DIY Jerky-Style Treats
Making homemade treats has become a passion of mine. The first recipe I saw for these treats was on TikTok @Mariesshepherds and is the one pictured in the instructions. My dog gave these a solid 11/10, and I was inspired to try other combinations. These treats are perfect for training, as they can be easily broken in your hand, but also retain their shape if you are not intentionally breaking them. They are perfect for adding a challenge to puzzle toys. Making your treats gives you full control over the ingredients, and will save you money with minimal effort. First, let's go through the process, then you can explore a of recipes.
Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mat (Here's a 2 pack for $8.00 on Amazon.com)
Cookie sheet/baking pan
Oven (Set to 350℉ or 180℃)
Silicone Spatula (Here's a 2 pack for $5.52 on Amazon.com)
Ingredients (See below for different flavors & combinations, please take note of the nutritional info provided to ensure that the recipe suits your pets unique needs.)
Set to bake at 350℉ or 180℃.
Soak Flax Seeds (Optional)
If the recipe calls for Flax they should be soaked in equal parts warm water (ex: ½ C. Flax, ½ C. Water) until they become a gelatinous texture as shown, this takes about 5-10 minutes. Often just enough time for the oven to pre-heat.
Add all your ingredients to a mixing bowl, and stir together. I use a fork to break up large pieces, but ultimately want to create a chunky but well incoporated mixture that allows for a lot of flavor in each bite. The batter should be on the doughy side, holding it's shape well as shown in the next step. If it is too runny, add some more flour or starch a little at a time until it stops running.
Pour and Spread in Pan
Use the silicone spatula to push the batter around the pan spreading it into an even layer. The thicker they are the more cooking time they will need to dehydrate properly, if they are too thin they will crumble too easily, aim anywhere between ½ and 1 cm thick.
Baking time may differ depending on the recipe, but often takes approximately 45-60 minutes. At 45 minutes treats will be softer, and 60 they will be crisper. You should be able to test the consistency by poking at the center. If it feels wet and mushy, keep going checking every 5-10 minutes until they feel dry and spongey (for chewier bars) or crisp (for crunchy bars) all the way through to the center. The outside pieces will be crisper.
Cut and Cool
Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut into your desired size bars, then allow to cool completely before you pack them for storage. If you pack them up too early they will create steam that can cause them to get mushy over time.
Store in Freezer
Seal the treats in a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer for best results. Don't worry about defrosting before giving to your pet, they often love them cold, and they thaw very fast when put into a toy or given by hand.
You can substitute nearly any ingredient, you simply need one or more flavoring ingredients, starch and moisture to create a doughy batter.
Sardine Flax Bars
3 Cans Sardines in Water
½ C. Flax (Soak in ½ C. Water)
⅓ C. All Purpose Flour
Yield Approx. 100 (3 g.) Bars
7 Kcal./3g. Bar
$3.66 Cost to Make
2 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed Meal
Soak in 2 Tbsp Warm Water Until Gelatinous (5-10 min.)