How to Make Homemade Chicken and Rice Dog Treats
Tired of spending too much money for your dog’s treats? Ever wonder where they are made and what exactly is in them? Have you ever considered making your own treats for your special pooch?
The final straw for us came recently, when the pet supply store that we frequent informed us that the chicken and rice treats that we had been buying for our eleven-year-old Shih Tzu were made in China and were being recalled. This particular brand was responsible for making some dogs sick due to the fact the treats were irradiated.
Now why on earth would they irradiate dog treats? Apparently it's to kill any bacteria that might be present in the ingredients, and it also prolongs the shelf life of the product. Well, we can tell you that this was the last time our Gobi was going to be eating these treats.
A little background information on Gobi. She is our eleven-year-old Shih Tzu who is still fairly active and loves to play. She loves to be around people and has a wonderful disposition. To us, she is a member of our family.
So what to do about those treats? Well, my wife wanted to take a shot at making our own dog treats. For years we have been making homemade food for our dog so why not treats? When Gobi was just a puppy, she had digestive problems and we really couldn't find a brand of food that she liked and that liked her back. Our veterinarian suggested a combination of sirloin, white rice, and pumpkin to help settle her digestive system. Well, ten years later she is still eating this mixture and still loves it.
In deciding what type of treats to make, we quickly narrowed the choice to a few of her favorite things. Gobi’s favorite flavored treats are chicken and salmon. Yes, she eats better than we do, but there are worse things in life? Anyway, we decided to try to duplicate the chicken and rice treats that we had been buying her for years.
This was really a very simple process. We took four split chicken breasts, trimmed away any fat and froze them. When we were ready to make the treats, we partially defrosted the chicken so that we could cut it into slices, allowing it to better fit into the food processor. Next, we just grind up the chicken in the food processor. You can also use ground chicken, which seems to be readily available in most supermarkets.
We also boiled about two cups of white rice. Chicken and rice are the only two ingredients so like I said, "It’s pretty simple". If your dog prefers beef you can substitute hamburger for the chicken.
Take the ground-up chicken and mix it with the cooked white rice. The mixture makes for a very sticky concoction. Then just roll a bit into whatever shape you want. You can make them into a small ball or roll them into little ovals, which is what we did. With the amount of chicken and rice that we prepared we were able to make about 150 small chicken-rice treats.
Prepare the cookie sheet by spraying a little olive oil on it or use parchment paper, this will prevent the treats from sticking to the cookie sheet.
Place your treats on the cookie sheet and bake them for about fifteen minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then roll them over and cook for another fifteen minutes or until they start to turn a golden brown.
When done, let them cool to room temperature and then freeze them in a zip lock freezer bag. You can defrost them as necessary.
As this was the first time we made homemade treats, we had to test them out on Gobi to make sure that they would be agreeable to her. It was a pretty good bet that she would love them and she did not disappoint.
The great thing is that they are perfectly edible for humans as well, as the only ingredients are chicken and white rice. What better than to share a few snacks with your favorite four-legged friend?
So was this worth the effort? Well, the old treats that we were buying were costing us $10 for a bag that contained about 50 treats. So, to buy 150 of these treats was costing us about $30.
The cost to make the treats ourselves ran us about $12 for the four chicken breasts and probably no more than .25 to .50 cents for the two cups of rice. So, for a total of about $12.50 we were able to make 150 treats and saved ourselves $17.50 over the cost of buying them.
The time we spent making them was probably about the same amount of time it would have taken us to drive to the pet supply store and purchase them so that’s pretty much awash. And the best part of this is that we now know exactly what we are giving her.
So, our little experiment seems to be working just fine. Gobi loves her new treats and we are just as happy to be saving a few bucks. In the future we may experiment with a few other combinations. We may also use brown rice next time we make them which is healthier than white rice.
As I mentioned earlier, other than chicken her other favorite food is salmon. At the moment we have a very good source for freeze-dried homemade salmon treats that Gobi really loves so we won’t mess with that just yet.
If you’re inclined, give this a try. It’s actually a fun thing to do and the benefits are twofold; a healthy treat for your dog without worrying about the ingredients, and you just might save a few dollars along the way.
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© 2013 Bill De Giulio