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Have you ever made your own dog treats? There are many, many recipes out there with all different ingredients. They can be as simple as two ingredients (oats and peanut butter), and some are more complex than anything I’d make my family for dinner! My dog is not a fussy eater, but he does have a sensitive stomach, so I’m careful about what he eats, especially when it comes to snacks. I’ve found my dog treats for Ozzie are these sweet potato chews, as they are cheap, easy to make, and dogs love them.
Feeding a Dog With a Sensitive Stomach
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen plenty of pictures of my Superdog, Ozzie. He’s an adorable Labrador Retriever/Carolina Hound mix (we think, anyway – like every dog we have had, he was a rescue). He’s always had a sensitive stomach, but it seems to be getting worse as he ages. He’s 8 years old now, for the record. And he is truly Oz-some! I love this guy!
While Ozzie is perfect in almost every way, as I mentioned, he does have an extremely sensitive stomach. We adopted him from a rescue when he was about a year old, and they in turn had pulled him from a shelter. He was a stray for several months prior to that, as a puppy, and we will never be sure if that affected his digestive development.
All we know is that we have to be very careful what we feed him, or he will get very gassy (it’s disgusting), refuse to eat, and quite possibly leave a mess on the new carpet for me to clean up. That’s not real cool.
We’ve consulted several vets, and they have all assured us that it’s nothing life-threatening; he’s just got a sensitive digestive tract, as some dogs do. Apparently it’s pretty common in labs.
Everyday Dog Food
With quite a bit of trial and error, we’ve got his regular food pretty well figured out. He eats half kibble – Hills Science Diet Sensitive Stomach – and half Ollie fresh chicken dinner. Have you tried Ollie? It’s a delivery service of top-quality dog food – I highly recommend it for any dog!
We also add K9 Natural Green Tripe Booster to every bowl Ozzie eats for a dose of probiotics. They make me think of stinky green Cheetos, but he loves them. And anything that helps his stomach stay calm is a win, regardless of the smell.
At least for now, his two daily meals are pretty well set.
The Need For a Better Dog Treat
But snacks? Dogs love snacks! We’ve had our share of ups and downs with snacks, but we knew we had to find something for our guy. If you do your research, you’ll find that a lot of commercial dog treats are not healthy at all. Some are basically the equivalent of feeding your dog a Snickers bar! (Now, I like Snickers as much as the next person – but not every day!)
Ozzie prefers his treats to be crunchy or chewy, and many of those are hard on his belly due to high protein and artificial ingredients. Typically the low-protein, gentle snacks are soft cookies. He’s not as interested in them, and let’s face it, if he’s going to snack, I want him to be excited about it!
So, what treats could we give our baby? Our vet had recommended cooked sweet potatoes for Ozzie when his stomach gets upset and he won’t eat his regular food, and fortunately, he loves it. So when I discovered that they make and sell dried sweet potato chews at the pet store, I had to give them a try. And they were good – but, geez, they were so expensive!
Fortunately, I’ve found a really, really simple recipe to make my own sweet potato chews. And Ozzie gives them two paws up!
The directions are so simple, and you’ll only need one ingredient – sweet potatoes! They do take a while to bake/dehydrate, however, so you’ll want to plan ahead for that.
How to Make Sweet Potato Dog Treats
I usually do two sweet potatoes at a time. I choose fairly large ones, and once sliced, each covers one baking sheet.
Wash a large sweet potato and cut it into slices about 1/8-1/4″ thick. There is no need to peel the sweet potato. Thinner slices result in a crunchier treat, and thicker slices turn out chewier.
Be careful not to cut them too thick, though, or they will spend forever in the oven!
I cut my very large sweet potato in half, then sliced the long way. You may prefer to slice crosswise into rings, especially if you have a smaller dog.
Spread the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Do NOT add oil or any spices! You want a plain sweet potato. As I mentioned above, one sweet potato will cover an entire baking sheet.
Place the sheet in an oven on 200-250 degrees.
Check on them after about 2 hours to see how they are coming along. Flip each slice. Return to oven.
Cook for another hour – 3 hours. I’m aware that this time frame is pretty vague, but it really depends on how thick your slices are, and how consistent your oven temperature is. Also, it takes less time to create chewy treats and a longer time for crunchy. What you want is a nice dehydrated chew, with no mushy orange center.
When you think the chips are done, turn off the oven and let them absorb the last of the heat as the oven cools. Remove the pan and store the treats in an air-tight container when they are completely cooled.
I find that the chewy (less-cooked) treats last about 5 days. The very dry, crispy treats will last a lot longer, although we run out before they ever have a chance to go bad.
You know the rest of this story.
Sit. Shake. High five. Good boy!
Sweet Potato Dog Treats
- Wash one large sweet potato. Slice it into 1/4-1/3″ strips.
- Spread in single layer on baking sheet.
- Bake in oven at 200-250 degrees for 2 hours.
- Turn strips, return to oven.
- Check strips again starting in 1 hour.
- Total time is determined by preference for chewy or crunchy strips.
- Turn off oven and allow strips to cool inside.
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If your dog has a sensitive stomach – or if you just want to be very conscious of what he/she eats – then give these easy sweet potato chews a try. You’ll feel like you are spoiling him when he gets all excited for them, but at the same time, you know that you’re providing him with healthy nutrients and fiber!