Petfoodology

the scientific study of pet nutrition by veterinary nutrition specialists and experts.

How To Make Your Own Dried Chews

How To Make Your Own Dried Chews
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Interested in a healthy natural chew for your dog? Dehydrating your own fruit and vegetable treats can be a healthy and low calorie way to provide tasty chew options for your pet.

 

How should I dehydrate the fruit or vegetables?

A few options include:

Oven Drying:  You can set your oven between 140˚ and 150˚ and keep the oven door open 2-3 inches to let the moisture escape.

Sun Drying: Only works in dry climates and is typically not recommended.

Commercial Dehydrator: These are rather inexpensive appliances and can be purchased on many online websites.

 

Process for Dehydrating

  1. Peel the fruit to make it less tough.
  2. Slice fruits and vegetables into thin pieces to allow them to dehydrate properly.
  3. Cut them into similar shapes and thickness for even drying.
  4. Arrange pieces on drying rack so they do not touch.
  5. Place in preheated dehydrator or oven set between 140˚ and 150˚ (follow the directions that came with your commercial dehydrator).
  6. After an hour reduce the temperature to 135˚ until they are finished drying (the total time will vary for each fruit and could be many hours).

 

Tips for Better Chews

  • You can make chips with some vegetables and fruit, such as apple and zucchini, if they are sliced very thin.
  • It’s critical to reduce the temperature when drying. If you dry them at too high a temperature for too long, it will harden the fruit or vegetable surface which then prevents dehydration.
  • Always avoid foods that are known or suspected to be toxic to dogs like onion, garlic, avocado, grapes, and raisins.
  • Fruit will discolor as it dries, but adding lemon juice can help with this.
  • For more details, you can go to: https://extension.psu.edu/lets-preserve-drying-fruits-and-vegetables.
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Deborah E. Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN

Dr. Deborah Linder, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, is the head of the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals and has had articles appear in Eating Well, the Boston Globe, AARP, SHAPE, and XM Sirius Radio Doctor Channel. She has spoken at national and international conferences and a Capitol Hill briefing, and is an expert in pet obesity, nutrition communication, and in the human-animal bond. 

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