Friday, June 15, 2012

Homemade Dog Treat Chicken Jerky - Part 2

Full size image of the above is here

Here is an update on my Homemade Dog Treat Chicken Jerky making...

I bought a Nesco FD-80 Snackmaster® Square Dehydrator & Jerky Maker from Walmart for $60. I justified the cost due to me being a heavy gardener (at least 13 Tomato Plants were planted this year) and I plan to use it to make the homemade dog treat chicken jerky as well as drying veggies and fruits from my gardens and fruit trees. (I'm sure my hubby will make Deer Jerky with it also)

The above batch of dog chicken jerky was made in the new Nesco Dehydrator. I love it since it has a fan in it to circulate the heat, it has a temperature setting also (up to 160F) and it comes with 4 trays (4 extra trays can be bought cheaply) and will hold up to 8 trays (I bought the 4 extra trays, so I have 8 total). It did take less time to make this batch of dog chicken jerky (about 15 hours less time). I started with 4.79 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breast which was equal to about 8 medium sized chicken breasts. They were sliced 1/8" to 1/4" thick. I filled up all 4 trays and they were packed in there pretty close together on the 4 trays. (no overlapping but some touching each other). I set it to 160F and it took about 9 hours for all of it to dry. I rotated the trays around and flipped the chicken twice during the full 9 hours. I unplugged it after 9 hours and let everything sit over night. In the morning they were ready to be bagged up and place in the freezer. (I keep them in the freezer now at all times and I just take out one when I treat the dog).

I decided to run the costs again on what it costs to make them at home vs buying the nasty China made ones. Here is the run down. (not including the cost of the dehydrator, but I think the $60 cost is well worth it because you could easily X that by 10 if your dog gets sick from feeding them "made in china" dog chicken treats or any kind) - You can use your oven or a cheaper costing dehydrator to make them.

MADE IN CHINA Dog Treat Chicken Jerky Prices (Walmart Online 6/15/12)

Milo Brand - 20 ounce pack for $11.98 = $0.60 per ounce*
Milo Brand - 14 ounce pack for $9.98 = $0.71 per ounce
Waggin Train - 22 ounce pack for $14.88 = $0.68 per ounce
Waggin Train - 5 ounce pack for $4.97 = $0.99 per ounce

*your boneless/skinless chicken breast meat from your butcher or fresh meat dept. would have to be $2.99 lb for your cost to be $0.60 per ounce. Most non-organic boneless/skinless chicken breast meat runs less than $2.99 per lb. (see below)

HOMEMADE Dog Treat Chicken Jerky Prices (how to make them info is here)

Buy only Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breast Meat from your butcher or the fresh meat dept. Do not buy frozen or unfrozen with water or saline solution added to the Chicken Breasts as they are loaded with wet additives that weigh down the meat and will only dehydrate out of the meat.

Below is based on 4.79 lbs of Non-Organic but Fresh Unfrozen Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts from the Fresh Meat Dept or Butcher. (which was about 8 medium sized boneless/skinless chicken breasts)

Find your on sale or everyday price below to see what they will cost you to make

~ Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast @ $1.99 a pound (avg. on sale price for my area)
Purchased 4.79 lbs for $9.53 from Meat Butcher
4.79 lbs (raw) yielded 24 ounces of dried chicken jerky
$9.53 divided by 24 ounces = $0.40 per ounce

~ Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast @ $2.29 a pound
Purchased 4.79 lbs for $10.97 from Meat Butcher
4.79 lbs (raw) yielded 24 ounces of dried chicken jerky
$10.97 divided by 24 ounces = $0.46 per ounce

~ Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast @ $2.49 a pound
Purchased 4.79 lbs for $11.93 from Meat Butcher
4.79 lbs (raw) yielded 24 ounces of dried chicken jerky
$11.93 divided by 24 ounces = $0.50 per ounce

~ Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast @ $2.59 a pound
Purchased 4.79 lbs for $12.41 from Meat Butcher
4.79 lbs (raw) yielded 24 ounces of dried chicken jerky
$12.41 divided by 24 ounces = $0.52 per ounce

~ Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast @ $2.79 a pound
Purchased 4.79 lbs for $13.36 from Meat Butcher
4.79 lbs (raw) yielded 24 ounces of dried chicken jerky
$13.36 divided by 24 ounces = $0.56 per ounce

~ Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast @ $2.99 a pound
Purchased 4.79 lbs for $14.32 from Meat Butcher
4.79 lbs (raw) yielded 24 ounces of dried chicken jerky
$14.32 divided by 24 ounces = $0.60 per ounce

FYI - My diabetic dogs get a half dollar size piece of homemade chicken jerky treat each time he gets his insulin shot (which is every 12 hours). Diabetic dogs have to stay on a strict high protein and limited calorie diet which is fed to them every 12 hours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home Made Chicken Jerky Treats for your Dog

I am posting this because once again the "Made in China" chicken jerky dog treats are in the news again. Almost every brand of chicken jerky treat made for dogs (whole chicken jerky or chicken wrapped or chicken stuffed) are Made in China. The FDA has had a warning out about all the made in China chicken jerky treats for dogs, for quite some time now. (ref 1 - ref 2) They don't know if the chicken jerky treats are the cause yet of making dogs sick or killing them as they have not pinpointed what exactly is in the china made chicken jerky treats. I know from experience that they smell super nasty (chemical laced like) compared to the ones you can make at home at a cheaper cost than the made in china ones you can buy off the shelves at your local store's pet department.

Here are some things to consider if you are still feeding your dog these made in China chicken jerky treats...

1) Open up your store bought ones and take a deep whiff in through your nose and ask yourself do they smell good or do they smell like chemicals.

2) Do you know for sure that China is not adding anything to these treats that may someday make your dog sick? (Some form of toxic chemical or metal substance that will build up over time inside your dog's liver or kidneys?)

3) What type of living conditions were these chickens kept in while they were alive inside China? (they eat dogs in China and you can see online how badly they treat dogs before they slaughter them for food - just do a picture google of Dogs in China or Preserved Dogs in China)

4) The Chinese do not like white Chicken meat and that is why there is such a abundance of Chicken Breast meat in China to turn into dog treats. The white chicken breast meat is considered waste and more than likely it is treated like food waste. (not kept refrigerated because it not going to be fed to humans)

5) One last thing to consider is how long these packaged chicken treats sit on shipping docks in "all metal" freight containers before they are loaded on to a ocean freighter ship and then think about how long the chicken treats bake under the sun inside these metal containers before they even reach your store shelf.

Now go back again and take a deep whiff of those chicken jerky treats you just bought your dog. They smell odd don't they?
If you don't think so then I challenge you to try this...

Home Made Chicken Jerky Treats for your Dog
(not recommended for cats - they are too dry and chewy for cats to eat and digest)

Buy some raw boneless and skinless chicken breasts.
About 3 lbs worth from your local grocery store or butcher will yield you about 1 lb of dry chicken jerky for your dog. Slice the raw chicken meat to about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.

Similar to this... (these are sliced a little too thick, so stick with  1/8" to 1/4" thick)
Lightly spray a cookie sheet or two with cooking spray. Lay chicken slices out on cookie sheet without chicken slices touching each other. Bake for 4 to 6 hours at 250F degrees. Turn once or twice while baking. Bake until chicken slices are dry and to the point that they do not have any flex to them. Freeze in a bag (up to 6 months) or store in fridge for up to 10 days at a time. How long they take to dry to no flex stage depends on the moisture content, oven, thickness and so on. Final dry weight will be about 1/3 of what your raw skinless/boneless chicken breast weight was.

You can make these in a food dehydrator and dry them for about 24 to 48 hours in the dehydrator. Dehydrators cost about $30 and up (Wally World Online). You don't need a fancy one, but try to get a 5 level one. 1 chicken breast will take up 1 level. Here is what the chicken jerky looks like after it was made in a dehydrator. UPDATE I have bought a better dehydrator for $60 that has a fan in it, it only took 9 hours to dry about 5lbs of chicken breast for dog treats, see here for more info.

(The cross hatch marks are from the dehydrator beds).
They smell fresh and just like chicken. Your dog will go crazy over them!

To top it off... they are cheaper (healthier) to make at home than to buy the Made in China ones. 22 ounces of stinky chemical smelling Made in China Chicken Jerky Dog Treats runs about $15+ at Wally World.
You can make 24 ounces yourself for about $9 when you buy boneless skinless chicken breasts for $2 a pound (about 4 1/2 lbs of raw boneless/skinless chicken breast needed.) Keep in mind a dehydrator uses very little electric verses using the oven.
Plus a dehydrator keeps your oven clear for use.

(just looked, a 5 ounce bag from Wally World is nearly $5 - you can make about 8 ounces yourself for about $3 with 1 1/2 lbs of raw boneless/skinless chicken breast)

Again... I challenge anyone who is still feeding the "Made in China" jerky treats to their dog to try making your own at home. (you know the folks that are still saying I feed them to my dog and my dog is not sick from eating them! - that is not sick or dead, yet!) Then smell your home made ones and then your "Made in China" ones and I bet you will never buy another Made in China chicken dog treats again. The chemical smell of the Made in China ones is so strong and nasty.

Cheers to you and your healthy dog!

Note: Diabetic dog owners... these "home made" chicken jerky treats are perfect to use in limited amounts (small pieces) to treat your diabetic dog with as a small reward for taking his or her insulin shot like a champ each time. Chicken Jerky Treats should always be limited in any dogs diet. They are high in protein and some dogs do not do well on high protein diets. Please do some research and do not use these as your dogs main source of food.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rocky's Diabetic Bio

My Diabetic Dog's Bio...

Name: Rocky
Sex: Neutered Male 
Breed: Black & Rust German Pinscher
DOB: 1/5/06
Weight: 30 lbs
Diabetic Diagnosed: 12/28/11
Insulin: (started on 1/20/12) ReliOn Humulin N - Currently 7.5 units 2 x a day
Food: Hill's Science Diet Light (Small Bites) with Home Cooking mixed in.
Blood Glucose Meters: ReliOn Micro & AlphaTrak
Syringe: ReliOn - (Capacity) 3/10 ml/cc - (Gauge) 31G - (Length) 8mm (5/16")

How did my dog get diabetes - help my dog is drinking too much water and peeing way too much

In general dogs get diabetes due to many different reasons. It is happening more often now than it ever has. The main reason is spoiling the dog with too many treats or designer dog foods.

Some reasons are...

~ Overweight dog that does not get enough exercise for the amount of food/treats the dog is eating.

~ Brand of Dog Food (even the expensive designer dog foods can be very bad for your dog) - Some foods are just too high in Carbs or contain sugar in them. All semi-soft dog foods have some form of sugar in them this is what helps them stay semi-soft.

~ Breed or Genetics of Dog

~ Other illness

When your dog becomes diabetic, the dogs pancreas is not producing enough insulin (insulin is a hormone).  The hormone "Insulin" helps regulate blood glucose (also known as blood sugar). Blood glucose is not regulated when there is no insulin or there is low insulin levels in the body. The liver then tries it's best to filter out the high blood glucose but it works overtime trying to get rid of the high blood glucose. This causes your dog to become dehydrated and that is why your dog drinks so much water and then pees so much. If you have noticed the dog urine is very sticky if it dries on the floor. It is like someone spilled sugar water on the floor. The body naturally produces blood glucose, but what a dog eats also increases the normal level of blood glucose. Foods that are high in fat, carbs and sugar increase blood glucose.

So if you are reading this and you have a dog that is drinking excessive amounts of water and peeing in the house (or needing to go outdoors) very often and you have not got into the vet yet with your dog. You should go buy your dog some floor pee pads, some Hill's Science Diet "Light" dog food (either can or dry or both) and something that is low fat and low sodium or (no salt) to use as a topper to get the dog to eat the new dog food. You do not want to mix the new dog food with your old dog food.

Toppers can be Low Fat Cottage Cheese, Low Fat Plain Yogurt, Canned Pumpkin (No spice type, Libby's makes both and if it is spiced it will say on the front label), Low Fat/Sodium Chicken Broth. You want at least one of these on hand if your dog refuses to eat the Hill's Science Diet "Light" dog food.  Feed your dog only the amount that is recommended on the dog food label based on what weight your dog should weigh. Only use a "topper" to mix in with the food if the dog will not eat it without the topper. 1 heaping tablespoon of a topper per each cup of dog food used should be enough of the topper, but slightly more can be used. Try different toppers (most dogs love canned pumpkin). Mix the topper in well with the dog food. Put the dog on a every 12 hour feeding schedule (remember to read the food label and split the recommended daily amount into 2 feedings).

Do this until you can get your dog in to the vet. Even if your dog stops drinking excessive amounts of water and peeing a lot, you must take the dog to the vet as it will have to be checked out and put on insulin if it is found to be diabetic. You cannot cure or fully treat diabetes with just a diet change. The purpose of this is some dogs respond well enough to this diet change to stop the peeing in the house. It can slow down or stop the excessive thirst and constant peeing until you can get your dog into the vet's office.

Never withhold water or food from your dog. The Hill's Science Diet "Light" dog food is almost exactly the same formula as what most vet's put diabetic dogs on. You can go to the Hill's Science Diet website and look at the dog food labels. Many vet's sell a prescription dog food called Hill's Science Diet W/D (W/D stands for Weight/Diabetic) and it is costly. (about 2 times higher than the Hill's Science Diet "Light"). Either one is fine to put your dog on, it will help greatly in getting your dog's thirst and peeing down. Some vets will put your diabetic dog on the Hill's W/D (or Light) before the dog is put on insulin. The Hill's W/D (or Light) helps slow the body down with creating blood glucose at a slower rate. It works and it may give you some rest and help save your floors from a dog that most likely is diabetic. 

(At the time of writing this my vet charges $24.50 for a 8lb bag of dry Prescription Hill's Science Diet W/D ~vs~ $24.50 for a 17lb bag of dry Hill's Science Diet "Light" from my local farm supply store. They also carry the dry "Light" in 5lb bags for $11.00 - The dry "Light" also comes in small bites kibble size and medium kibble size, the W/D only comes in medium kibble size. Small dogs like the "small bites Light" size. The canned "Light" is also about 1/2 the price of the canned Prescription W/D. Some vets use Prescription Royal Canin or Prescription Purina Pro. I don't know enough about them to suggest a non-prescription version of them)

Again please get your dog to the vet ASAP, if you think it has diabetes or is sick. The diet change suggestion is here to help those that cannot get to a vet ASAP but need help in getting the dog some relief from the excessive drinking and peeing and maybe help you get some rest and save your floors in your home. Diet will take care of 1/3 of the diabetic issue, Insulin is the other 1/3 and schedule, care, checking BG (Blood Glucose) levels and the correct amount of exercise is the other 1/3.

My dog was put on Prescription Hill's Science Diet W/D for 3 weeks before he was put on insulin. (started 12/28/11) He also got a 10 days supply of antibiotics in the event he had a kidney or bladder infection. He stopped eating the W/D after about 3 days and I had to introduce a topper to it so that he would eat it. My dog was pretty sick and was drinking and peeing a lot before he saw the vet on 12/28/11. After he was put on the diet the drinking and peeing reduced dramatically. It got his BG down enough to stop the the excessive drinking and peeing but of course it was not enough to stop him from needing insulin. He started insulin on 1/20/12 (15 days after his 6th birthday).

Your dog has Diabetes...

The dreaded diagnose that most people do not want to hear about their dog. Just before the trip to the vet and diagnose, dog owners have been dealing with a dog that has excessive thirst and is urinating in the house because it cannot hold all the water it has been drinking. (the most common symptoms)

My first thoughts when it happened to me was...

Surely they have a diabetic pill that I can give my dog daily.

Nope... the vet tells me that there is no diabetic pill that will work on a dog. Your dog is a Type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetic. Your dog will need insulin shots every 12 hours and he will need to be fed a low carb, low fat, high protein diet that will be on a strict schedule.

Ok... So once we get him on a new diet then he will become non-diabetic right?

Nope... your dog will always be a diabetic for the rest of his life. It can be managed and your dog will start feeling better after we start him on insulin. He will stop drinking excessive amounts of water and peeing accidents in the house will stop.

Oh... How I was praying my dog Rocky would stop peeing in the house. It was not at all like him to pee in the house. I was absolutely wore out from cleaning up all the pee off my tiled bathroom floor. I got wise and bought some puppy pee pads before the visit to the vet's office on 12/28/2011. I was also wore out from all the extra trips I was doing taking Rocky outdoors. He would pee outdoors, but 20 minutes later he would pee on the bathroom floor. He was frantic at night for water... he would not sleep and paced through the house all night long.

The first thing I thought was that it came on from feeding him those chicken jerky strips that come from China. A quick search on the internet when looking up Rocky's symptoms brought me to a warning that the FDA put out about the China made chicken jerk strips. It described what Rocky was currently going through. It said stop feeding the chicken jerky strips and that there where reports that the symptoms seem to stop after stopping the feeding of chicken jerky strips. That's what I did, but the symptoms did not completely stop. I started noticing that everytime Rocky ate and in about 2 hours later the excessive thirst would come on. So it made think that maybe Rocky was diabetic. He had lost some weight but I thought it was due to eliminating all the extras from his diet. Rocky was slightly overweight (not obese, but husky) before all this started. He has always been a good eater. He was freely fed dog kibble (he would eat it if there were no table scraps that day). He was given table food and treats on a regular basis.

Rocky is a neutered male German Pinscher who was born on 1/5/06. A male German Pinscher should weigh about 30 lbs for his height. He is a cross between a Black & Rust German Pinscher and a fully Red German Pinscher. He was a rescued puppy mill auction puppy from Missouri. His face "mask" marking is too far back on his head. The rust spots that should be just over his eyes are on top of his head and the black mask that should be over his eyes is on his forehead and the top of his head. This is why he the puppy mill breeder put him up on the puppy mill auction and he was rescued by a lady who turned him over to a no kill shelter. He was about 10 weeks old when I got him from the no kill shelter. The original breeder had already cropped Rocky's ears and docked his tail, probably when his other litter mates were done.

The purpose of creating this blog is to help others who have just had their pet dog diagnosed with diabetes. Or possibly to help other dog owners to understand that you can most likely stop your own dog from becoming a diabetic. I am learning a lot about dog foods for both non-diabetic dogs and diabetic dogs. I have learned how to save quite a bit of money on diabetic supplies. How to home test my dogs blood sugar. How to cook for my dog who gets a combo of dry dog food kibble and home cooked food at each meal and why I do it.

I have also ran into many good and bad websites that have information about dog diabetes. I also also ran into some real kooks out in the online dog diabetic world. Little pods of diabetic dog owners that really cross over into the Munchausen by proxy syndrome (MBPS). (Yes, I am serious). I have ran into some that want to tell you how you should treat your dog, how you should feed the dog and they want to play vet to your dog. They don't want you to even listen to your own vet and they get rude and nasty to you if you question how they think or how they treat others inside their little group. Some of them are true narcissists with a bunch of co-dependent people who think they need these people (narcissists) who are acting like licensed vets.
No I will not mention where these people are hanging out at online but if you run across them you will know who they are. So be aware. They are friendly but quickly become unfriendly if you don't follow the kooky advise they hand out.

I will be writing about what I have learned in the last couple months about dog diabetes and what the main things are that most dog owners should know. My blog and the information it holds is not here to replace your own dog's vet.