We love our dogs and want what’s best for their health. Making personalized versions of homemade chicken jerky for dogs is an affordable, high-protein way to spoil those critters we adore. Dogs don’t necessarily care if they’re healthy treats, as long as they’re tasty.
One of the best benefits of making homemade dehydrated chicken jerky pooch treats is that you know exactly what you’re feeding to your pet. Chicken jerky treats have a long shelf-life; one batch is enough to treat your dog and furry friends.
Homemade chicken jerky treats for dogs not only provide a healthy snack but also do double-duty and keep those canine pearly-whites clean from chewing and help maintain muscle tone.
To cut the suspense, here are the dehydrator or oven methods recipes.
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Homemade Chicken Jerky for Dogs Ingredient List
You don’t need to go on an exhaustive shopping errand for this wholesome jerky recipe. All you need is one ingredient: chicken breast.
If you want to take the health benefits to another level, shop for organic chicken. After all, your dog is worth it.
Two Methods for Making Dehydrated Chicken Jerky
There’s nothing more annoying than someone raving about making something and reinventing sliced bread to get the job done. These recipes aren’t like that.
- Choice of fresh or slightly frozen chicken breast.
- Cutting board for meat.
- Sharp knife (blunt knives can be more dangerous) with a long blade.
- Food dehydrator or oven (methods to follow).
- Baking sheet with a wire rack (oven method) or oil spray.
If you think you have to run out and buy a food dehydrator, let me assure you that your oven will do an excellent job. Your dog won’t mind either technique. Dogs are just like that.
They will, however, most likely monitor everything you do in the kitchen.
One safety tip: Always wash your hands and utensils with soapy water for at least 20 seconds when cooking for your pooch.
Food dehydrators aren’t expensive. A good dehydrator can cost as little as $60. It’s possible to pick them up secondhand for next to nothing, but it’s unnecessary.
Semi-frozen chicken breast is easier to slice. Simply place the fresh chicken breasts on the cutting board without touching and chill for about 1 to 2 hours.
- Slice chicken into thin lengthwise strips of approximately ¼ inch (or slightly thinner). Make uniform cuts.
- Place on a dehydrator tray, spacing them evenly (leave gaps for airflow and quicker and thorough drying).
- Start your dehydrator and set it to 170ºF.
- Dehydrate strips for 4 to 5 hours until desired crispness. Crisp and fully dry jerky snaps at the bending point.
- Internal meat reading must be 160ºF to prevent harmful bacteria.
- Consult your dehydrator manual for a meat finishing guide.
As I said, you don’t need gadgets to make your dog a wholesome jerky treat. You’re good to go if you have an oven and some rimmed cookie sheets. Rimmed sheets are to capture fat and moisture drippings.
- Slice chicken thinly as you would for the dehydrator method. For the oven method, thinner is even better for added dehydration.
- Set oven on bake for 350ºF.
- Optional, spray with cooking oil to prevent sticking (don’t use your best rack).
- Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet and drape the fine slices of chicken evenly without touching. The wire rack allows airflow for even quicker drying.
- Bake for about 2 hours until crisp but not burnt (check occasionally).
Allow to air dry and cool before storing in air-tight containers. Properly cured jerky will remain fresh at room temperature for up to two weeks in a sealable container.
The oven method jerky (if properly dried) lasts for one week in an air-tight container or two weeks if refrigerated.
For best storage and to prolong the shelf-life and quality, refrigerate or freeze unused portions.
Note of caution: Chicken jerky is tasty. Humans may accidentally consume and enjoy this savory protein-rich treat as well. To protect your dog’s jerky stash, store it in Rover’s favorite cookie jar to avoid confusion.
Additional Benefits of Homemade Dehydrated Chicken Dog Snacks
Let’s face it; most dogs aren’t jerky connoisseurs. So it’s up to us to provide them with snacks that taste good, are low in sodium, and are free of preservatives.
Meat contains naturally occurring amounts of sodium. Dogs don’t need any additional flavoring.
Making homemade chicken jerky isn’t difficult, and it’s also okay to turn quality chicken meat into shoe leather without grumbles at the dinner table.
This recipe will have your adorable pup begging for more. What’s so great is that chewing on jerky is good for your dog’s teeth and gums. Gnawing acts as a toothbrush and helps remove tartar and plaque buildup.
It also entertains a pup and might save those expensive shoes after all. Healthy chews also replace excessive licking and scratching habits.
Dietary Benefits of Chicken for Dogs
Dogs aren’t carnivores. According to their physiology, dogs are omnivores meaning they alternate their diet with meat and plant stuff.
However, chicken is very beneficial to a dog’s diet. It’s lean meat packed with essentials to promote good health:
- Builds lean muscle tissue.
- Provides Omega 6, which is an essential fatty acid for skin health.
- Shiny, healthy coat.
- Excellent protein source for energy without high calories.
- The pleasure from chewing and tooth cleaning.
- Glucosamine for bone density
Chicken Jerky Safety Concerns
Not all dogs are created equal; some dogs are prone to allergies, choking hazards, or require a specialized low-protein diet. But, overall, chicken jerky is a safe and healthy snack option. If you have concerns, discuss them with your veterinarian.
Dogs with dietary requirements because of food sensitivity or allergies might benefit from these single-ingredient treats if their allergy isn’t chicken-related. Check out these healthy alternatives if chicken jerky isn’t a suitable match for your canine companion.
Choking hazards are a genuine concern. Some dogs are natural food scarfers which might date back to their ancestral wolf DNA. If choking is a concern, keep a watchful eye on your dog while it chews the treat.
Unfortunately, some dogs eat or swallow stuff like socks, toys, and off-limits but accessible foods that they shouldn’t. Know what to do in those situations.
Shelf-life of Dehydrated Chicken Jerky For Dogs
The wonderful thing about chicken jerky is that they last anywhere from a week to a month. The level of dehydration is the deciding factor.
Crispy chicken jerky with very little remaining moisture can last weeks or months, depending on how and where you store it.
The softer jerky versions contain more moisture and are susceptible to spoiling after a week. The same goes for other DIY and homemade snacks like satin balls.
Chicken jerky is a snack; while it’s healthy, dogs thrive under a controlled, balanced diet. If your pet is prone to weight issues, limit snacks or adjust their daily food intake. A routine exercise program is good for you and your pet.
Tip: A good rule of thumb is two pieces for a healthy-weight dog.
Other Healthy Snack and Training Treats
Chicken jerky is an excellent alternative to store-bought dog treats. Because they’re low in preservatives and additives, jerky treats are a great training reward tool.
Of course, jerky works well with other meats as well. If your dog is allergic or sensitive to chicken jerky, there are several lean-cut protein jerky options.
On average, meat dehydration can take anywhere from 3 hours to 36 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat slices, the dehydrator, and the desired dryness level. Consult your food dehydrator for a guide.
Explore these varieties:
- Turkey jerky (3.5 hours in a dehydrator)
- Lean beef jerky (4.5 hours in a dehydrator)
- Venison jerky (3.5 hours in a dehydrator)
- Bison/buffalo jerky (4 to 6 hours in a dehydrator)
- Salmon (3 to 4 hours in a dehydrator. Freeze freshly caught salmon for up to 7 days before use to prevent harmful contamination
(Times are approximate. Use a meat probe to get the desired dryness of 145ºF to 160ºF.)
Providing healthy chicken jerk treats for dogs is a sign of love and a great way to prevent obesity and harmful chewing habits in your pet.
Obesity in dogs is on the rise. Obesity isn’t just excess weight. It’s a preventable disease that can cause many health and joint conditions in dogs. Statistics suggest that 25% to 30% of canine pets suffer from this highly unnecessary affliction.
It’s natural to want to spoil our dogs. Giving them healthy alternative jerky snacks is a true sign of affection.