The Federal Drug Administration has been investigating chicken jerky pet treats made in China and sold commercially in the United States since 2007. While there are no clear rulings about the dangers of these treats, an article on the FDA website advises that complaints have steadily risen about illnesses and even deaths allegedly attributed to these treats over the last 5 years. The article says:
“The FDA is advising pet owners who choose to feed their pets jerky pet treat products to watch their pets closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If your pet shows any of these signs, stop feeding the jerky pet treat product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours, as it is important that your pet receive prompt medical attention. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most pets appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved pets that have died.”
Here is a way you can avoid this murky product issue entirely. You can make your own home-made alternative to commercially made chicken jerky treats. Home-made means that you control the ingredients and can be certain that the whole process is untainted.
Here is the recipe for home-made chicken jerky treats for your dogs.
You will need the following:
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, sliced into strips about ¼ to 1/8 inch thick
- ½ cup organic vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Dog-friendly seasonings, such as parsley, rosemary, and sage
- Also you will need a food dehydrator or an oven and cookie sheet
- Rinse off the chicken breast and remove any fat. Slice the chicken with the grain – this is easier if you freeze the chicken for about 20 minutes before slicing.
- Next, coat the chicken slices with your dog-friendly seasonings.
- Place the chicken breast strips in an even layer across the entire tray, leaving an equal amount of space between pieces and making sure that they do not touch each other. This is so air can flow between them while they are drying out, which helps dehydrate them.
- Once the strips are all set out, place the trays in the food dehydrator, turn it on, and set the temperature for 140°F. It will probably take between 3 and 12 hours for the chicken to fully dry, depending on how thick you cut your slices and the exact temperature of your food dehydrator. Check the strips once every hour after the first hour. To do that, simply open up the tray and take one slice out; cut it open with a sharp knife and examine the inside. You should see no moisture at all, and if it is properly dried, the chicken will have the same color throughout. If it is not finished, put it back in for another hour. Once it gets close, start checking once every half hour. If you do not have a food dehydrator, use an oven, and bake the chicken strips for approximately 2 hours, checking and turning the strips every 30 minutes.
Once your chicken jerky is done, store it in sealed containers; zip-lock bags work great for this. Be sure to note the production date on your bag or container. You can also store the finished product in the refrigerator for an even longer shelf life. Your dog will love these treats, and you will have peace of mind, knowing exactly when and how they were made and with what ingredients. These treats will make great holiday gifts for your dog owner friends, as well.
Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken.
Comments? Questions? Story information, product to review or breaking news? Please contact Natalia Corres at Natalia@bakwep.com.
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