Finding healthy treat options for your dogs can be challenging, especially when your dogs have food intolerances or you feed a raw diet.
These low-fat turkey trees make a great holiday gift, and you can adjust the recipe to work around allergies and what you have on hand. Spirulina powder gives these treats a festive green color, plus a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.
Turkey Trees Recipe (yield: approximately 40 trees, prep time 30 minutes, cook time, 12 hours)
- 1 pound lean ground turkey meat
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tablespoon Spirulina powder
- 1 generous dash garlic powder
- 1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 cup oat flour, plus extra for rolling (use a coffee grinder to turn oatmeal into a powder)
Step 1. Mix all ingredients by hand until you have a sticky green paste.
Step 2. Sprinkle oat flour over a sheet of waxed paper. Plop a handful of mixture onto the waxed paper. Pat it until it’s 1/4 inch thick. It’s not going to roll out smoothly like cookie dough, so forget the rolling pin. For easier handling, add oat flour and keep your hands wet. Water or a light brushing of oil (coconut or olive) will keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
Step 3. Use a cookie cutter to form shapes. Gently lift the meat paste with your fingers to keep the shape intact. This will take some maneuvering at first. Don’t worry about making perfect shapes, just try to get pieces of meat that somewhat resemble trees. You can also roll the mixture into a long tube and cut it into pieces to create jerky sticks or mini training treats.
Step 4. Place shapes on dehydrator trays.
Step 5. When you’ve used up all of the meat paste, place the trays into your dehydrator.
Step 6. Set dehydrator to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 Celsius) for 12 hours, or until trees are completely dry. You can remove them as soon as 6 hours if you don’t mind them being moist, but drier trees will stay fresh longer at room temperature.
Store your treats in a paper bag to keep moisture at bay. Store at room temperature for up to 10 days, or in the fridge or freezer for longer. Discard trees if they smell funky.
Is Garlic Safe For Dogs?
Garlic is safe for dogs in small amounts. It can have health benefits when eaten fresh, but your dog won’t benefit from it much in this recipe. I decided to include powdered garlic because it is a natural preservative that will help keep these treats fresh.
Avoid garlic if your dog is pregnant, a puppy, on any medication, or has an upcoming surgery, just to be on the safe side. You may need to add more oat flour instead.
Is Oregano Safe For Dogs?
Oregano is also safe in small amounts, and contains antioxidants. It’s another natural preservative. You can also add parsley, ginger, thyme and turmeric, which can all keep your treats from going bad before your dog can gobble them up.
What About Oat Flour?
Ground turkey is very soft, and impossible to shape without some kind of binding ingredient. I find that oat flour, made with oatmeal that’s cheap and always available, works well. You can use any type of flour you desire.
Other Types Of Meat
Ground turkey is easy to dehydrate because it’s low in fat. If you use a fattier meat, it can be more difficult to dehydrate, so you might want to bake your trees first.