Healthy Homemade Chicken Dog Treats

by Pamela

healthy dog treats, homemade dog treats, easy homemade dog treats, chicken dog treats

If you couldn’t guess by the title, today’s post is going to be a little bit different.  Other people post pictures of their kids helping out in the kitchen or pimp them out in their photos in hopes that you’ll get sucked into the cuteness factor and dig deeper into their site to see more pictures of their offspring.  Well, I’m not beyond this same kind of pandering so today I’m going to post and pimp out one of my twins-Rizzo.


Oh, let me explain the twin thing.  No, I do not have 2 dogs…Rizzo is an only “child” mostly because she’d probably eat any other 4 legged critter that might be brought into the house.  When people ask me if I have children I proudly announce “yes I do…I have twins.”  The twins I’m referring to are not my boobs, although they too carry the twin moniker, but Craig and Rizzo are the twins in my house.  On most days the two of them are like a couple of 4 year olds that I can only tell apart because one of them has a big fluffy curly tail.  I’ll let you guess which one that is.  With their pestering, hanging over my shoulder when I’m cooking meat in the kitchen, big cow eyes begging me to scratch their heads…some days the two of them feel like there’s 10 of them.

I don’t make lots of homemade dog treats, quite frankly Rizzo is a meat girl…if it’s not meat, she’s not interested in it.  One of her favorites are these chicken dog treats that we’ve been getting for her for quite some time.  I really like them because it’s simply dehydrated chicken breast-no fillers or extra garbage in them…but they can get expensive.  So I got to thinkin’ that since I have a dehydrator and they do put chicken on sale…I could make these healthy dog treats, even healthier by knowing exactly what was in them.

I figured out what the price point was that would allow me to make the treats at the same cost or less expensive than buying them.  The other added benefit of making homemade dog treats is that since I generally buy the skin on, bone in breasts (to make them) I use the leftover bones to make a big batch of chicken stock.  So I actually end up feeding both of the twins something special. 😉


I’ve also found that if we feed Rizzo healthy dog treats she looks and feels better, and at 13 years old you can see pretty quickly the effects of what she eats.  It certainly helps that these are easy homemade dog treats and they don’t take a lot of time and effort to make (certainly a lot less time consuming than making doggy biscuits).  But since I love her to pieces any extra special things I can do for her makes me feel like I am at least returning some of the love she gives to me.

Relationship Advice

If you have a pet, do you prefer to vent your problems with your pet or your significant other?  A survey conducted last year shows that 33% of married women prefer to talk to their pets rather than their husbands because they say that their pet is a better listener.  Presuming the pet isn’t listening attentively just because they are holding its favorite treat in front of them.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been talking with my husband, who seems to be involved with the conversation (he’s making eye contact and answering questions with more than just some kind of guttural noise) and 10 minutes later he claims that we never had the conversation at all.  When I talk to Rizzo she wags her tail and gives me facial expressions that I interpret to mean she is paying full attention to my every word (probably waiting for me to drop in the word “walk” or “chicken.”).  She may not be understanding what I say, but at least I know she’s listening.

Only 18% of married men feel that their pets are better listeners than their wives.  Does that mean women have mastered faking more than just orgasms?

Does talking to your pet make you feel better or does it make you feel like you’re one of those “crazy” pet people?


Recipe: Healthy Chicken Dog Treats


  • 4 – 5 Pounds Bone In Chicken Breasts


  1. Remove skin from chicken breasts and discard or make into fried chicken skin.
  2. Slice chicken breast 1/4″ – 1/3″ thick slices. (The overall shape doesn’t matter, but make sure that the thickness is uniform.)
  3. Remove as much of the chicken from the bone as possible and toss bones into a stock pot for making stock (or put them into a plastic bag and freeze them to make stock at a later time).
  4. Lay out the chicken pieces on the dehydrator tray and make sure to leave room between the pieces.
  5. Set the temperature on the dehydrator to 145 degrees Farenheit and let it dehydrate for 8 hours.
  6. To check for doneness, the chicken pieces should snap when broken. If they still have moisture in them, continue dehydrating.
  7. Store chicken pieces in a zip top bag.


If you use boneless skinless chicken breast, you still need to slice it to a 1/4″ – 1/3″ thickness.

Preparation time:  20 Minutes

Cooking time:  8 Hours

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)


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Gale November 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

Just a thought – chicken is much easier to slice thinly if partially frozen.

Also, I have a gorgeous German Shepherd with a special condition called EPI, and he needs enzymes added to all his foods. I am developing treats for him with my dehydrator, it is really fun. But I have to puree everything so I have the correct ratio of enzymes to food. But I make them with a cookie press, so they look extra fun!! 🙂

Pamela November 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

Hi Gale,

You could even use a cookie cutter then fill it with your ingredients to make more fun shapes.

john k February 14, 2013 at 6:03 am

The Japanese version is softer. Not rock hard.
Is there a safe way to make it?

Plus the USDA says the chicken should be cooked to at least 140
degs before dehydration.

Thank you!!!

Pamela February 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

Hi John,

The only way to make the treats softer is to cut down on the time in the dehydrator. I, personally, do not do this when making poultry jerky for my pet. The risk of food borne illness to both her, and the possible transmission to us through touching the undercooked meat, isn’t something I feel comfortable doing. Now, when I make beef jerky, I will sometimes make a softer batch by not drying it as long. Beef, while there is still some risk, is not as ‘delicate’ as poultry meat. But I then also store that softer beef jerky in the refrigerator instead of at room temperature.

I believe this is the USDA information you are referring to (for others who may be interested):

The dehydrators that I use have settings for meat dehydration that go up to 165 degrees Farenheit (the recommended temps by the USDA) and that is the setting I use.

I hope this helps.

Molly February 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Is there another way to make these without a dehydrater? 🙂

Pamela February 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hi Molly,

Yes, you can dehydrate them in the oven.

Line your oven floor with foil. Lay the chicken strips onto the oven grates. If they are too short, you can lay the chicken on metal cooling racks. Slide the slices into the oven that has been preheated to 140 – 170 degrees Farenheit. (The temperature range is given because you are looking for a low temp, but lots of ovens don’t go lower than 170. Don’t use your oven if it can’t go that low…you’ll just end up cooking the meat rather than drying it and at that point, you might as well just cook the chicken like you normally would. 😉 )

Lot’s of people recommend venting the oven door, once the meat has been put in there. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to slightly hold the oven door open near the top of the door. Don’t use plastic, it will melt.

The timing ranges from 2 hours to 9 hours. The time really depends on how thick the meat strips are that you are trying to dehydrate. Test them after 2 hours by bending them and seeing when they break. If it bends easily or there’s still juices evident in the meat, it needs more time. You’re looking for it to break when you bend it. The finished product will look just like the store bought chicken jerky, so you’ve already got a good idea of what the finished product should look like.

Make sure you clean your oven grates, or cooling rack really well after making the jerky.

I have not made jerky outside of the dehydrator, so I can not attest to actual timing. But this is how many, if not most, people make jerky at home without a dehydrator.

You’re dog is going to love you for this treat. I promise you!

Melanie December 18, 2012 at 6:25 am

Any particular reason you use chicken breasts rather than thighs? Or, better yet–any reason one should NOT use thighs?

Pamela December 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

Hi Melanie,

Great question! Thighs are perfectly good to use. I use the breast because that’s what the store bought brands use and they are already pretty much free of extra fat that needs to be removed. The thighs tend to have a bit more fat on them that needs to be cut off before dehydrating. If you’re just making a small batch of the treats, that will be gone through rather quickly, the fat removal isn’t quite as important (although make sure you keep the treats in the refrigerator as the fat will make the treats got rancid more quickly). Happy treat making!

maureen May 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

I love the idea of making the treats at home. I have been buying something similar for my 4lb yorkie that has a slice of chicken breast wrapped around a slice of sweet potato. She loves them but they are expensive and they are made in china…do you think I could add a slice of sweet potato to your recipe and cook them in the oven or I could buy a dehydrator?

Pamela May 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

Hi Maureen. I know the treats you’re talking about. You could make them in the oven, although you’d probably have to cook the sweet potato and chicken separately because I’m not too sure that they would finish drying at the same time. The dehydrator would be easier, although I’m biased because I really like using the dehydrator more than the oven for dehydrating things. I would still dry the potato separate from the chicken (just because I would really want to be sure that the chicken is dry all the way through, which might be hard if it’s wrapped around the potato). But in the dehydrator, you could line the top racks with potato and the bottom racks with chicken. If the potatoes are done first, you can remove those racks and continue drying the chicken. If you use the dehydrator for this, use the higher meat temp for the drying…the potatoes will just be done a little quicker.

Trust me, once you start using the dehydrator for these treats, you’ll start using for other things like making your own dried fruit, drying fresh herbs, drying gourmet mushrooms, etc. It does get a bit addicting and the fact that you can dry things when they’re in season saves you a lot of money in the long run.

I hope you and your little yorkie enjoy these treats!

WendyPinNJ February 21, 2012 at 8:49 am

Looking for a good, homemade, “high value” treat for training, and these seem like just the ticket. Problem is, I don’t have a dehydrator. Can I make them in the oven?

Pamela February 21, 2012 at 10:31 am

Yes, you can dry these in the oven. Lay them on a baking sheet and put them in a 200 degree oven. I can’t tell you the exact amount of time, but it take at least 6 hours for them to dry this way. You need to make sure that they are brittle and break easily when done.

susan February 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

this is such a great idea. I cannot wait to make these for my new puppy!

Lauren December 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

I’d love to make these for one of my friend’s dogs because unfortunately i’m not allowed to have a canine friend where i live. How long do these keep? Do they need to be refrigerated when done or are they good to go once they’re tucked away in their zip lock bag?

Pamela December 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

Hi Lauren,
These keep for a long time by just keeping them in a zip top bag. They don’t need to be refrigerated. Make sure you remove virtually all of the fat from the chicken pieces before dehydrating. If you have some pieces that look a bit shiny, after dehydrating, those still have fat on them. Store them separately and use them quickly. The fat will get rancid. Your friend’s dog is going to LOVE you.

katie mitchell November 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I have 2 dogs that would love these treats, I just bought one of these and would love to make my dogs some treats, most chicken treats on the market are made in china and about $1 an ounce so it would be a lot cheaper to make these treats. Think you could add parsley or other spices/herbs ?

Pamela November 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

My dog can sniff out the difference between the 2 kinds almost instantly and goes for the homemade. 😉 You could add hebs or other flavorings. Just make sure that you don’t add any oil to the chicken. Just sprinkle the herbs/flavoring directly onto the chicken. These are so easy to make, and when chicken is on sale it’s definitely cheaper than the pre-packaged stuff. If you buy breasts that are bone in, you can use the leftover breast bones to make a great chicken stock for yourself too.

Louise Ducote October 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

Oh, now I want a dehydrator! Gorgeous dog, by the way. And I don’t feel crazy when I talk to my dogs, especially when they answer me.

Elizabeth July 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

WOW! Do I wish I lived in the US! .99 cents a lb! NO chicken here comes in under 3.99 a lb unless it’s on sale, and even then never below 2.99 for breasts by themselves. Even buying the dog treats already made the bags are $10! Darn…my dog loves these things too. We used to buy them at Costco all the time, but then we had two real kids. Guess who gets the shaft? Well, we still buy the premium, organic, no grain, wild animals only, each ingredients was picked by virgins alone on a desert island dog food though…;)

leanne July 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I’m curious – what’s the price point you came to for buying chicken breasts?

Pamela July 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm

At 99 cents/lb. I was able to beat the best pricing on the chicken treats I had been buying. It could probably go a little higher, considering I’m getting the chicken stock out of the deal too (and not having to buy that either), but to keep it simple I just used the pricing for her treats.

leanne July 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Thanks! I’m going to start watching the sale ads!!

Maureen July 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Charlie loves chicken treats but I always buy them. I have a dehydrator so I’m going to give this a try. EVERY meat at our house is chicken because that’s what we taught him meat was. Dumb I know. Cats are not allowed chicken as he thinks meat is only for him. 🙂

Jennifer July 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

My dog, Lucy, does the same thing when i’m in the kitchen. She actually wedges herself between me and the stove and inevitably ends up with oil drippings on her coat. It’s adorable. These treats look great and I love that shot of Rizzo waiting patiently for you to take the picture while she drools over those awesome treats.

Pamela July 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm

LOL – the funnier thing about Rizzo is that even if something falls on the floor she leaves it there until I give it to her. Once dropped an entire filet mignon on the floor and she looked at it, looked up at me and just laid down.

Dorothy at Shockinglydelicious July 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

I’d eat those great looking chewy chicken treats!

Pamela July 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

Hi Dorothy, They do smell really good – like real food. The dog goes crazy when I’m making them and when given a choice between mine and store bought chooses mine. Such a smart dog. LOL

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