This week, my dogs are I are crunching on a shareable snack that kind of looks like bacon, but tastes as sweet as candy. It’s fresh watermelon that’s dehydrated into a crunchy jerky! This one-ingredient treat is so simple to make. Just watch:
Watermelon For Dogs
In moderation, watermelon makes for a great dog treat. It’s low in calories, high in thirst-quenching water, and loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Thanks to all the goodness inside, it’s linked to many health benefits. Find out more about watermelon for dogs in my Food Facts feature HERE!
You can either cut a small cube of watermelon and offer it to your pooch as is, grind it up in a blender to create summertime Pupsicles, use an ice cream maker to make dog-approved watermelon ice cream, or grab a dehydrator and make this DIY jerky!
To turn a thirst-quenching watermelon into a crispy jerky, we need to dehydrate it. As the water content is slowly removed from the watermelon, you’ll notice you’re left with a crunchy, super sweet bite.
It’s important to note that all fruit contains natural sugars. Once the water is stripped away, the sugar and calories packed inside become much more concentrated. So, dried fruits are higher in calories and sugar. While your dog may wag his tail and ask for more of this yummy snack, feed in moderation. One or two pieces in one sitting is great!
What You’ll Need
- Cutting board or plate
- Knife, to cut the watermelon
Whether you’ve seen the couple jerky recipes here on my blog or you’ve flipped through the Jerky, Chips, and Chews section of my cookbook, Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes, you’ve probably noticed I usually dehydrate my dog treats in the oven. For this particular treat, I really love to use a dehydrator. If you don’t have one and would like to add one to your kitchen collection (without shelling out a boatload of cash), here’s the one I have. It works great and it’s budget-friendly:
Watermelon Jerky Recipe
Watermelon Jerky Dog Treats
- 1/4 watermelon
- Using a sharp knife, cut watermelon in half and then into quarters. I personally like to dehydrate a quarter at a time, so I'm left with a smaller portion. But if you would like a lot of jerky then dehydrate more!
- With the flesh still attached to the rind, cut the watermelon into thin, triangle-shaped strips. Aim to cut the strips ⅛"-¼" thick.
- Carefully cut the bottom of the watermelon strips, removing them from the rind. Cut the triangle-shaped slices in half, lengthwise, so they resemble jerky strips. Keep these cuts wide, as the watermelon will significantly shrink in the dehydrator.
- Place watermelon strips onto dehydrator trays. A quarter of a watermelon usually fills 3 trays in my dehydrator.
- Turn dehydrator onto 160ºF and dehydrate for 10-11 hours, or until you're left with a crunchy jerky. *Note: Since the heat source in my dehydrator is at the bottom, I shuffle the tray placement every 4 hours or so to ensure even dehydrating.
- Store in an airtight container in a dry location.