~ This super-easy Frozen Dog Treat recipe has just 2 simple ingredients dogs love – a total snap to make! Bonus: it’s the perfect way to use up leftover chicken! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less (Plus Freezing) • Freezable • Make Ahead • Gluten Free •
They don’t call ’em “The Dog Days of Summer” for nothin’!
It’s been hot, hot, hot here in normally temperate Ohio lately. Steamy-humid with heat indexes in the 90s and above.
It’s hot for my kiddos, training for soccer try-outs and cross-country season, and drumming through two solid weeks of full-day marching band camp.
It’s hot for me, too – trying to finish up my 100-mile running challenge.
Remember last week when I posted my all-time favorite summer workout snack? Those easy, one-ingredient Grape Popsicles? Yeah – I daydream about that frosty joy-on-a-stick as I’m running in the sweltering heat!
But what about my running buddy – our pup, Finn? It’s hot for Finny, too! “Dog Days,” for sure! Sadly, he can’t have frozen, frosty grapes (grapes and raisins aren’t good for pooches).
Still, when he and I finish a run together, and I reward myself with my fave frozen grape snack, I like having a refreshing, frozen reward for Finn, too! These icy-cold dog treats are perfect! I keep them stockpiled in the freezer for Finny all summer long.
They’re a total win for so many reasons – a dog treat recipe I truly feel good about!
For one thing, the recipe is crazy-simple – just two healthy, high-protein ingredients. I love that they’re wholesome and homemade – and that they take practically no time at all to make! And Finn (who’s kind of a picky little eater), totally adores them!
Even better? The chicken I use for this dog treat recipe is typically leftover chicken that might otherwise go to waste.
Using Up Leftover Chicken
If you’re a regular here at THK, you know we have quite a few recipes that call for cooked chicken breasts (like our Chicken Parmesan Wraps, Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad, Sweet and Sour Chicken Flatbread Pizza, Healthy Chicken Salad with Tarragon-Yogurt Dressing, and 7-Layer Chicken Taco Salad). And, in all of those recipes, we suggest the time-saving option of grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
But, any time I use a rotisserie chicken, I always have a surprising amount of “usable” chicken that doesn’t really get used – all the tiny remnants of meat clinging to the bones, and all those little bits of fat, cartilage and connective tissue that we (as humans) find kind of icky – parts that people just don’t normally want to eat. Well, we may not want to eat all those little bits, but dogs sure do! And I’m happy to feel like I’ve used every part of the chicken that I possibly can!
So, whenever I get a rotisserie chicken, I try to take a few minutes to salvage all of the leftover meat. Surprisingly, I often end up with a cup – or more – of chicken bits that I would otherwise have wasted!
What Not To Use
When you’re chopping or shredding the leftover chicken, be very careful that you don’t include any bones. And go easy on including too much fat and, particularly, the fatty skin. In fact, as much as I love to use all of the chicken that I can, I definitely don’t recommend including the skin for this recipe at all, if the chicken has been roasted with a lot of spices or salt that’s still clinging to the skin.
Freezing Leftover Chicken Until You Have Time for Dog Treats
Often, I don’t have time to make dog treats right at the same moment that I’ve got some leftover chicken on hand. No problem! I just measure out the bits of leftover chicken and stash it in the freezer in a labeled, air-tight freezer bag. The perfect amount of chicken is all ready for me, next time I have a spare moment for this recipe!
Shapes and Sizes for Your Frozen Dog Treat Recipe
You could definitely spend extra time making these treats into cute shapes – for example, using flexible heart-shaped molds like we do for our 3-Ingredient “Chocolate-Covered Strawberry” Frozen Greek Yogurt Bites (for people).
But let’s be honest … why?
Your dog isn’t going to be charmed by heart shapes … you’ll just have wasted precious time. Quickly dolloping these treats onto a tray is just as yummy, as far as your pup is concerned!
To make these dog treats easier to for your pooch to chew once they’re frozen, I like to use the back of a spoon to slightly flatten each blob of yogurt into a thinner disk.
Feel free to adapt the size of these treats based on the size of your dog. Our Finny is only about 12 pounds, so I wrote this dog treat recipe to make fairly small snacks, sized for him – but you can vary them however you like.
No matter the size, these treats will be a hit! (Picky little Finn is definitely proof!)
A wonderfully cool and refreshing snack that you can absolutely feel great about giving to your own furry friend on these hot “Dog Days.”
So get out there with your pup and enjoy this summer, friends … and rest assured that we’ve got great (healthy!) ways for you … and your dog … to stay cool, even on the very doggiest of Dog Days!
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped, cooked chicken (see note)
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- In a medium bowl, mix chicken and yogurt until thoroughly combined.
- Drop mixture by the ½ tablespoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon, slightly flatten each treat into a thin disc.
- Place baking sheet in freezer and freeze until treats are solid. Once frozen, remove treats from baking sheet and store in an air-tight zippered freezer bag.
Quantity: If you measure out your dog treats using a level half-tablespoon, you should get approximately 52 treats from this recipe. However, as we mentioned in the post, you can feel free to vary the size of the treats according to the size of your dog.
Chicken: As discussed in the post, this recipe is an opportunity to use up leftover chicken, and we often utilize the bits of unused rotisserie chicken that we have left after making other recipes. Any cooked, finely chopped or shredded chicken will work for this recipe, but be very careful not to include any bones. Also, don't use too much of the fatty chicken skin, particularly if the skin has spicy seasonings or a lot of salt on it. Once you've finely chopped your leftover chicken for this recipe, you can pre-measure it and store it in a labeled, zippered freezer bag in your freezer until you have time to make this dog treat recipe.
Yogurt for Dogs: As we discussed in our newsletter, some dogs are lactose intolerant, just like people. While milk products in general are sometimes not recommended as a food for dogs, yogurt (which is more easily digestible) is actually on many "yes" lists as an acceptable ingredient. If you have any concerns about what your own vet recommends, or suspect that your dog may be lactose intolerant, you should check with your vet before serving these treats.