Our K9sOverCoffee pack is a huge fan of single-ingredient dog treats because they don’t contain any artificial and harmful chemicals, and that’s exactly the category our homemade sweet potato dog treats fall into!
I pointed out a few excellent brands you can buy from in a recent blog post:
I will certainly continue buying from all of them, but every now & then I like to wear my chef hat and whip up some homemade goodies for my pups 🙂
The month of October has been slower than the summer months as far as my dog walking/pet sitting business is concerned – combined with the sweet potato “delivery” from one of our neighbors (she grows them amongst many other awesome veggies & fruits in her garden) & a dehydrator we recently acquired, I just had to try my luck at making our very own dehydrated sweet potato treats for the pups!
How To Make Dehydrated Sweet Potato Treats For Your K9 (…and you!)
Let me preface this section by mentioning that the organic dehydrated sweet potato treats make great goodies for both you and your pooch! You can either share some of Fido’s treats (that’s if he lets you…), or make a batch for yourself if you prefer salt and/or olive oil on yours.
Since we got organic sweet potatoes from our neighbor’s yard, their skin didn’t contain any pesticides, meaning they didn’t need peeling. Plus the skin contains fiber & potassium!
I gave them a good wash in the kitchen sink, cut off a few bad spots, and cut them into more or less even slices with a sharp kitchen knife. ***A mandoline slicer or a food processor with a slicing disc would have been helpful as sweet potatoes are much harder than white potatoes.***
Side Note: I tried cutting a sweet potato with a cucumber slicer which resulted in paper-thin slices. I had a feeling they were too thin, but still put them in the dehydrator for experiment’s sake. They were done within 2 hours, but only made for a tiny batch 😉
I then blanched the sweet potato slices for 2-3 minutes (put them in boiling water), rinsed them off under cool water, patted them dry, and then placed them on the dehydrator trays (ours has 4). Make sure none of the slices overlap, or the overlapping parts won’t dehydrate all the way!
A word regarding the blanching: According to all food blogs & forums I found online, this is done in order to keep the bright, vibrant orange color of the sweet potato, its flavor, as well as its texture. I also read that blanching the sweet potatoes will extend their shelf life.
The dehydrating process will take about 10-12 hours, which is why I chose to make these treats on a Sunday where I only had 2 morning pet sitting visits and one evening pet sitting visit. The time in between was spent in the kitchen 😉
I also tested the oven method and made a small batch of sweet potato treats that way (the slices went in for 2 hours at 250° F), but they didn’t come out as crunchy as the ones from the dehydrator, and were on the verge of being burnt (250° F must have been too hot).
NESCO Dehydrator Without Temperature Control
We got an older NESCO dehydrator as a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law that doesn’t have a temperature control button.
It threw me off at first because all the recipes I found online said to dehydrate the sweet potato slices at a certain temperature (on average 125° F), which led me to assume that there must be a temperature regulator somewhere on the darn machine!
As I did a little research on different dehydrator models I found out that some models do indeed come without a temperature control button. HA! #NeverStopLearning
Just wanted to share this with you in case you were wondering why I’m not letting you in on the temperature I dehydrated the sweet potato slices at. I honestly had no idea what the temperature inside the dehydrator was, so I checked in on the slices every couple hours just to make sure they didn’t burn.
Shorter Shelf Life
Since my homemade sweet potato doggie treats don’t contain any artificial preservatives, their shelf life is fairly short. Now, since I did blanch them, they should last a little longer than just a few days – I’ll definitely keep some for 10-14 days and will report back if they survived that long!
I chose a glass jar I recycled to store the slices in (it had previously contained tomato sauce), but any airtight container will do.
Just make sure to let the sweet potato slices cool off completely before you close the lid of the storage container – if you don’t, there’ll be condensation making the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Anti-Inflammatory & Antioxidant
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse as they contain beta carotene (helps neutralize harmful free radicals & helps prevent cancer), manganese (great for healthy bone structure & fat metabolism), vitamins A (essential for proper metabolism) & vitamins C (protects from infectious diseases).
As mentioned above, their skin is a great source of dietary fiber, meaning sweet potatoes are wonderful for digestion!
Low Calorie Treat
If you’re looking for a low calorie, high value training treat, look no further! Sweet potatoes are low in calories (1 cup has about 114 calories), and most dogs really love their taste & texture and will gladly “work” for them 🙂
Single-Ingredient Treats Made In The USA
You know what I like best about my homemade sweet potato treats for Missy & Buzz? The fact that I know exactly what they’re made of & where they’re grown – Sweet Potatoes from our neighbor’s vegetable garden here in the Ft. Bragg, NC area. That’s it. Organic ones, at that, since our neighbor uses neither pesticides nor growth hormones in her vegetable garden. Now THAT’s peace of mind!