When store-bought pork rinds have become controversial dog treats due to preservatives and overdose of spices, the homemade pork skin is a tasty treat for our furry friends. What’s more, pumpkin is a well-known healthy vegetable that aids digestion in dogs and improves urinary tract health. We will teach you to make a creative dog treat with pork rinds and pumpkin for your dogs. Now let’s start cooking!
Prepare the pork skin strip
Pork skins are tasty but high in fat. Too much fat and oil may lead to obesity or digestive problems. Therefore, when processing the raw pork skin, you should scrape off the excess fat that sticks to the ham skin, so that the fat content of the treat will most likely be reduced. The steps to prepare the pork skin are:
1. Cut off the remaining hide and fat from the raw ham pork (about 1 pound)
2. Cook the raw skin in boiling water until it is soft and easy to pierce with a fork. Uncooked pork meat might contain a parasite called trichinella spiralis larvae. So cooking the pork thoroughly can prevent parasites from infecting your dog.
3. Cut the cooked skin, appropriate to the size of the dog, into strips. A large dog might swallow a small treat in a matter of seconds. The following sizes are recommended:
• Small breed dogs (Poodle, Bichon, etc): 1 cm in width and 13 cm in length
• Large breed dogs (Labrador, Golden Retriever, etc): 3 cm in width and 25 to 30 cm in length
Prepare the pumpkin stick
1. Clean and peel the pumpkin
2. Cut it into sticks about 1 cm in width (thickness) and 5 to 6 cm in length for small dogs, or 2 cm in width (thickness) and 10 cm in length for large dogs.
“Connect” the pork skin strip and the pumpkin stick
1. Tie a pork skin strip in a knot
2. Stuff a pumpkin strip into each pork skin knot
Cook the pork skin/pumpkin stick
We could cook the treats using an air-dryer, oven, microwave, or even dry them naturally in sunshine, but the cooking time and temperature are different. Commonly, the oven and microwave oven are at a higher temperature than the air-dryer, so their cooking time will be shorter. Here we are going to show you how to cook the pumpkin stick with the air-dryer.
1. Place foil paper and parchment paper on top of the sheets of air-dryer.
2. Line the sticks onto the prepared sheet. If you have odd pork skin strips, you could dry them together. However, remember to place the surface of the skin directly on the parchment paper so that the oil can be absorbed there.
3. Heat the air-dryer to 68 degree celsius and dry them for 4 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the treats. If the treats are small (for small dogs), the time should be set between 4 to 5 hours. If they are big (for large dogs), it’s best to limit the time to a maximum of 8 hours.
4. However, if your furry friend likes to gnaw a firm treat, you could properly raise the temperature and extend the drying time. Also, a firm treat can be preserved easier and longer.
5. Enjoy the pork skin/pumpkin sticks with your furry friend after you have completely cooled the treats to room temperature.
• You could add a little salt when cooking the treats, but non-flavoring treats will be healthier.
• If your pup has never eaten pork skin, it’s best to start feeding him a small amount of this treat and gradually increase the quantity if he hasn’t any discomfort.
• To preserve the remaining treat, you could towel the steam left on the treat before storing them in an airtight container.
• Limit your dog’s intake of treats. Vets advise that dogs should eat 90% healthy food (main food) and perhaps 10% can be a snack or treat, which is named 90/10 rule.