sweet potatoes cut into strips placed in a dehydrator to make treats for dogs

Gourmet Dog Treats: Make Your Own Healthy Yam Yummies

Nugget having been diagnosed with kidney problems in 2010, Sweet_potatoesI had to learn quickly what treats he could and could not have any more. All treats with red food dye I removed immediately… but wanting SOMETHING to spoil him with, his doctor recommended sweet potatoes, or …as some of us know them as, yams.

Visiting the local Pet Smart store, I found a very small bag of dried yams, marked healthy treats. The pieces inside were the size of short French fries, like those served in most restaurants throughout Ontario. Having paid nearly $10 for what seemed like only a small handful of these healthy treats, I decided to try making my own.

Friends picked me up an inexpensive dehydrator in good condition, at a local yard sale, allowing me the pleasure of trying to create these treats as inexpensively as possible. If you would prefer purchasing one new, Canadian Tire has a really good dehydrator for sale, for only $50.

NOTE: I do NOT recommend using microwave ovens under 1200 Watts for cooking these. I burned out a 1000 Watt oven in just over four years cooking approximately 7-8 lots of Yam Yummies for Nugget.

The first time I tried making Yam Yummies, I only used one yam. That way, too, I could make certain that Nugget was happy with my ‘cooking’.

Voila! Nugget loves them… so, here’s what I did in making Nugget his Yam Yummies:

Ingredients
5 elongated yams

Directions

  1. Scrub yams so all dirt is removed. I like to place them on a paper towel to dry.
  2. Place yam on cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut a small slice off one side of the yam to create a flat base for the yam to sit on so it is less apt to roll as you continue cutting into slices.
    cutting Yam Yummy
  3. Place the yam on the flat side you just created, and start slicing… anywhere up to ½” in thickness.cutting Yam YummyNOTE: The thicker the slices, the longer it takes to cook and dehydrate.

    TIP: Be real careful with the knife during this step. Yams are a whole lot harder to cut when raw. It will take force to slice the yams. As the knife gets closer to my hand with each slice, I will turn the yam and slice from the wider side again… because I’ll be cutting my slices into pieces once cooked anyway.

    My wrists are not as healthy as I’d like to have them… but I can STILL slice up to 5 yams without painful wrists.

  4. Using a microwave-safe plate (I use to a dinner plate), arrange the slices in one flat layer.yam slices on a plate
  5. Set your microwave on full power and cook for 4 minutes on either side.NOTE: Use a fork to flip them as they will be HOT after the first 4 minutes.TIP: I use my wet paper towels from draining the yams, here as pot holders on my dinner plate when removing it from the microwave each and every time.
  6. Once fully cooked on both sides, pierce the slices with a fork so the water can be released that much quicker… ideally to shorten the time in the dehydrator.cooked yam slices piercedTIP: I actually pierced these slices even more after taking this photo.
  7. If you have a large dog, your slices can go onto the dehydrator tray now. However, I have a little Shih Tzu so; I need to cut my slices more, so the pieces will be smaller… PLUS the smaller the pieces the less time needed to dehydrate.cooked yam slice being cut

    NOTE
    : Your cutting board WILL become stained during making Yam Yummies, so if you want to keep your white plastic cutting board white, either use a cutting board specifically for making these healthy treats, or be prepared to treat the cutting board for stains afterward. My dishwasher is really good at removing these stains, yours might not. My good ole’ 1000 Watt RCA microwave used to like to overheat and shutdown at about the 3rd… sometimes 4th plate of yams. This used to force me to take a 10 minute break. Now I’m using a Panasonic 1200 Watt microwave so next batch should cook a whole lot faster!
  8. Arrange the yams on the dehydrator tray so that there is airspace between the pieces.cut yam slices on dehydrator tray
  9. Once you’ve filled all 5 trays (my dehydrator has only 5 trays), put the lid on and turn on the dehydrator.I have found my pieces are pretty much cooked after 8-10 hours, so I would highly recommend you start checking yours after 8 hours.dehydrator filled with yam pieces and running

    NOTE: If you are cooking the larger slices, I would suggest anywhere from 10-20 hours. Again, this will depend on how thick the slices were cut.

    full dehydrated Yam Yummies

    TIP: When done, the pieces will look leathery and some may even be curled up on the edges. Test each piece to see that it is fully dried out… because you will want to store these in a container in your cupboard… and, you don’t want them going moldy.

  10. Make sure to have your product taste tested… then store remaining pieces for future use.
    1st view of Nugget eating his Yam Yummy 2nd view of Nugget eating his Yam Yummy

    And… no, he’s not growling in the first photo; he’s chewing. Nugget couldn’t eat his Yam Yummy any faster if he tried.

Nugget is the most spoiled, little dog you would ever want to meet… especially when it comes to treats. He used to love his dog cookies… you know, the ones by Pedigree Pal; their Breath Buster brand… THE best on the market today!

Well, now every morning he refuses his cookie and sits pretty for a Yam Yummy.

Boy! Have I ever spoiled my little “wonder dog” …it’s a wonder he’s a dog! At times, he acts more human than some humans do 😉

About the Author Trish

Given my passion for genealogy, is it any wonder that I eventually wanted to publish my work? Learning to use a personal computer was a natural step once I was introduced it in the 1990s. Then the internet offered a second means to "publish" and now, here I am with a personal blog.

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Leave a Comment:

106 comments
K Crox says March 21, 2013

I have been making them for years! I have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and she is on a grain free diet, no corn or wheat. My in-laws Golden is wheat intolerant as well. We regularly dog sit for our friends and family's wide range of dogs, everything from our Chessie to a Golden, a Boxer mix, Great Dane/Mastiff puppies and the most amazing Staffordshire Bull Terriers on the planet and they are gobble these right up!

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    Trish says March 23, 2013

    Thanks for commenting K. Crox, I'm glad your dogs all eat well, and being as you mentioned that two of the dogs are on special diets… I would like to share this post with you: https://trishparr.com/revolution-the-truth-why… my Nugget was put on a low-protein diet in late 2009, but since his surgery last year, he's now back on regular dog food. Just a "heads up" IF you or any of your family members are using any type of flea/tick protection.

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Pam says February 16, 2013

I bought a 9-tray dehydrator to make special treats for my doggie boutique in Rockport, Mass. Last night I dehydrated 5 sliced yams (and a finger) and wish I had looked up your tips before I started. I love the idea of microwaving to pre-cook. I boiled them sliced which 1) added more moisture….something we don't want and 2) some broke apart when slightly soft. I also love the tip to pierce to allow to dry better and last, to cut them smaller to speed drying, The small slabs and pieces did take 8-10 hrs. Smaller pieces dried faster, so kept checking and took out those first. I was surprised at how they held their color so well. The expensive ones you buy in a bag are rather brown. THANKS!

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    Trish says February 16, 2013

    Hey Pam, at least you'll know not to boil the yams first for next time. Heck, we've all made mistakes. I find that the REAL fresh yams make the sweetest yam yummies and the colour is retained even better than the older yams. I found the yam treats you buy are very expensive… and, where are they made? Home made treats for my little guy is a pleasure to do!

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Maze1 says October 19, 2012

I'm dog sitting our friends' dog – we have 3 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and he was one more. They brought a bag of these from the pet store. There were only 5 slices for $6.99 and they were even more expensive on Amazon. So for 4 dogs it's done pretty much for the one package. Thanks for your instruction as I plan to make some more right away and then send some home (hopefully!) with the owners of the other dog.

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    Trish says October 20, 2012

    Hi Maze1, I'm glad you found the instructions helpful. I too was so shocked at the cost of these. Pathetic when you realize how easy it is to make your own… safer too given so many dog treats are now made with poison. Did you seen Fighting For Fido on Market Place? If not, here's the link: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2012/09/fi

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Daniele says July 3, 2012

what a great recipe! it’s really innovative and well illustrated. thanks a lot!

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    Trish says July 4, 2012

    Thanks Daniele!

    Reply
Maxine says June 25, 2012

Searching for this type of recipe for some time now – i guess luck is a lot more advanced than search engines 🙂

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    Trish says June 27, 2012

    Glad you found it Maxine. Hope your dog loves them as much as my Nugget does!

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Dilza says June 25, 2012

I can recommended this website for all ages, as it contains good and informative stuff!

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    Trish says June 25, 2012

    Thanks Dilza!

    Reply
Alessandra says June 21, 2012

i like it…thanks!

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    Trish says June 23, 2012

    You're welcome Alessandra!

    Reply
Edinalva says June 21, 2012

excellent recipe! i really appreciate your sharing this.

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    Trish says June 23, 2012

    Thanks Edinalva!

    Reply
Carol Saraceni says June 18, 2012

this recipe is really awesome, and thank you very much for sharing it!

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Carol Bonfirm says June 16, 2012

brilliant recipe!

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    Trish says June 20, 2012

    Thanks Carol!

    Reply
Lacy says June 6, 2012

This recipe has inspired me to write a few of my favorites on my own blog!

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    Trish says June 7, 2012

    Hey, now THAT sounds like a GREAT idea. Be sure to come back and post a link to your blog recipe, won't you Lacy?

    Reply
Carlos Deusete says May 26, 2012

usually i do not comment on blogs, but i would like to say that this recipe really convinced me to say thanks. Very nice post!

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    Trish says May 26, 2012

    Wow! Your comment is much appreciated Carlos!

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James says May 26, 2012

Reckon my dog will eat these.

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    Trish says May 26, 2012

    Your dog will love them James!

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Anice says May 25, 2012

Impressive! Health treats for my dog… thanks!

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    Trish says May 26, 2012

    You're welcome Anice!

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Margret Bonwell says May 22, 2012

Excellent recipe, thanks for share it with us!

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    Trish says May 26, 2012

    You're very welcomed Margret!

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Daiani says May 22, 2012

wonderful recipe, i like it, thank you very much!

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    Trish says May 26, 2012

    You're welcome Daiani!

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Bianca Carol says May 16, 2012

nicely explained. truly impressive and nice recipe instructions. thanks for sharing!

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    Trish says May 26, 2012

    Thanks for the compliment BIanca! Glad you found it helpful.

    Reply
Alessandra says May 8, 2012

this one sounds good and hope my dogs love these!

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    Trish says May 8, 2012

    I'm sure they will Alessandra.

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Mike Cleusa says May 8, 2012

this recipe seems to be a good one. thank you

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    Trish says May 8, 2012

    Thanks Mike!

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Edmundo Carine says May 4, 2012

I hope my dog likes these treats!

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    Trish says May 8, 2012

    I bet your dog will love these. Mine does!

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Bianca says May 3, 2012

your website is like an encyclopaedia for me, thanks for posting this recipe!

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    Trish says May 8, 2012

    Thanks Bianca!

    Reply
Angelita says April 27, 2012

i believe i just stuck gold with this doggy treat recipe. thanx!

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    Trish says April 28, 2012

    You're very welcome Angelita!

    Reply
Eusébia says April 25, 2012

i was very pleased to find this. i wanted to thank you for this great recipe!!

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    Trish says April 28, 2012

    You're very welcome Eusébia!

    Reply
Camille says April 23, 2012

it’s my first time visiting here and i found so many entertaining articles in your blog, especially your rants 🙂 .

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    Trish says April 28, 2012

    Well Camille, I do hope you'll be a regular reader of my blog. Thanks for leaving your comment!

    Reply
Deondina says April 21, 2012

i just wanted to make a quick comment to say i’m glad i found your blog. thanks for this!

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    Trish says May 18, 2012

    You're very welcome Deondina!

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Cailane says April 20, 2012

useful ! great post! thanks for sharing

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    Rola says May 15, 2012

    I want your dog so badly I am tempted to sneak in and do something felonious (just kidding!). What IS he? Where can I GET one? I want one JUST LIKE THAT ONE.

    Reply
      Trish says May 18, 2012

      Nugget is a Shih Tzu with a really nice cut. Most groomers make Shih Tzus look like a silly lion with a mane around their heads, but my groomer makes each dog look great as she works with their features. My Nugget is a rescue too!

      Reply
    Beatriz says May 18, 2012

    Health treats are always a welcomed treat for my dogs. Thanks!

    Reply
      Trish says May 18, 2012

      Amen ta' that Beatriz!

      Reply
Edenira says April 17, 2012

thanks a lot for sharing this idea!

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    Trish says May 18, 2012

    You're welcome Edenira!

    Reply
Claudy says April 16, 2012

like this information a lot, thank you!

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    Trish says May 18, 2012

    You're welcome Claudy!

    Reply
Cecilia says April 9, 2012

thanks for the great post. it reminds me that i have to bring more structure into my blogging. Your blog is very interesting. Please let me know how to go for your rss feed?

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    Trish says April 9, 2012

    Thanks Cecilia! To subscribe to the RSS feed, go to the very top, right-hand corner and click on either "Posts" or "Comments" and then follow the Subscribe Now instructions on that page. Hope that helps.

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Dulce says March 30, 2012

These look like a GREAT idea for a special treat for my special friend. Thanks Trish!

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    Trish says April 9, 2012

    You're very welcome Dulce!

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      David says May 18, 2012

      Hey! I just came upon this site today while looking up for some fitness terms in yahoo. Stuck around a little to check things out and read a few of your articles. Every enjoyable stuff. I’m going to be sure to come back and catch up on your new posts. This one is being forwarded to a dog-loving friend of mine. Thanks!

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Abigail says March 23, 2012

Excellent idea… thanks!

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    Trish says April 9, 2012

    You're welcome Abigail!

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Carl says March 22, 2012

Hey, thanks for this recipe. My dog will just love these!

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    Trish says April 9, 2012

    You're welcome Carl!

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Claudia says March 17, 2012

That is a fantastic idea, thanks for sharing!

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    Trish says April 9, 2012

    You're welcome Claudia!

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Carol says March 13, 2012

Heeey, I’m going to try these for my dog for sure. Thanks!

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    Trish says June 20, 2012

    You're welcome Carol!

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Carol says March 12, 2012

this one is very interesting I shall have to give it a try. Hope my shepherd cross will love them.

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    Trish says March 12, 2012

    Let me know if your dog like them, won't you Carol?

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Ariadne says March 9, 2012

thanks for sharing this idea!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    You're welcome Ariadne!

    Reply
    Amrutha says May 18, 2012

    impressed with your recipe. Quite unusual and healthy. thanks!

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      Trish says May 18, 2012

      You're welcome Amrutha!

      Reply
Claudio says March 7, 2012

Great recipe idea. My dog will love these! Thanks!!!!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    Thanks Claudio!

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Rick Smith says March 6, 2012

Wow, these look so easy to do too!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    They are easy to make Rick!

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    Nariman says May 16, 2012

    A really quality treat for my best friend… Laddy!

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Cícera says March 5, 2012

incredibly good recipe for my dog!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    Hope your dog loves these yam yums as much as my dog does!

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zharfan scambeg says February 18, 2012

It is said, the devil is in the details… and that could not be any more correct here. Great recipe…THANKS!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    Wow, and thank YOU Zharfan!

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Charlene Wolters says January 28, 2012

I have been sitting at the computer looking for about 3 hours for something on Yams or Sweet Potatoes dehydrated for dogs and came across your sight. This is going to be very helpful on starting to do this for my dog that was recently diagnosed with Pancratitis and needs a low fat diet. There is little to very few dog treats that are low in fat "and healthy for a dog". I had been giving her Chicken Treats (made in China) and NEVER AGAIN. Never a dog treat that says "Made in China". Thank you very much.

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    Trish says February 1, 2012

    I know EXACTLY what you mean Charlene. I refused to by anything eatable that's made in China, be it for human or pet. Am so sorry to hear that your little jem has been diagnosed with Pancratitis. Hopefully your "puppy" will enjoy these homemade treats.

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      Hena says May 16, 2012

      Wow, these sound easy to make and healthy too, obviously. Thanks!

      Reply
      Norma says May 18, 2012

      Great idea for health treats… thanks!

      Reply
        Trish says May 18, 2012

        You're welcome Norma!

        Reply
Tom says January 28, 2012

These treats sound awesome… and a whole lot cheaper to make too. Thanks!

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    Trish says February 1, 2012

    They are Tom, and your dog will LOVE them!

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Greta Grivas says January 6, 2012

You have a great weblog and I like your style of writing about different stuff. Keep up the good work!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    Thanks Great!

    Reply
Andrew Griffin says January 5, 2012

hi i found your site today and I have read some great posts here. I just wanna say thanks to you for sharing so we all can learn!

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    Trish says March 11, 2012

    You're welcome Andrew. Thank YOU for your compliment!

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      Randal says May 15, 2012

      Thanks so much for this recipe!.

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Lisa says July 14, 2011

what setting do u put the dehydrator on & was I supposed to cook them 4 minutes or 8 minutes in the microwave…was a little confused about that….Great Idea though Thanks!

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    Trish says July 18, 2011

    Sorry for the confusion Lisa, my dehydrator only has one setting. If yours has more, I would suggest you use the highest setting.

    I put the plate of sliced yams in for 4 minutes, after which I take them out, turn them over and return them for another 4 minutes. Most times they're done after 8 minutes… sometimes some slices need a few minutes longer to cook.

    Your dog will LOVE these treats. Mine does!

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      Howard says March 2, 2012

      What a great idea to make vegan treats!

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        Trish says March 11, 2012

        Thanks Howard!

        Reply
Trish says December 4, 2010

Awesome Nicole! I'm glad I could help out. You might also want to check out yard sales for a dehydrator… or your local "used" stores. Bets you'll find a really great used dehydrator at ONE of these sources …and save even MORE money!

The cheapest sweet potatoes I was able to find this past year, were those sold at the local farmer's market. The sweet potatoes sold in my local grocery stores are a lot smaller… and these are sold by the POUND! The farmer's market sold them for 4 humongous potatoes for $5! What a niiiiiice savings.

Just make sure to use the sweet potatoes a.s.a.p. Don't wait until one goes bad. BOY! Do they stink when they rot.

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Nicole says December 3, 2010

I loved this little tutorial, it is really informative! I was at petsmart the other day and during my checkout the ringing associated asked me if my dog would like to try one of their new treats. It was an all natural dehydrated sweet potato piece about an inch long wrapped in a thin slice of duck. My dog absolutely loved it, and it also took her a few minutes of gnawing on it for her to finish it. I intend to purchase a dehydrator and start experimenting with all natural treats very soon!!

Thank you!

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    Aarya says March 2, 2012

    Ooooooo, this looks so good. My daughter got a recipe from one of her roommates last year that had apples and yams in it. I made it and was disappointed. THIS recipe looks pretty much perfect. Our dog will LOVE these!

    Reply
      Trish says March 11, 2012

      Thanks Aarya!

      Reply
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