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Ask Kolchak: Why We Dehydrate Dog Treats

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Ask Kolchak is a new feature where we will do our best to answer your questions about your kibbles, dog food, dog treats and anything we think we can help with. All names have been changed, mostly for our amusement.  Do you have a question for Kolchak? e-mail us at kolchakpuggle (at) gmail (dot) com Dear Kolchak,

I noticed that many of your dog treat recipes are designed to be made in the dehydrator. How come? Is it better than making things in the oven?

Thanks – Curious in Colorado


So, y’all have noticed, we are HUGE fans of our dehydrator at Casa de Kolchak.

The Mama makes most of our treats in our dehydrator – even the cookies that are traditionally made in the oven, she will usually pop into the dehydrator. This gives our cookies a great crispy crunch – and it means they are actually better for us.

What’s the deal with dehydration?

  • Dehydrated foods last longer. Dehydration is a really easy way to preserve foods. The more moisture there is in food, the quicker they can spoil (unless they have been preserved). Think about how much faster a peach spoils than a box of crackers does. Since dehydrating removes all or most of the moisture from food, it allows it to last longer. Dried fruits and vegetables can last up to a year, if stored correctly. Meats will last  up to three months (though we recommend storing them in the fridge if not being consumed within 30 days).
  • Dehydrated foods can be more nutritious than cooked foods. Since dehydration uses gentle heat to dry the food, less of the nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process. Vitamin C is diminished, but most of the other vitamins remain and the mineral content stays the same. Most of the good phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables survive the dehydration process as well, and some, like lycopene and polyphenols are even more concentrated after dehydrating. Even if they can be baked in the oven, Mama makes most of our treats in the dehydrator to make sure they are as nutritious as possible. 99.9% of our recipes can be converted to be cooked in the dehydrator. If you find one you’d like to try, just drop us a bark and w can tell you how!
  • Show me the money. It’s really economical to make dehydrated treats at home. Yes, there is an initial investment, as you’ll need to purchase some special equipment. You can buy low-cost options like drying racks for the oven or you can purchase small appliances to dehydrate at home. You can get started with a small counter top dehydrator for as low as $36.00, but people like me who use their dehydrator all the time will appreciate the added power and drying capacity of a higher end dehydrator. The real savings comes in making your treats. I try to watch the sales at my local stores and I’ll make treats using whatever is cheap. Beef on sale? The dogs get beef jerky. Chicken? Let’s make Chicken Chips! Plus, you can preserve fruit and vegetables while they are in season for use later in the year. We usually make a HUGE batch of our Lean and Green treats during the summer and then munch on them for months!
  • Dehydrating is also SO EASY! Seriously! Prep the food, slice it thin and pop it in! (Some fruits and veggies like a lemon bath first to keep them from browning). Anyone can do it! ANYONE! Yes, even you. We recommend that anyone who wants to make low-cost, super easy and really healthy dog treats at home look into getting a dehydrator!
Do you use a dehydrator to make dog treat? What do you like about it? Is there anything you don’t like?
Next in this Series: Tips and Tricks for Dehydrating Dog Treats (coming soon!)
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Eliza Gosling

Friday 9th of February 2018

Hello, have you ever dehydrated chicken knecks? If so how long would you recommend & at what temprature? I can find the info any where.


Saturday 10th of February 2018

Unfortunately, chicken necks isn't something I would feel comfortable and confident drying. Done wrong, the bones have the potential to dry brittle and dangerous. If that happens they present a choking hazard and a risk for a bowel perforation. Since I give my dogs necks raw, this just isn't something I would think to do. I'm so sorry I couldn't be more help!

Sandy P

Saturday 7th of March 2015

We are on an elimination diet with our Pit/Mastiff mix, currently feeding dehydrated pork recipe (Grandma Lucy's Pork). I would like to make him some dehydrated pork snacks/treats. Is this a good idea? I purchased a pork loin and am not sure how to proceed, do I precook the loin in the oven prior to putting in dehydrator to eliminate bacteria.


Wednesday 11th of March 2015

As long as you use lean cuts, like pork loin, this should be fine. I would recommend slicing the pork loin thin and cooking it for 6-8 minutes. (The recommended internal temperature is 160 degrees, if you happen to have a meat thermometer). Then you can transfer it to a dehydrator or turn the oven down to the lowest setting flipping every few hours.

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Meat & Veg Dog Treat Recipe | Kol's NotesKol's Notes

Monday 23rd of June 2014

[…] loves all of you, so she was determined to get our recipe done!Last week, we told you all about why we love to make dehydrator dog treats. We left one reason out. Totally bonehead move on the Mama’s part because it’s one of […]

Tasty Tuesday: Tuna & Sesame Seed Dehydrator Dog Treats | Kol's NotesKol's Notes

Monday 23rd of June 2014

[…] already been cooked, we like to make them in the dehydrator. Wondering why? Check out this post on why we love dehydrator dog treats at Casa de Kolchak. Print Tasty Tuesday: Tuna & Sesame Seed Dehydrator Dog […]

All Dried Out: Tips for Making Dehydrator Dog Treats | Kol's NotesKol's Notes

Saturday 12th of April 2014

[…] We are all about dehydrator dog treats at Casa de Kolchak. Our dehydrator is probably the hardest working small appliance in the house. (Second hardest working? the Mama’s flat iron. The way that thing wrassles the Mama’s rat’s nest into a suitable coiffure is nothing short of miraculous.) Want to learn more about why we love dehydrated dog treats? Check out our post on why we make dehydrator dog treats. […]

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