When we adopted Shaeffer I thought that we were bringing a dog into our home. Although that was true, it didn’t take long to figure out that we had actually adopted a stomach with legs. He’s cute and all but the boy can eat – we had to find a way to make homemade dog treats or risk getting eaten out of house and home!
If that sounds extreme, ask yourself if you could resist this:
Shaeffer loves to eat. He has us so well trained that I’m not afraid to admit that he’d trade us in for an old tennis ball and a bag of dog cookies.
He’s not a picky eater. He loves brussels sprouts, carrots, some types of apples, almost anything you find on the street and bananas. He was also a fan of commercial dog cookies but ate them at an alarming rate which was both expensive and a little taxing on his waist line.
We’ve dried yams/sweet potatoes for homemade dog treats in the past. Shaeffer always loved them and they don’t take long to make (and shared a trick on using racks to increase the quantity here). I wanted to see if we could make them even more exciting for him by smoking them before drying – and it worked. He bounces off the walls when we reach for the top of the fridge these days! He loves them so much that I decided to try one (after all, they’re just smoked yams) and found that they tasted vaguely like I imagine a cigarette butt would taste. Less than ideal for me but his dog palette suggests these are ideal.
A single bag of dog cookies costs upwards of $10 (or more) in Toronto. I was able to buy 10 pounds of yams at a local corner store (arguably the most expensive place in the world to buy food) for $14. The total yield was 4-5 pints/quarts or the equivalent of 6+ bags of treats. Because I cut them smaller than the commercial product I’m going to guess that this is 4-6 months of treats for less than $20.
And he loves them.
- 10 pounds of yams (of course you can make any amount you want)
- Cold smoker with wood (we used oak so it would be very smoky)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash yams and cut them into the shape of thick french fries.
- Place yams on cookie sheets (you can stack them on top of each other but using racks between layers will help speed the process).
- Cook until slightly soft, about 30-40 minutes.
- Spread yams through smoker and smoke 8-10 hours.
- Spread yams on dehydrator racks and dry until all moisture is gone (about 6-8 hours depending on how soft your yams were after cooking).
- Place in a container out of direct sunlight.