Homemade dog treats don’t have to be costly or difficult – they can be as simple as one ingredient!

Try Dr. Ernie Ward’s nutritious whole-food recipes for an easy, mess-free and wag-worthy snack.

On-the-go Sweet Potato Snacks

Sweet potatoes can be given as treats daily – they contain vitamins A and C, plus antioxidants. They also contain copper, iron and dietary fiber that helps with digestion.


2-3 large sweet potatoes


Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub and carefully slice sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/3-inch strips (no need to peel the skin). Bake approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours, turning over once or twice.

Homemade Chicken Jerky

While there’s some concern about commercial jerky treats, you can ensure a healthy and safe treat for your cat or dog by making them yourself!


1 chicken breast


Cook or grill the chicken and cut into ¼-inch strips or cubes. Refrigerate for two hours, then blot dry. Dehydrate in a good dehydrator (or an oven set to 150°F) for two to four hours or until desired consistency.

Test with a meat thermometer to be sure chicken reaches 140°F (or 160 degrees if using an oven) to kill any lingering bacteria.

Easy Turkey Jerky

Foods rich in tryptophan, like turkey, can make pets feel content and even a little sleepy because of the calming chemicals it contains. Homemade jerky is an easy way to offer a turkey treat to stressed pets.


1-2 pounds raw turkey breast, thinly and evenly sliced


Preheat oven to 200°F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay turkey strips side by side without touching. Leave the oven door open about an inch to allow humidity to escape as the turkey dehydrates (you can wedge a wooden spoon in the door).

Cooking time can range from two to five hours depending on the thickness of the slices. The jerky is ready when it’s dry and breaks gently when bent. Freeze unused portions that won’t be eaten within a week.

Updated October 31, 2019

Aug 8, 2016

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