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Homemade Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

The benefits of making chicken treats for your pup at home.

by Claudia Kawczynska
Updated September 4, 2013
A dog taking a bite of a treat out of a persons hand with beautiful mountains in the background.
Photo: Justin Mullet / Stocksy

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Dehydrating food is all the rage these days — great for meats along with summer’s fruit, berry and vegetable bounty, and for making sumptuous, healthy treats for your dogs. Making chicken jerky for your dog in your home means you control all of the ingredients (organic, free range, whatever) and don’t have to worry about contaminants or adulterated ingredients, plus, it’s pretty cheap too. Treats are a good place to start for anyone who is hesitant to make dog food. It doesn’t have to be complicated or gourmet.

Is Chicken Jerky Good for Dogs?

Chicken is a pretty common component in dog foods. Unless your pup is allergic to chicken, chicken jerky is a good source of protein and other key nutrients like niacin, selenium, and phosphorus.

While homemade chicken jerky is safe for dogs, there have been many problems associated with commercial chicken jerky treats in the past. As of 2015, the FDA has received 6,200 reports of illnesses (including over 1000 deaths) associated with commercial jerky imported from China. “FDA continues to believe that there is an association between some of the reports and consumption of [commercial] jerky pet treats,” reports the FDA.

“Buy American treats or, better yet, bake your own or buy locally made ones. Raw or cooked vegetables also make tasty alternatives and are especially good for pups who need to lose weight,” says Dr. Shea Cox, founder of BluePearl Pet Hospice.

How to Make Chicken Jerky for Dogs

While it’s possible to dehydrate food in an oven, it’s much more efficient and convenient to use a dehydrator. This recipe for homemade chicken jerky treats is a healthy yummy snack that your pup will enjoy.

Homemade Chicken Jerky for Dogs

Here’s a recipe for every dog’s favorite: chicken jerky. Before you start, make sure you have a very sharp knife. Also, partially frozen meat is easier to slice, and the thinner the slices, the less time they take to dry. Note: This jerky is not safe for human consumption.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • Your choice of dog-friendly seasonings: parsley, rosemary, sage (preferably fresh and chopped very fine)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the chicken breasts and remove any fat, which slows down the dehydrating process and will shorten the jerky’s shelf life.

  2. Slice the chicken into strips about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick; slicing with the grain will make the jerky even chewier.

  3. Coat the strips with oil and seasonings.

  4. Place the strips on the dehydrator tray, spacing them evenly; make sure they do not touch. The drying process depends on adequate airflow between the strips.

  5. Put the tray in the dehydrator, turn it on and set the temperature for 140 degrees.

  6. It will probably take between 3 and 12 hours for the strips to dry fully, depending on how thick you cut them and the exact temperature of your dehydrator.

Illustration of food bowlDog

Because of the varying dry times, you’ll need to check it often.

After the first hour, start checking the strips on an hourly basis. To determine the dryness level, remove one strip from the dehydrator, cut into it with a sharp knife and examine the inside.

How do you know when the chicken jerky is done?

When the meat is completely dried, you won’t see any moisture and it will be the same color throughout. If it needs more time, put it back in for another hour. As it gets closer to being finished, check every half hour.

How do you store cooked chicken jerky?

When your chicken jerky is done, store it in air-tight containers; zip-lock bags work great for this. Refrigerate the containers for an even longer shelf life.

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Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bark for 20 years. She also edited the best-selling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot.