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Make Your Own Sweet Potato Treats

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There are more recalls and warnings coming out of China these days. Not only are we being warned off of food (see all pet food-related recalls here) and chicken jerky treats, but we’re now being warned about sweet potato treats.

According to Poisoned Pets, vets are reporting health problems with sweet potato treats that are similar to those related to chicken jerky treats also made in China (see list of manufacturersat end of article). Initial testing is showing the existence of phorate, a highly toxic pesticide.

Fortunately, sweet potato treats are easily made at home and the end result is something that you know will be safe.  Here are a few easy recipes that are cost-effective, nutritional and your dogs will love them.

What you’ll need:

  • Large sweet potatoes
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Baking sheets and cooling racks (depending on method)
  • Shortening (to grease pans if you use the oven method)

Directions

  1. Carefully slice potato into long, fairly thick (about 1/3 inch) slices (remember: they will lose a lot of thickness during dehydration)
  2. Dehydrate using your preferred method:

~  Stove: Grease baking sheets and arrange slices on pans. Then place in preheated oven on lowest setting (about 200 degrees) and allow to bake for approximately 6 hours.
~  Food Dehydrator: Place slices in food dehydrator and follow recommended time periods for dehydrator – they will vary.
~  Arizona or hot climates: Place cooling rack on cookie sheet, then lay the slices across the cooling rack. Place another cooling rack over top of sweet potatoes. Cover entire setup with plastic wrap and allow to dehydrate for approximately 12 hours.

Benefits of sweet potato treats include:

  • High source of fiber: Which is why it’s used as a common filler.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A (beta carotene) is an important antioxidant. One medium sweet potato contains the complete recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. It also helps protect against the sun by repairing cell damage caused by high UV exposure. Sweet potatoes are also high in Vitamin C, Manganese, Copper, Fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Iron (be cautious feeding them if your pet has any type of sensitivity to these vitamins.
  • High in starch: While a little starch is a good thing, too much can be a bad thing. Sweet potatoes are high in starch, so weight gain can result if they are fed too often.
  • Digestibility: Sweet potatoes help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance.  They are also excellent digestive aids and help dogs recover from bouts of both diarrhea and constipation.

If you insist on buying your own, be very cautious about who you are purchasing from. Here is more information on the recent warnings for manufactured treats.

Fanconi Syndrome

The initial test results show symptoms similar to Fanconi Syndrome, which is a disorder of the kidney tubes in which certain substances normally absorbed into the bloodstream by the kidneys are released into the urine instead.

Suspected Brands

The brands currently implicated in the sweet potato treat problem are:

  • Beefeaters Sweet Potato Snacks for Dogs (16 varieties of yam-related treats)
  • Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (Nestlé Purina)
  • Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified)
  • Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality (4 varieties)

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