Menu
Cats / Dogs

Easy Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats (and Cat Treats)

A small jack russel terrier dog standing outdoors in the grass, wearing a blue collar and licking it's lips while looking up

Have you been on the search for healthy, tasty pet treats without breaking the bank? Homemade dehydrated dog treats and cat treats are surprisingly easy and can be made with as little as one ingredient. Check out this easy-to-follow dehydrated salmon treat recipe as well as a wide variety of different substitutions to drive your pet crazy (in a good way)!

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE READ MY FULL DISCLOSURE.

In recent years, we have seen several high-profile pet food and treat recalls. This has led to many dog and cat owners re-examining the treat options currently available on the market.

While some have found high-quality pet treat brands that they can trust, others have chosen to make their own treats at home.

Not only do homemade treats address these safety concerns, but they also provide many other benefits including lowering the cost and making it easier to navigate food allergies and sensitivities.

From baked treats like cookies and ‘pup cakes’ to frozen treats and ice cream for a hot summer day, there are many different options available depending on your pet’s personal taste and your own comfort level in the kitchen.

Today, we’re going to look specifically at the world of dehydrated dog treats, an incredibly easy way to make nutritionally packed treats that your dog and/or cat will LOVE.

Just ask our pack! They all get excited the moment that I pull the dehydrator out of the cupboard.

The best part about making these treats is the ‘set it and forget it’ approach. (Okay, maybe not ‘forget it’ entirely, you will need to check on them occasionally…)

This makes dehydrated dog treats and cat treats the perfect option for pet lovers that are interested in making treats for their best friend(s) for the first time.

Ready to get started? Let’s go…

Related: ‘Easy 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats

Easy Homemade Dehydrated Dog Treats

You Will Need

  • Salmon filet (check for and remove all bones)
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • Dehydrator (capable of reaching temperatures of 160F+)
  • Ziplock Bag
  • Paper towel
  • Air-tight container for storage

Directions

  1. Check your salmon filet for any bones, carefully removing them using tweezers.
  2. Freeze your salmon for 1 hour to make it firm enough to cut easily. Cut the filet into thin, uniform slices to ensure that they will dehydrate fully and at the same speed. If you are making these treats for a cat, make sure to cut the salmon into smaller ‘bite-sized’ pieces.
  3. Place your salmon filet in a Ziploc bag with the pineapple juice, ensuring that everything is evenly covered. Place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate for 12-24 hours.
  4. Preheat your dehydrator to 160F. Strain your salmon pieces and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess marinade and fats from the salmon. Place the sliced pieces on the trays, spacing them out to allow for airflow.
  5. Place only the trays containing salmon in the dehydrator, sitting all the rest aside.
  6. Check every 4 hours until the salmon is dry and reddish-brown in colour without being crunchy.
  7. Use the technique of oven blasting (as explained below) to make sure that your dog’s treats are safe for YOU and your family to touch while spoiling your pet.
  8. If kept in an air-tight container, the treats will last up to 1 month in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer.   

Possible Substitutions

Does your dog have an allergy or intolerance to seafood? Does your cat prefer the taste of a different ingredient? Were you looking for the opportunity to add a fun extra, like catnip, to your treats?

One of the great benefits of dehydrated dog treats and cat treats is the ability to swap out the ingredients to find a combination that best suits your dog(s) or cat(s).

Note: Making changes to the ingredients used will also take the time required to dehydrate your treats fully. As mentioned above, be prepared to check on your treats regularly to ensure that they aren’t over or under-done.

Main Ingredient Options

Protein

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Lean beef
  • Lamb
  • Goat
  • Organ meat (liver, hearts, kidneys)
  • Plain, unspiced low-fat sausage
  • Pig’s ears
  • Chicken feet
  • Tripe
  • Sea Bass
  • Minnows
  • Sardines
  • Salmon skins
  • Anchovies
  • Wild game (rabbit, bear, moose, etc.)

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Sweet Potato
  • Kale
  • Carrot
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Pumpkin
  • Bell Peppers
  • Pineapple
  • Green Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Squash

Related: ‘Easy Homemade Cat Treats with Pumpkin

Marinade Options

When making the marinade for your pet’s treats, you can use a single ingredient or try mixing up a fun combination that he/she will enjoy.

Here are some options to consider:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 drops liquid smoke
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Add dried catnip to the marinade to give your cat a bit of ‘spice’

Oven Blasting for Your Safety

Depending on the protein source that you have chosen to use, there may be surface pathogens still existing on the surface of your dog’s new dehydrated treats.

These pathogens likely aren’t going to impact your dog’s health in any way (unless your pup suffers from a compromised immune system for any reason). However, they can pose a risk for any people that may be handling the treat to give it to your dog.

The risk is particularly high for the elderly, children, or those with compromised immune systems.

Lucky, there is an easy (and quick) way to remove these surface pathogens known as ‘oven blasting’.

Heat your oven to 150C or 300F. After the oven has come to temperature, put the treats in for 3 minutes without opening the oven door or compromising the heat. Allow to cool and you’re good to go!

A small Jack Russel terrier dog standing outdoors in the grass, wearing a blue collar and licking its lips while looking up. Text announces: easy homemade dehydrated dog treats, full recipe here.

Have you ever tried making dehydrated dog treats? If so, what options did your dog love most?

About Author

Britt is a digital/social media marketer and the owner of The Social Alternative. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending her time with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs Daviana and Indiana and their 2 cats Pippen and Jinx. A proud pet mom, she shares all her pet-related tips, tricks and funny pet antics on Shed Happens.

30 Comments

  • Meki
    April 20, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    My friend’s been into making her own dog treats, and I am sooo sharing this with her. Love how this can get her to feed healthy foodstuff for her little Frankie!

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 21, 2021 at 8:28 am

      It’s a great option! Easy to make treats that are super healthy for our pets – what’s not to love? lol

      Reply
  • Luna S
    April 21, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    This sounds like it would be pretty easy to make, thanks for sharing this I am sure my cats will love this.

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 21, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      Surprisingly easy! If you try it, I’d love to hear what your cats think.

      Reply
  • Rosie Ireland
    April 22, 2021 at 8:08 am

    These don’t actually look too difficult to make which is excellent

    Rosie

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 23, 2021 at 5:43 pm

      They are super easy and always a win with our two.

      Reply
  • Erica (The Prepping Wife)
    April 23, 2021 at 7:10 am

    I am going to make these for a friend’s service dog! I know he will love it. I’m currently working on making him a leash out of paracord, so these treats would be a really neat addition. I’ll call it a doggy care package!

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 23, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      That sounds like an adorable doggy gift package. I’m sure that he will love them! Dehydrated salmon and cod treats are a HUGE hit in our house, so I make them all the time. I love that you can literally set them and then go back to getting stuff done throughout the day.

      Reply
  • Danelle St. Clair
    April 24, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    I’m loving these recipes! I make dehydrated treats but these recipes are new to me and sound amazing! So looking forward to making some!

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      The salmon treats are a huge hit for the dogs AND the cats, which makes it a favourite around here!

      Reply
  • Tiffany
    April 24, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    A dehydrator is on our wish list. I can’t wait to try these out when we do!!!

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      I got one as a gift and knowing how often I use it now, I will replace it when the time comes that we wear this one out without thinking twice! They are definitely worth it, both for healthy snacks for my husband and me as well as making treats that drive our pets wild!

      Reply
  • Ruth Epstein
    April 25, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    I have been making Layla’s treats and food for years. I used to do it in the oven but now that I have the dehydrator I do it there, she loves her beef jerky, chicken jerky and now you have have given me the idea to try salmon jerky, thanks

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:54 pm

      The newer dehydrators are so easy to use and safe. I love knowing that I can set it and then go about my work during the day while it does all of the work for me!

      Reply
  • Jana Rade
    April 25, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    We dehydrated all sorts of things for treats for our dogs. Meat, organ meats … our dogs love jerky of all sorts.

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      It’s such an easy way to make something healthy that they get excited over, isn’t it?

      Reply
  • Marjorie at Dash Kitten
    April 25, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    I need a dehydrator. A friend in the US (Texas) has one and keep her fruit she buys or grows. This such a cool recipe, I wonder if my cats would like the treats Hmmmm?

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:51 pm

      I LOVE our dehydrator. My mother gave me my first one as a birthday gift a few years ago. I love making ‘strawberry chips’ for a quick snack myself and both our dogs and cats go crazy over these salmon treats.

      Reply
  • Beth
    April 25, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    I’ve made a few dehydrated treats for my dogs, but never salmon. I know they would love that! Thanks for the tip about removing surface pathogens!

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:50 pm

      Our girl Dav is allergic to most protein sources. She is strictly on a diet that only includes seafood and vegetable proteins. Knowing this, I started experimenting to find more options that she could enjoy safely and this has been, hands down, the biggest hit!

      Reply
  • Sophie Harriet
    April 26, 2021 at 5:36 am

    I have never tried making homemade treats but I’d be curious to try making some for my cat and see if she eats them. She can be quite fussy with her food! x

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 26, 2021 at 8:49 pm

      Our cats LOVE anything that’s made from fish – if you start adding other ingredients, they turn their nose up quickly.

      Reply
  • Lisa
    April 27, 2021 at 4:59 am

    I’ve never tried dehydrated treats for our cats. One is old and will eat pretty much anything, one is middle aged and prefers to catch his own food, and one is a super fussy youngster. I think I’d probably be better off buying some first, before I invest in a dehydrator though, but if they like them then it’s definitely something I can try, thank you, Britt!

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 27, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      That sounds like a great option. Alternatively, you can set your oven super low and dehydrate something that way for them to try, depending on what ingredient you believe that they would be most enticed by.

      Reply
  • Lyosha
    April 27, 2021 at 8:43 am

    my dogs love fish treats the most. I take it as treats for special occasions though: somehow eating fish makes the breath so foul (as if it smells like roses in regular life)

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 27, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      I understand that ALL too much lol With Dav girl being allergic to most protein sources, she’s on a fish diet and her breath reflects it lol

      Reply
  • Sophie
    April 27, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    this is amazing! I’d love to get into the habit of making more of Hugo’s treats for him. We have a couple of trusted brands, but it’s still nice to know exactly what’s in it when you do your own. I really appreciate the long lists of substitutes too, little man has a really sensitive stomach to animal product and eats a lot of veggie based treats x

    Sophie

    Reply
    • Britt
      April 27, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      There are so many food allergies and sensitivities to consider. For example, chicken is a common allergy that many dog owners aren’t aware of. Our girl is allergic to all protein sources except for seafood and vegetables, so that’s what we limit her to.

      Reply
  • Shyla
    May 4, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Some of these food choices sound honestly delicious and if it sounds good to me I know a puppy pal would love it. Yet again here I am wishing I had a dog. I almost want to just make treats to hand out to my friends who have dogs. I do got a whole mess of baby bunnies in my garden but they are good with eating all my vegetation. Lol

    Reply
    • Britt
      May 4, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Dehydrated treats are a HUGE hit here and we often bring extras when we’re going to visit friends or family that have dogs. They are cheap to make and super healthy, so there’s no guilt in sharing the wealth lol

      Reply

Leave a Reply