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3 Reasons I SUCKED at Making Dog Treats (and what turned things around for me)

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This weekend, I finally took my new Excalibur food dehydrator out of the box and got started on venison jerky dog treats.  It was so easy that I had to ask “why did it take so long?”

Since becoming a raw feeder I've become more conscientious about the treats I buy for our dogs.  Rodrigo's digestive system keeps me honest when I'm tempted to cheat.  He tried Milk Bones a couple years ago, and that resulted in gas and diarrhea after three treats.  Jeez!

I do have a long list of dog treats that are Kimberly Approved, but I've always wanted to make our dog treats.  J and I toyed with the idea of starting a company last year, but after learning about all the steps to starting a dog treat company, I decided to make my own.

But I never did make those dog treats.  Until now.

Ingredients for Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats

Ingredients for Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats

I Don't Make the Time

The summer is over, and I didn't make any frozen treats for the dogs.  It's super easy to do, but I don't make the time to make the dog treats.  My weekends are packed full of stuff to do – walking the dogs, cleaning the house, yard work, and hanging with friends.

Before you know it, it's Sunday evening, and I missed my dog treat making window.

Sweet Potato Coconut Dog Treats

Click Image for Recipe

I Don't Follow Recipe

Kol's Notes has the best, easy to follow dog treat recipes and 99% of the dog treats I've made originated from that site.  Like the sweet potato and coconut dog treat recipe above.  That's not how the dog treats are supposed to look.  I didn't follow the instructions.

I was supposed to use coconut powder, but I couldn't find it, so I used ground coconut (not the same).  In another recipe that I found on Kol's Notes, liver and cheddar dog treats I believe, the house smelled like dirty feet all weekend.  I used duck liver instead of what the recipe called for (because it's what I had), and I used too much.

The dogs loved their treats.

I Get Distracted Easily

The last time I tried to make dog treats – the easiest dog treats possible – I forgot that I was making dog treats, and a tray of chicken hearts turned into something that looked like teeny raisins.  J was not amused.

The second batch turned out well (chicken or duck hearts sprinkled with fresh oregano and rosemary).

Making Dehydrated Venison with the Excalibur Food Dehydrator

Making Dehydrated Venison with the Excalibur Food Dehydrator

How I Became a Chef de Friandises Pour Chiens

That's “dog treats” in French.  The French may or may not be making their dog treats (I'd like to think they do), but I am!  I've conquered my setbacks with my new Excalibur food dehydrator.

As a blogger, I receive about ten emails a day asking me to promote a person or product on my blog.  99% of the emails I receive had zip to do with raw feeding or dog nutrition, so I politely decline, sharing what Keep the Tail Wagging is about and my interests.

Now and then (like, three times a year) someone responds with an opportunity to write about something that would be perfect!  This time, it's the Excalibur food dehydrator.

It took me a week to take it out of the box; it would have taken longer if I hadn't committed to getting a post out today.  I thawed 20 pounds of venison and thought I'd dehydrate all of it.  Ohhh, silly woman.  I dehydrated less than 5 pounds of it; the rest went into making meals for the dogs.

My Venison Jerky Treats - First Batch using the Excalibur Food Dehydrator

My Venison Jerky Treats – First Batch using the Excalibur Food Dehydrator

Using the Excalibur Food Dehydrator

This is my first dehydrator.  I've wanted one for a year and planned to treat myself to one at Christmas.

When I opened the box and took out my dehydrator, I kind of thought using it would be easy.  I would intuitively know what to do.  I didn't.  I read the instructions and didn't get it.  I went online to look at videos and didn't get it.  For about 15 minutes, I was pissed.  There's a Step 1 video on using the dehydrator that's NOT ON THE SITE!

I finally stopped and asked “how hard can this be?”  Guess what!  It was so easy.

I have a five-tray dehydrator that comes with (5) Removable Mesh Screens, (5) BPA-free Trays, (4) Yogurt Cups, (2) Drying Sheets, and a small recipe book.  On Sunday, I took everything apart, setting a mesh screen on to each tray.  My next step was to cut long (and sometimes short) slices of venison that weren't too thick or too thin on each tray.

Since this was my first time, I didn't have a method to my madness (I ignored the recipes).  I just wanted to make some treats.

Monday morning, I happily went downstairs and turned off my dehydrator (about 17 or 18 hours), and before I took the dogs out for a potty break, they got to sample their new treats.  They were a hit!

Dehydrating is so easy!  The venison doesn't have an odor.  Although the dehydrator makes a noise (the fan), it's very quiet.

My goal is to make treats every weekend.  We have a tree full of ripe apples begging for the Excalibur treatment.  And I'll be picking up pork, turkey, sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, fish, and whatever else works in a dehydrator.

I'll report back on how everything works, documenting the recipes I'm using.  When I'm finished having fun, I plan to make all the recipes available to Keep the Tail Wagging subscribers for free!

Stay tuned!

Free Dehydrated Dog Treat Recipes

Learn more about Excalibur food dehydrators by visiting their site today!

 

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