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Make Your Own Safer Dog Treats With A Dehydrator

| Published on February 6, 2015

I have never used a dehydrator for anything, but with all the scares and recalls on dog treats, I started to wonder if dehydrated dog treats were the way to go. But I had a couple of questions: how easy is it to use? Will it really save me money?

When I got the Excalibur 5-tray Dehydrator, I was nervous. It looked big and complicated and I wondered if I could burn my house down with it. But as it turns out, I had nothing to fear.

Excalibur 5-Tray Dehydrator

Luckily, it comes with super easy instructions, not to mention a 183-page recipe book for making pretty much anything (did you know you can dry your own milk?!).

It does take up quite a bit of counter space, but it sets up in seconds. Then, you are ready to start drying in no time flat – love that!

Making Treats with the Dehydrator

The company provided me with some great dog treat recipes. When I emailed them about my fish-only fur-kid, they made up a salmon recipe just for him!

Yet, after buying the salmon I learned that you need a special Paraflexx® sheet that is not included with the dehydrator. Bummer. They aren’t expensive, around $12 on their website, but since I didn’t have one, I couldn’t try it for this test. It seems for the cost of the dehydrator, it should come with at least one of these sheets.

Instead, I bought one sweet potato and some chicken and parsley to make dehydrated dog treats for my other dogs.

Excalibur’s Sweet Potato Recipe:

Thoroughly wash and peel sweet potatoes. Slice the sweet potato into 1/4″ slices- you can also cut down the middle lengthwise and slice into 1/4″ strips.

Dehydrate at the highest setting (145 – 155) until done. Drying approximately 6-8 hours will leave them with a chewy texture. For crunchier treats, dehydrate longer until the desired consistency.

I peeled and then sliced up the sweet potato lengthwise and then cut those in half since my dogs aren’t real big. It was hard to slice the sweet potato lengthwise. So, next time, I will follow the company’s advice and just cut it into chips.

Excalibur’s Chicken Dog Jerky Recipe:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast tenders, sliced into strips about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs. salt
Dog Friendly seasonings including parsley, rosemary, and sage

For the chicken, the tenders were already that thin, so I just sliced them lengthwise to make them smaller. For bigger dogs, you could probably dry the whole tender, but it will take longer. They say to put oil or salt on the chicken, but I don’t think dogs need those, so I just sprinkled some fresh parsley on them and called it good. Parsley is great for doggy breath.

Since the chicken and sweet potatoes dry at roughly the same temperature, I put them both in at the same time. About 12 hours later, I had chewy dehydrated sweet potatoes and chicken jerky treats for my dogs.  Next time, I may wrap the chicken around the sweet potato, for added chew.

Related: Best Dehydrated Dog Foods of The Year


Okay, so it’s easy to make treats using a dehydrator. The other great part about it is you can use ingredients your dog loves and you know are safe. No more worrying about recalls or midnight trips to the vet.

But is it cheaper?

I was excited about the salmon recipe because it took canned salmon, which only cost me $3.59 for 14 ounces. A bag of dried salmon treats usually runs me around $15. For salmon treats, I would say yes, the dehydrator will definitely save me money in the long run.

A 6-ounce bag of dried sweet potatoes is around $10. The one sweet potato I used was 1.11 pounds and cost me $1.43. It made almost the same amount of chews. Definitely a better price.

Finally, the chicken is super cheap too. I buy the Kirkland brand at Costco. It’s $14 for 6 pounds. It’s all-natural with no hormones or preservatives and it’s from the USA. The only thing “added” is the 8% mix of water and kosher salt, which is another reason you don’t need to add more salt.  Commercial chicken jerky can cost anywhere from $8 to $15 for several ounces. Again, no contest. Yet, if you prefer to purchase chicken jerky that’s already made, iHeartDogs sells a pack of delicious chicken jerky strips.

Chicken Jerky Strips

Obviously, you have to buy the dehydrator to make these treats. The Excalibur 5-tray is $299.95. If you figure a bag of treats costs you $15, then after just nineteen bags of treats, you have paid for the dehydrator. If you have multiple dogs, you probably go through that in a few months to a year.

For more dog treat recipes, go to the Excalibur website.

(Disclaimer: I was given an Excalibur Dehydrator for review. Any and all opinions are my own.)

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