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.