicious snack for dogs. They are easy to make and can be customized to your dog’s preferences. Jerky is also a great way to use up leftover meat or vegetables.
Be sure to follow the safety guidelines above when making jerky for your dog. And always feed jerky in moderation.