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It’s never fun when your dog is not feeling well. Like people, a dog can get sick in many different ways or due to ingesting something harmful. While the accidental ingestion of a poison or non-dog-friendly foods is obviously dangerous, the dog treats you buy at the store can also be harmful.

Although reports of pets becoming ill or even dying from eating tainted treats have hit the headlines on a number of occasions, jerky treats in particular have been causing problems in dogs since 2007, and have even resulted in death in some cases.

Not all treats you buy at the store will make your dog sick and if your dog loves a certain one that makes him or her happy, then that’s great! Here at One Green Planet, we all enjoy having simple, healthy plant-based options available for our own consumption. So, why not have some options for your dogs? In light of the recent dog jerky treat scare and others, let’s take a look at a budget friendly and healthier alternative to store bought treats.

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are wonderful treats that you can prepare at home for dogs, and you can enjoy them too! The first thing to remember is to choose fruits and vegetables that are dog-friendly. A few of the best choices for dogs are ones that can be easily digested, chewed, offer a variety of vitamins and minerals, and are easy to slice like sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and squash.

Since you want to dehydrate and not cook the vegetables, it will take longer a bit longer to prepare since you must use low heat in the oven to prevent burning.

How to Dehydrate Fruits and Vegetables

1. Get your oven preheating on a low temperature around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is higher, it might take a little longer to dehydrate, and could cause the veggies and fruits to burn.

2. Thoroughly wash and dry the fruits and vegetables, then, carefully slice them into thin pieces. A half inch is a good thickness and will leave pieces a good size even after dehydration is complete.

3. Prepare a large cooking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Start placing each slice on the lined sheet, and make sure they are not touching.

Note: There is no need to add any oil or seasoning. Fruits and vegetables taste fantastic naturally and dogs do not need excess salt, plus using parchment paper (a non-stick baking paper) allows for easy release from the cooking sheet.

4. When the oven has heated up, place the sheet of sliced veggies and fruit on the top rack leaving at least a few inches in-between the rack and the top. Because heat and moisture need to be able to escape during the dehydration process, crack open the door. My oven only goes down to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, so I open the door a little bit more.

5. Check, flip and rotate the slices and sheet every half hour until the vegetables are completely dry. Carefully feel them for firmness.

Note: Since all ovens have different appliance temperaments, play around with the heat and dehydration time.

6. When done, remove sheet from the oven and place on a wire rack for cooling. Make sure the treats are 100 percent cooled before feeding them to your dog.

7. Store treats in an airtight container and offer them to your dog everyday!

Image Source: Dennis Brekke / Flickr