Healthy Delicious Treats for a Happy Bully!
All the recipes on this page are grain and dairy free for healthy skin and digestion – safe for the most sensitive of bullies.
This is Lulu’s absolute FAVOURITE treat. And it’s the easiest of all to make! I use a dehydrator – much easier and more energy efficient than using the oven (which you can use in a pinch if you don’t have a dehydrator). My dehydrator is a really basic three tier model with a top temp of 70℃, designed for home use. I picked it up locally for just $30 on Gumtree (Australia’s equivalent to Craigslist) and it’s been going strong for years now churning out jerky!
I like to use free range, antibiotic/hormone-free chicken breasts (leaner cuts are better for making jerky). Making the jerky is as simple as slicing the chicken, lying it flat in the dehydrator and turning it on. BUT there are a few little tips that will streamline the process and help promote you from Initiate to Jerky Master!
1. I par-freeze the chicken breasts beforehand for about an hour which makes it much easier to cut thin slices. The thiner you can cut the slices the more jerky you’ll get out of each portion, the faster they’ll dry, and the lighter they’ll be as a snack for your dog.
2. I lightly grease the surface of the dehydrator trays with coconut oil beforehand which makes the finished jerky super easy to remove (they can stick a bit otherwise).
I didn’t have a chance to pre-freeze these portions before photographing, so they’re thicker than I’d normally cut – but will still make great jerky (see the jar below)
3. I set my dehydrator to 70℃ and find it takes 8-12 hours to cook depending on how thick I’ve cut the strips and whether all the trays are full (the thinner the strips and the less full the dehydrator the faster they dry).
4. I always place my dehydrator in the bathroom on the tiled floor to run it so we don’t have to listen to the fan constantly and the tiles help keep it cool (avoid using it on carpet to prevent it overheating and turning off). I leave the windows open for ventilation and close the door as the jerky starts to smell pretty good pretty quickly making it easy for canine noses to sniff out! Lulu’s food etiquette is excellent so if the door is left open she never actually touches the dehydrator she’ll sit about 3 feet away, wag her tail and bark… “I found the magic box full of chicken!!”. If you’ve got a convicted food thief in the family it’s extra important to keep that door closed or put it up on a table or bench.
5. With other types of meat you can generally choose whether you want to take it out earlier for a softer chewier jerky, or leave it longer for crunchy crispy jerky. With chicken I like to make sure it stays in until the crunchy stage because a) Lulu loves it best that way, b) crunchy is better for dental hygiene, c) the dryer it is the longer it’ll store for longer outside the fridge (I keep it in a big jar on the kitchen bench) and the more hygienic it is for us humans to handle.
If you don’t have a dehydrator and want to try making jerky in the oven just place the chicken strips on grease-proof baking paper and slow-bake at about 80℃ (180℉) for 4-5hours (checking intermittently) until it’s reached the desired crunchiness. Having never made jerky in the oven I’m just going off online guides I’ve read – so it may be more or less than 4-5hours (I’d predict maybe longer?) but as long as you just keep an eye on it as you go you’ll be able to leave it in there until it’s reached the perfect consistency.
For those who’d like to feed jerky as a natural hypo-allergenic treat but don’t have the time or inclination to make it themselves Barking Obito does a wonderful chicken jerky with turmeric and ginger (soothing for canine tummies!) made from Aussie chicken right here in Brisbane, available online HERE.
Chia and Green Apple Birthday Cake
500g Turkey Mince (can be substituted for other varieties of minced meat to suit your dog)
1/2 a Green Apple, freshly chopped
1/2 cup Linseed (Flaxseed), freshly ground
1/2 cup Chia seeds, freshly ground
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2g Green Lipped Mussel extract (optional – great for senior joints and arthritis prevention)
Pinch of unrefined Sea Salt (if your dog gets a lot of people-food snacks leave this one out to prevent overloading on sodium).
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
3/4 cup Sweet Potato flour (if you don’t have access to buy it, you can make it yourself using a dehydrator and a spice grinder)
1/3 cup Coconut oil
1g Turmeric powder (optional – great for optimal health and a natural anti-inflammatory)
For the freshly ground seeds (and dehydrated sweet potato if you’re making your own flour) I use my trusty little domestic coffee/spice grinder – an inexpensive pickup from any department store and really useful for heaps of stuff.
To make the cake, it’s as simple as putting all the measured, chopped and ground ingredients (leaving the icing ingredients aside) in a bowl and mixing them all together! Sort of akin to a meatloaf, really. Tip the mixture into a cake tin greased with coconut oil and lined with baking paper. Bake for 40mins @ 150C (my oven is fan-forced so just adjust time to suit yours if necessary) – check intermittently by poking a knife or skewer into the centre of the cake. It’s important not to over-cook it, it should be no more than ‘medium’ (if it was a steak) in the middle – if the meat is over-cooked it becomes harder for dogs to digest. I’m a big advocate of raw feeding, but once a year it’s ok to break the rules for the sake of a little turkey birthday cake!