Homemade treats make an excellent, inexpensive gift for the holidays and will thrill your 4- and 2-legged friends. These treats are great year-round, but may be just the thing you are looking for to give special clients a nice thank-you.
About a year ago we started hearing about recalls of pet treats on a regular basis. We’re still hearing of dogs getting ill and dying after eating jerky imported from China. At that time, I decided to start making my own pet treats and they have been a phenomenal success with my clients. We now make a jerky, a pumpkin treat and catnip treats regularly for our clients.
The jerky I make is highly addictive! Dogs go crazy for it. Not only is it a healthy, great-tasting snack, it’s a great ice-breaker. I have used it to make instant friends with fearful or slightly aggressive dogs. Once they get a taste of it, they will do anything you want. We jokingly refer to it as canine crack.
A friend had some of my jerky in her pants pocket and gave it to her dog during a walk. When she came home from work that night, her dog had chewed a hole in the pocket area of her pants, trying to get to the last crumbs left there.
3 pounds lean ground turkey
2.5 pounds carrots
1 pound cranberries
3 medium bananas
In a food processor, grind the carrots and cranberries and purify bananas. Mix all thoroughly with the ground turkey (meatloaf style). Use a jerky gun or mold mixture by hand into thin strips or links and place on dehydrator trays. Depending on your dehydrator, dry for 6-8 hours. Makes a full gallon-size plastic bag of jerky or 4-5 quart-size bags. You can make them very crispy or a little chewy. Storing in refrigerator will keep it fresh for at least a month. You can also freeze them.
Alternative methods: If you don’t have a food processor, you can cook the carrots and cranberries first and thoroughly mash them. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can bake them in the oven on a low setting until completely dried. A jerky gun is very much like a cookie press. A cookie press would probably work too and make shapes..
Alternative ingredients: You can use spinach, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, green beans or vegetables of your choice to mix with the meat or use the meat plain. I have found that sweet potatoes have to be cooked first to soften enough to use. Adding vegetables doubles the size of the mixture and adds valuable vitamins and nutrients. You can make the mixture with vegetables only for dogs with protein allergies. Use only fresh or frozen vegetables. Avoid canned vegetables because they are loaded with sodium.
Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour OR baby rice cereal
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough.
Form the dough into half-dollar size balls and flattened with your thumb. OR you can roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thick and cut with cookie cutter, such as bone shape. Place biscuits on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. Bake 30 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t get too brown. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.
* Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not tolerate wheat.
Makes up to 75 small biscuits or 50 medium biscuits
I order a 1-pound bag of Frontier organic catnip from Amazon. This is a LOT of catnip and it is super potent. Stuff a handful of catnip into infant (size 0-3 months) socks and tie the end shut with string. Clip the string after tying so the cats don’t swallow it. Cats who like to eat catnip can still lick or chew on the sock to get the rush. But they can also play with it and it will last a long time. Avoid the mess of catnip on the carpet and create a fun toy that will last for months.