Making homemade dog biscuits is not just ‘an’ option for some of us… it’s the ONLY option. You want to ensure that your dog is eating healthy, yummy treats, and it’s hard to trust the commercial market. So, can you dehydrate homemade dog biscuits so they last longer?
Yes, you can, and a dehydrator is an excellent investment. Dehydrating biscuits seriously increases their shelf-life and it also makes your treats super crunchy – which your dog will love. As a bonus, you can dehydrate meat and give them meat-treats with no yucky preservative!
It’s a win-win situation, really, and quite easy to do. Today we’ll tell you how to dehydrate your biscuits and meaty-treats and give you some important facts about this process, such as expected shelf life, health benefits, and more. Let’s take a look at making those homemade dog biscuits last!
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How long do dehydrated treats last?
Dehydrated dog treats have a decent shelf life. Jerky-style treats, for instance, should be fine for 2 to 4 weeks, as long as you are keeping them in an airtight container. If you are making them in large batches, then you can store some in a container for the next 2 – 4 weeks, while putting the rest in the refrigerator.
Dehydrated dog treats which are stored in the refrigerator will last appreciably longer, with an expected duration being approximately 2 months.
Just be sure to smell the treats a day or two after putting them in so that if they do spend a lot of time in the fridge, you will still know if they smell ‘off’ and need to be discarded.
Dehydrating your dog treats in an oven
Before we go into using a dehydrator for your biscuits, if you are simply making jerky-style treats that are composed of 100% fish, beef, or chicken, then dehydrating them can be done with a standard over. To do this, we’ll want to preheat it first to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for chicken, 145 degrees for fish or beef.
Once the oven is preheated, then you can put your meat treats on a pan or a cookie sheet and place them inside the over for a long, slow cook.
Use the same amount of time that you would with a dehydrator (see the section below) until the meat is stiff enough that it can be bent, but not so much that it instantly breaks.
How do I use a dehydrator for dog treats?
If you will be using a dehydrator for dog biscuit treats, then you will want to put them in at the LOWEST heat setting available on your model dehydrator for approximately 4 to 6 hours.
While the time will vary based on your model, you will know that they are ready when you can break them in half and they are not moist inside. Be sure to let them cool down first if you will be vacuum sealing or otherwise packaging them.
While we’re on the subject, if you are dehydrating a vegetable dog treat, such as sweet potatoes, then be sure to slice them down to around ¼ of an inch thickness and then set the temperature for about 125 degrees Fahrenheit to dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours.
With meat, you’ll want to start by drying it at 165 degrees for approximately 3 hours, before setting the temperature down to 145 degrees for another 4 hours of drying. This should dry the meat enough that it’s stiff but bendable. If it’s brittle, it’s still edible, but try less time on the next batch for chewy meat treats!
Are there other ways to make biscuits last?
You aren’t limited to dehydration as the only method for making your treats last longer. Certain ingredients, for instance, can definitely make an impact on the shelf life of the finished biscuit. Adding rosemary can increase the shelf life and you can also use honey instead of sugar to make a treat last a little longer.
Tupperware and your refrigerator can also extend the life of your treats without dehydration and if you invest in a vacuum sealer, then you can make treat batches, seal them, write the date on them, and stack them in your freezer.
This extends their life greatly, though you can make them the most durable by carefully selecting the ingredients, dehydrating, and THEN vacuum sealing them. This can make them last a year or even more in your freezer and even outside of it, in the case of biscuits (but don’t do this with meat).
Are dehydrated treats better for dogs?
In the case of jerky-style meat treats, then definitely YES. You won’t have the kinds of additives and preservatives that are found in commercial treats and the meat retains its nutrition profile even when it’s been dehydrated.
With biscuits, dehydrating them won’t make them more or less nutritious, but they will store longer and dehydrated biscuits are definitely more fun to eat for your dog. That’s because dehydrating them gives your wholesome biscuits the power of CRUNCH.
As such, if you love to make homemade doggy biscuits, a dehydrator is definitely worth your while. You can ensure that your dog gets a nutritious treat, because you made it, and those treats will also be fresh and as crunchy as any treat on the market!
Add in a vacuum sealer and if you have a bunch of dogs, just make a big batch of treats one weekend and stack the sealed, dehydrated treats in your freezer, and you can be ‘set’ treat-wise for the net 6 months to a year. It’s well worth the investment and your furry best friend will thank you!
As you can see, dehydrators really make the job easy. All you have to do is load your treats on the trays and cook them for the amount of time that is recommended, be they biscuits, meat, or even veggie type treats.
For extra storage possibilities, consider Tupperware and your freezer, or take it to a new level by adding the additional option of vacuum sealing. After that, you can make your treats in large batches and you’ll be happily prepared to spoil your furry friend with the greatest of ease for the foreseeable future!