February is the month when we delight the people we love with delicious treats. Dogs and cats can’t have chocolate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your furry family members with their own version of yummy snacks. With Harvest Right’s home freeze dryer, you can feed your pets the healthy, preservative-free, home prepared food they deserve. And the best part: home freeze dried is less expensive. Here are some of our favorite healthy, tasty pet treats to preserve in your Harvest Right freeze dryer:
Chicken, Turkey, and Beef Cubes
If your pet loves treats but you’re hesitant to give them anything mass produced or out of a box, you can make your own healthy, safe treat stash out of kitchen leftovers. Dogs love chicken and turkey, and they love it even more when it’s in the form of crunchy and intensely flavorful bite-sized cubes. Making pet treats out of leftover meat is a good way to eliminate food waste and cater to your pet. If your dog needs to lose weight, or you’re working to maintain her weight, chicken and turkey cubes are fairly low-calories options. Beef is higher in calories, so save freeze dried beef cubes as a post-walk reward.
To make chicken, turkey and beef cubes, dice leftover meat in 1″ cubes (or smaller if you have a small dog). Place on freeze drying trays in a single layer and process. Keep your treats in an airtight container or cookie jar. No need to rehydrate – dogs love the crunch.
Training a rescue or puppy? Freeze dried liver cubes are your new best friend. Dogs love the flavor of liver and they’ll do just about anything if you’ve got a piece in your hand. Talk to your local butcher to see if they have scraps you can have for free or at a bargain price. You can freeze dry and feed your dog raw liver, but you can also prepare it just like you would a chicken breast. Boil it or bake it until it’s cooked through, then dice and freeze dry.
Is your furry friend trying to lose weight? Most dogs love any kind of squash, and its so low in calories that you can feel good about tossing a freeze dried vegetable treat any time he begs. Here’s a pro pet tip: Pumpkin can help settle an upset tummy. Cube and freeze dry pumpkin to keep on hand in case you need a doggy version of Tums. Freeze dried pumpkin is also healthy for older dogs who need help with digestive issues.
If your dog isn’t sure about vegetables, try tossing freeze dried veggie cubes with a little nutritional yeast (found at most holistic grocery stores). Nutritional yeast, or “nooch”, tastes like cheese. Pets find the flavor irresistible – you may even find your cat asking for vegetable treats sprinkled with nooch.
Tuna or Salmon Bits
Have a finicky feline? We’ve never known a cat to pass up a freeze dried tuna or salmon treat. For salmon, small dice fillets into 1/4″ bits. For canned tuna, just spread the contents of the can (juice and all) onto the freeze drying trays and process. When it’s done, break up the freeze dried tuna into bite-sized pieces. Store your fishy delights in an airtight container.
Once you get the hang of making treats for your pet, you’ll see how easy it is to make them happy with home cooking. You can make entire meals for your pet and freeze dry them. The benefits of cooking for your cat or dog include:
- Safe meals you know are free from chemicals and harmful contaminants
- High quality nutrition
- Lower pet food costs (a great way to use leftovers!)
- Food that’s specific to your pets allergies
- Having an emergency pet food stash
- Having a survival kit for your dog or cat
- The look on your dogs face when she realizes she’s getting real people food for dinner
If you’re making your pet’s food there are just a couple of things you need to know about balanced nutrition and micro nutrients. A great resource is the book Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.
We’re suckers for cute pet photos, so if you’re making treats for your buddies be sure to share pictures with us on our Facebook page!