Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on a bag of dog treats you picked up at the store and wondered what half of them even were? I personally don’t like seeing a long ingredient list, especially when it includes artificial ones I can barely pronounce. My philosophy is why offer my dogs poor quality treats when there are so many healthy alternatives available?
As you may have guessed, I’m a sucker for single-and limited ingredient dog treats. I want them to be as natural as possible, ideally sourced from organic produce and pasture-raised cattle and poultry that are grown and bred here in the US. Since my dogs don’t do well with grains and have been known to develop eye and ear infections whenever they eat food containing any, grains are also a no-go for my pack.
While I don’t always have the time to make my own dog treats, I thoroughly enjoy making them whenever I can. One of my favorite single-ingredient dog treat recipes is the dehydrated liver treat one I’m sharing with you today. Here’s why:
- Liver is a nutrient dense food and chock full of essential vitamins such as A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, as well as minerals like copper and iron.
- These drool-worthy treats make great training treats because they can easily be broken into smaller pieces.
- The treats consist of only ONE ingredient, giving me the peace of mind of knowing exactly what goes into my pups’ bodies.
There’s just one con you’ll have to keep in mind with these treats – there’ll be drool!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Raw liver from any protein source your dog enjoys such as beef, chicken, duck, lamb, etc.
- A dehydrator. By no means does it have to be a fancy one. I use a pretty basic NESCO dehydrator that was a hand me down; it doesn’t even have a temperature control button, but it works just fine. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could also use your oven at the lowest temperature setting (should be around 170° F).
- Kitchen scissors or knife to cut the liver into smaller pieces. If you don’t mind the texture of raw liver, you can also tear it into smaller pieces with your hands.
- Time. It takes the liver about 10 hours in the dehydrator to dry, so you want to choose a day where you’ll be home.
- Optional: Candles. Liver has a specific smell to it, and it can get a little overpowering if you’re making a larger batch of dehydrated liver treats, so I mask the smell by lighting candles.
Where I Source The Liver From:
As a raw feeder, I always have liver in the fridge or freezer because it’s an integral part of a balanced raw meal. It makes up 5% of the raw feeding equation to be more exact (5% consists of other organs such as kidney or spleen, 80% consists of muscle meat, and 10% consists of raw meaty bones).
I purchase my liver either at the local grocery store, an organic local farm, or from online retailers that sell raw dog food such as Raw Feeding Miami or Raw Paws Pet Food.
3 Easy Steps:
- Wash liver in cool water.
- Pat it dry with paper towels & cut it into desired length using scissors or knife (I personally find that scissors work really well).
- Place liver pieces onto dehydrator tiers.
I check the progress of the dehydration process every 2 hours. This is the finished product after about 10 hours in the dehydrator (I used beef liver for this batch):
How To Store The Treats:
I choose recycled glass or mason jars. They’re airtight, visually appealing, and easy on the environment. Make sure to let the treats cool off completely before filling up the jar (or any other food storage container of your choice) to avoid mold.
The treats last about 2 weeks in the fridge. If you make a huge batch that consists of more than you can feed within 2 weeks, freeze the extra treats or gift them! A decorative red bow on the jar will make a thoughtful Christmas gift for the dog lover(s) in your life.
And here are some more photos of happy dogs waiting for their liver treats.