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Did you know that we can make Himalayan chews for our dogs in our kitchen? Yeah, neither did I. It turns out that not only can we make these natural chews at home, but it doesn't cost a lot or take a lot to make them.
Rodney Habib of Planet Paws, The Dog Cancer Series, and Inside Scoop shared the below video on Facebook and after watching it a couple of times, I stopped by the store for the ingredients and got to work.
Ingredients for DIY Himalayan Dog Chews
- 1 gallon of skim milk (it needs to be fat-free for this to work) – $2.79 each
- 1/2 cup of lime juice – $1.99 – $4.19 (for a bottle); you can also use the juice from 2 large lemons
- 1 tsp of pink Himalayan salt – $5.99 (at Costco)
I also needed cheesecloth, which can be found in the baking/bakery aisle of the grocery store. If you plan to make these chews regularly, purchase the cheesecloth labeled “reuse,” otherwise, buy several packages of cheesecloth, which typically are meant for one use. The packages I purchased have enough cheesecloth for several small batches of Himalayan dog chews.
Directions for DIY Himalayan Dog Chews
I followed the instructions in the video…
Slowly heat a gallon of milk at medium-heat in a large pot to boiling (I used a stockpot), stirring regularly to avoid burning at the bottom of the pot.
When the milk begins boiling, turn the heat off and mix in the lime juice and salt; keep stirring for one to two minutes as the curds begin to develop.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, scoop the curds out of the liquid (which will now look like lime juice, and can be used to make a protein shake).
Lay the curds on the cheesecloth in the shape of a rectangle, wrap inside the cheesecloth and place weight on to help dry out further (see video for ideas) for at least 4-6 hours.
When the curds are dry and solid, cut off edges, cut into pieces (I made 5) and add to a dehydrator (my oven doesn't go lower than 170 degrees F) for 12-18 hours.
When finished, the Himalayan chews should be a yellow color and are ready for the dogs to enjoy.
What Went Wrong for Me…
- I didn't add enough pressure to the cheese curds so they didn't dry out enough, even after 8 hours; next time, I'm going to use a tool press or vice grips on the outside of the cutting boards to apply even more pressure.
- When I transferred my chew curds from the cheesecloth to the dehydrator, my “chews” were white and not a light yellow, which is what the video shows. I confirmed with Rodney that they should have a light yellow and the white color I had was also a sign that I didn't add enough pressure.
- I didn't leave the chews in the dehydrator long enough. I thought I was only supposed to leave them in for 12 hours, but the video says 12-18 hours. Oops.
The results were still loved by the dogs. They enjoyed their treats because my “chews” lasted for a couple of minutes and they were king of soft in the center (inside). But, when I think about it, for my first attempt I think I did a great job and I'd prefer for them to be too soft than too hard and risk a broken tooth.
What I'm Going to Try Next
I'm not giving up yet. I purchased four gallons of skim milk and will be making four batches this weekend. One plain batch, a batch with turmeric, a batch with spirulina, and a batch with pureed vegetables. I want to try a batch using raw goat's milk, but for this recipe to work, the fat needs to be removed from the milk, which is why the recipe calls for skim milk.
Update: I tried mixing ingredients and my experience was worse than my first. It took forever to dry the chews when I added the veggie mix. There was too much moisture in the vegetables, which left me to wonder if using dried herbs would have been better. The turmeric worked but it made a mess.
Questions About DIY Himalayan Chews
After publishing this post about my experience and various videos on social media, I received a few questions that I'd like to address.
1 – Should We Use Organic Milk?
I love that people want to feed the healthiest (cleanest?) food possible to their dogs. If you want to use organic milk, then go for it. if you're like me and you're on a strict budget, then I would recommend regular ‘ole skim milk because it would suck to waste money on something at a higher price point only to create treats that you need to throw away (like, if they're too hard).
I know that in some areas of the country, people have access to organic milk and it's the same price than skim milk and healthier. If this was the case for me, I'd go for the healthier option every time.
2 – Will These Break My Dogs Teeth?
I received an “angry” emoticon when I started posting about my plans to follow this recipe because, from this person's experience, Himalayan Chews can damage a dog's teeth. And I don't disagree. Any chew that is hard can result in a broken tooth or other injuries. This is one reason why we're told not to feed cooked bones, the heat makes them too hard (think of those smoked bones at the pet store). Another reason is the risk of splintering, which isn't a concern (for me) with Himalayan chews.
One thing I love about this DIY recipe is that I can control how hard my chews are and keep them softer if I have concerns. I didn't realize this when I started. My first batch of chews were soft on the inside. The longer they are in the dehydrator, the harder the treats will be. I plan to test this out to find the right time for my treats.
3 – My Dog is Allergic to Cow's Milk, What's an Alternative
What I learned from Rodney is that it has to be an animal milk based product for it to work, so soy milk or almond milk will not work. Another alternative is goat's milk, however, you'll have to figure out a way to separate most of the fat. There are articles out there with steps on removing the cream from goat's milk. You can also use camel milk; if you have a source.
More Recipes for Dogs
- 6 Ways Pumpkin Guts Can Boost Your Dog's Health
- DIY Fermented Fish Stock for Dogs
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe with Ground Quail
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe with Ground Rabbit
- DIY Himalayan Chews (with pictures) by Rodney Habib of Planet Paws