Since 2007, 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have become sick from eating jerky treats. Of those, approximately 580 have died, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Some of the affected animals that have become sick as a result of consuming these jerky treats have developed everything from kidney failure to gastrointestinal bleeding.
The FDA is investigating what in the implicated treats — most of which have been made in China — is making pets sick. But six years later, pet owners remain on edge and more than a little paranoid about buying jerky for their four-legged friends. Sad, really, because the look on a dog’s face right before getting a treat, especially as a reward for good behavior, is pretty awesome.
Pet owner Chris Whitley had a scare with her chihuahua, Rosie. The dog was poisoned by Chinese chicken jerky in 2007 and developed acquired Fanconi syndrome, which her vet had never even heard of before. Rosie was one of the lucky pets that pulled through, after various treatments and, no doubt, staggering vet bills.
After Rosie got sick, Whitley started making homemade chicken and beef jerky for all her pups, and she’s shared her recipes with us. These treats are also ideal for pups that venture out trick-or-treating.
Preheat oven at 250°F. Line the cookie trays with foil — makes for easier and faster cleanup. Put cookie tray on top of foil. This allows the heat/air to circulate. You will get wet chicken breasts unless you do this.
It should look like this:
Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise fairly thin (but not wafer-thin). Place each slice on a cooling rack over a tray. Cook in the oven for 2 hours.
Remove from the oven and flip those babies over, letting them cook for an additional 2 hours. Turn the oven off and let the chicken jerky cool completely in the oven.
Store in a brown paper bag in the fridge. They won’t keep fresh as long stored in plastic bags because they get all sweaty and gross.
Preheat the oven at 250°F. Prepare the cookie tray same as you do for the chicken jerky.
Cut the beef into thin strips and arrange on the cooling rack over the cookie tray. Cook the beef for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, flip over and let them cook for an additional 90 minutes.
As with the chicken jerky, let the beef jerky cool thoroughly while still in the oven.
Chris Whitley lives in Pennsylvania with her husband. She now has nine small dogs — Rosie and eight rescues — and two rescue kitties.
Pictured with her is Rosie, the chihuahua that got the ball rolling on the homemade jerky treats.