When we adopted Shaeffer I thought that we were bringing a dog into our home. Although that was true, it didn’t take long to figure out that we had actually adopted a stomach with legs. He’s cute and all but the boy can eat – we had to find a way to make homemade dog treats or risk getting eaten out of house and home!

If that sounds extreme, ask yourself if you could resist this:

Shaeffer loves to eat. He has us so well trained that I’m not afraid to admit that he’d trade us in for an old tennis ball and a bag of dog cookies.

He’s not a picky eater. He loves brussels sprouts, carrots, some types of apples, almost anything you find on the street and bananas. He was also a fan of commercial dog cookies but ate them at an alarming rate which was both expensive and a little taxing on his waist line.

We’ve dried yams/sweet potatoes for homemade dog treats in the past. Shaeffer always loved them and they don’t take long to make (and shared a trick on using racks to increase the quantity here). I wanted to see if we could make them even more exciting for him by smoking them before drying – and it worked. He bounces off the walls when we reach for the top of the fridge these days! He loves them so much that I decided to try one (after all, they’re just smoked yams) and found that they tasted vaguely like I imagine a cigarette butt would taste. Less than ideal for me but his dog palette suggests these are ideal.

A single bag of dog cookies costs upwards of $10 (or more) in Toronto. I was able to buy 10 pounds of yams at a local corner store (arguably the most expensive place in the world to buy food) for $14. The total yield was 4-5 pints/quarts or the equivalent of 6+ bags of treats. Because I cut them smaller than the commercial product I’m going to guess that this is 4-6 months of treats for less than $20.



20 mins


14 hours


14 hours 20 mins

Homemade dog treat recipe Smoked yams are then dehydrated into dog cookies that are cheap and easy.

Author: Joel MacCharles

Recipe type: Dehydrated

Serves: 6 quarts/ liters


  • 10 pounds of yams (of course you can make any amount you want)
  • Cold smoker with wood (we used oak so it would be very smoky)
  • Dehydrator


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash yams and cut them into the shape of thick french fries.
  3. Place yams on cookie sheets (you can stack them on top of each other but using racks between layers will help speed the process).
  4. Cook until slightly soft, about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Spread yams through smoker and smoke 8-10 hours.
  6. Spread yams on dehydrator racks and dry until all moisture is gone (about 6-8 hours depending on how soft your yams were after cooking).
  7. Place in a container out of direct sunlight.

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