One of my old clients knows that I regard liver bread as the absolute best treat to give a dog as a ‘gold star’, and very kindly sent me the recipe below which she says she has tried and her dog loves. Please do read the whole recipe as too much liver is not good for dogs, and they give a lot of tips on purchasing etc. If your dog has ANY medical conditions, do check out with your vet first as to whether this would be advisable for your own dog, and remember ‘less is more’!)
Thank you so much to the person that supplied the source for us! Looking forward to investigating the site. www.dogtreatkitchen.com
- 1 pound beef liver (organic calf liver is preferred)
- Preheat oven to 200° F
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Cut liver into strips about 1/4 inch thick.
- Space pieces of liver on sheet pan so they are not touching (see note below regarding Spacing).
- Bake for 2 hours, rotating the pan after one hour.
- Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Lift the parchment paper off the sheet pan and place on the wire rack to allow the liver training treats to cool completely and dry out on the bottom.
The yield really depends on how small you make each training treat. It also depends on how often you have a training session. Just keep in mind that since liver has a unique smell for your dog, a small piece will pack a rewarding flavor punch.
Tips & Techniques
- Cutting Liver - Cutting liver can get tricky as it is very soft. To make things easier, especially since this is an easy dog treat recipe, freeze the package of liver. Then let it thaw for a few minutes on the counter. Sharpen your knife and cut the liver into strips while it is still frozen. It will continue to thaw while you handle it and before it goes into the oven.
- Spacing - Even though the liver will shrink, it spreads out a little before it gets thinner. So the more space you can allow between each piece the better. Actually this is one time that the picture above is a good example of what not to do. Although the treats came out great, I had to tear them apart. If possible, leave about a 1/4 inch between each piece.
- Parchment Paper - It's not necessary, but it makes things easier after baking, if you cut the paper to fit your sheet pan. Then the paper will not be curling and getting in the way of the liver.
- Oven Temperature - This recipe is a great time to use an oven thermometer. You can easily check for the accurate temperature and adjust accordingly.
- Texture - You are looking for a jerky or flexible texture with these liver treats. They will be slightly spongy in the center, but with a firm outside.
- Cooling - It's important to let the dog training treats cool off of the sheet pan. The liver will be slightly moist underneath, and it needs the opportunity to dry out.
- Vitamin A - Even though liver has a whole host of beneficial nutrients and vitamins, one of which is vitamin A, too much can do damage. If you dog ingests a large amount of liver at one time, in severe cases it could lead to vitamin A toxicity. So, how much is too much? That depends on the size and weight of your dog. Typically organ meat should not be more than 5-10% of your dogs total diet. However, we are talking about treats. A treat is an occasional indulgence, so there should not be a need for concern.
- Organic - You may want to consider purchasing organic liver. Since the liver functions in removing toxins from the body, an organic liver will have fewer toxins. You should also consider purchasing calf liver or organic calf liver. Since the calf is young, it will have a minimal amount of build-up compared to an adult. Whatever type of liver you purchase, it should be hormone, steroid and antibiotic free, and preferably pasture raised.
- Stinky - OK, so this isn't as important as nutrition. But you need to be warned that not everyone enjoys the smell of cooked liver. So, you may want to air out the kitchen during and after baking your liver dog biscuits to avoid the stinky fragrance.
- Clean-Up - Some of the homemade liver dog treats require that you puree the liver in a food processor. Once liver is in a liquid state, it dries very quickly. It is then quite difficult to remove when it comes time to clean up. I recommend taking the time to immediately rinse any utensils used with liver. Once the treats are baking away in the oven, you can address the task of washing dishes (or in my case loading the dishwasher!).