Frequent readers may know that Alex and I love a good vegetable, as is evident from our roasted veggie challenge. We also make significant efforts to try to eat healthy ourselves, but this effort extends beyond our own food choices. When our dog Oliver was diagnosed with cancer, we learned a lot about the undesirable ingredients that are oftentimes added to many pet foods and treats. In our efforts to provide the healthiest food we could for Oliver, we started home cooking his meals so his body could better fight the cancer. From that experience, we decided to put a lot of emphasis on making sure our four legged family members are eating as well as we are. Their health is our responsibility and we want to do what we can to ensure they are eating good food that's good for them.

Recently Lulu was put on a special diet by our vet in an attempt to fight her chronic ear infections. These infections are caused by her tiny ear canals and little shar pei ears that don't allow for proper air flow. We love her little ears since they make her so incredibly cute, but they sure are a pain in this sense. Her current diet consists of fish, sweet potato, and veggie mix. This means no other protein or carbohydrate sources, no raw hides, and no manufactured treats. We've had to get creative in terms of how to keep her interested in her food, and how to reward her with goodies that comply with her new diet.

Lucky for us, she LOVES vegetables as much as we do. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, and lettuce top the list, but she'll eat pretty much any vegetable except for green beans. (Oliver would be disappointed in her as these were his favorite.) 

Think we're kidding about Lulu's veggie obsession? Here she is, sneaking a bite or two of Brussels sprouts stalks, even before we can unpack the grocery bag. 

I've found manufactured sweet potato treats at local pet shops and onine, but not only are they expensive, I'm still weary of how exactly they're processed. 


Here's Lulu, enthusiastically chowing down on a carrot. She's so enthusiastic, we couldn't get a photo of her that wasn't blurry!

WIth that in mind, I decided to do a little online research to see if I could make dog sweet potato treats at home. I discovered many recipes, the majority of which required the use of a dehydrator (which we don't have), so I settled on a hybrid version of several options that utilized a conventional oven for baking. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. 
  • Cut the potatoes into approximately 1/3" slices.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil over the slices, and toss to coat.
  • Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a cookie sheet(s). 
  • Bake for approximately three hours, turning once, until potatoes are dried out.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack.

Storing:

  • Treats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or in the freezer for up to four months. 

Note:

  • If your dog is overweight, you can omit the olive oil and bake the potatoes dry. 
  • Too many sweet potatoes can cause diarrhea. I'd recommend introducing new foods slowly into your dog's diet. Lulu can typically tolerate one or two large pieces a day without any...ahem...side effects. 

So there you have it, an easy, healthy, and budget friendly all natural treat for your best friend. And the roughly $2.00 I spent to make these sure beats the $15.99 I spent on the last bag of dehydrated sweet potatoes! But the best part? They're a huge hit with our little lady. 

Don't have a dog? Try slicing the sweet potatoes into thinner slices, and add a little salt. The result is an amazing baked sweet potato chip! I swear, Alex even keeps eyeing Lulu's treats like he's going to be eating them himself.

Have you tried to make a homemade treat for your four legged family members? Does anyone else have a pet that has unusual dietary preferences like Lulu's penchant for Romaine lettuce? If so, we'd love to hear all about it. 

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Comments 21

Comments

Matthew Ronk
3/19/2012 at 2:00 PM
Hmmm ... interesting. Maybe a good treat for our girls. Do you by chance know what kind of protein content is in a sweet potatoe? We do NOT feed our dogs any store bought dog treats, they get carrots, green beans and Cheerios. Out two youngest are on a very good food in BLUE and of course Zoie is on the Hill U/D which looks like and smells like vomit, but so far it is the only food the vet and I can fine with a low enough protein content to not cause her too much of an issue. Such a shame that such a good dog has her problems.
3/19/2012 at 5:03 PM
Jill has made doggie biscotti before and somewhere around here we have a Three Dog Bakery cookbook. In the UK, we used to get "pet mince" from the local butcher for free (it was stuff that he was not allowed to sale) and cook it up for Phoenix with veggie peelings/leaves/stalks and a starch. He loved it!
Wendy
3/20/2012
Mmm. Doggie biscotti sounds so good. I bet Alex would try to eat that too! :-)
3/20/2012 at 6:52 PM
Actually, we have a funny story about that ... Jill made it for a friend's dog several years ago and the friend's husband ate it all when he got home that day, before the dog got any of it! His only complaint was that it was not that sweet!
Old Town Home
3/19/2012 at 8:10 PM
Matthew Ronk - LOL - "Looks and smells like vomit." No joke. :-) I did a little research and it looks like there are 4 grams of protein in one large sweet potato. So I figure one or two yorkie-size portions would be much less than a gram. Is she still eating pumpkin?
threadbndr (Karla)
3/20/2012 at 8:46 AM
My Miss Molly loves veggies and fruit - except anything in the cabbage family. I do limit her rawhide chews because she has NO self control with them; she'll chew until she gets sick.

My biggest issue with her food is that she gets into the trash. She was feral when she was little and lived out of trash cans, so I have to be really carefull with poultry bones and other things she absolutely should not eat.

LOL at Alex eyeing the treat box - as I was reading through the post, I was was thinking 'those would be good people treats' - GMTA.
Wendy
3/20/2012
Awwww, Miss Molly. She and Lulu could have a veggie feast together!

I think with a little salt and a little more oil, the sweet potatoes would be totally "people approved." :-) It reminds me of a weight watchers sweet potato chips recipe we love.
Meg
3/20/2012 at 12:18 PM
Are you reading my mind? I was searching for some new treats today!

Our little pooch recently got put on a strict no poultry, no beef, no grain diet. It's been hard, but he's loving his new food!

He also loves his veggies (green beans and carrots top the list) so this will be perfect. Thank you!
Wendy
3/20/2012
Perfect timing! Let us know how he likes these treats. :-) Lulu so far has gone crazy for them.
dogCrazyinBC
4/9/2012 at 12:03 AM
Oh so excited...I have my first batch of sweet potato snacks in the oven right now.
Wendy
4/9/2012
That's great! You'll have to let us know how they turned out, and if they passed the doggie taste test. :-)
nikki
10/10/2012 at 6:39 PM
My boy Chato LOVES fruit. I thought he was crazy but I guess if yours love veggies he can't be that far off. lol I am going to give these a try!
Wendy
12/2/2012
Lulu loves fruit too! (Well, except for bananas.) :-)
connie
12/1/2012 at 6:51 AM
My German Shepherds LOVE chick peas!! Try your dogs and let me know.
Wendy
12/2/2012
Thanks for the tip! We'll have to give it a try. :-)
Meg
12/30/2012 at 7:18 AM
our dogs go crazy for sweet potato.... other favourites include zucchini (raw or cooked), banana, apples, and watermelon.

they also love to help themselves to veggies from my garden! one is a notorious cucumber stealer, and the other goes for the green beans...
Wendy
12/30/2012
LOL -- love that you have four legged vegetable thieves. :-)

Have they ever tried brussels sprouts? They're one of Lulu's favorites as well. It seems actually the only fruits/veggies she doesn't like are bananas and green beans, which were our last dog's favorites.
Maudelle
3/25/2013 at 12:25 AM
My French Bulldog, Tonka, is a huge veggie lover. He eats all veggies. When we come back from the CSA or the co-op he steals kale or chard from the bags. Everyday he eats some of my salad before it is dressed and I pack extra carrots for us to enjoy in the afternoon. I thinkI have some shots of him absconding with the chard if you are interested.
Wendy
3/25/2013
It sounds like Tonka and Lulu are soul mates! I'd love to see a pic of him caught red handed. :-)
5/30/2013 at 3:46 PM
So glad I found this through Pinterest. I recently had a scare with my puppy and chicken jerky. It was recalled and I didn't know it. He ended up with a UTI and after doctors visits, antibiotics and learning of the recall I found out the cause was due to the recalled pet snacks. I will be making all his snacks from now on.
Alex
5/31/2013
So glad this post was useful for you. We know exactly where you're coming from on the various treats you can buy. We love that we know exactly where they are coming from and how they are made.

Though we love our sweet potato treats, and we don't buy chicken treats for Lulu anymore, we did find one company that we bought from before that I actually trust. They're called Kona's Treats ( www.konaschips.com/ ). So if you're still looking for a chicken jerky fix for your pup, you can pick some up there.
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