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Monday, February 24, 2014

Dog Treat Recipes – Hits and Misses

Like a lot of people I’m always looking to save money on the grocery bill and the cost of dog treats, especially with a houseful of dogs, is one way to do it.  There's always the safety issue to worry about as well.  So I like to check out new dog treat recipes and try them on my dogs.  Some turn out to be winners and some are big flops.  So today I thought I’d share a couple I’ve tried as well as my dogs’ opinions on the outcome.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats
2-1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 large eggs
2/3 c pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
3 Tbs peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients in stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium about one minute or until dough looks like a bunch of little balls.  If you pinch it and it crumbles, add  a little water.  Form the dough into a ball.  Place on lightly floured surface and roll to about ¼ inch thickness.  Use cookie cutter for cute shapes or use knife to cut squares or strips.  Whatever shape you choose, the dogs won’t care!  Place cookies on baking sheet.  They can be crowded pretty close as they don’t expand much.  Bake 15-20 min for softer treats or 30 min for hard treats.  Makes 100+ 1-inch heart-shaped dog treats.

I had to add several tablespoons of water to get my dough to stick together and felt like they still were a little too dry.  My dogs prefer soft treats so I only baked them for 15 minutes which was just about right.  The dogs were a little hesitant at first, but did seem to enjoy them, however, they were a little dry and crumbly.  I would definitely not be afraid to add more water if I did them again.

No Bake Dog Treats
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup oats

 Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap, set aside.  In a medium bowl, vigorously stir together the peanut butter, cinnamon, and water until combined. Slowly add the oats, 1/4 cup at a time, until completely mixed in. Roll into desired size treat balls, place on prepared cookie sheet. Chill in the fridge for 1 - 3 hours before feeding to your dog. I like to freeze them on the cookie sheet and then put them into a Ziplock bag in the freezer so I can just take out one or two at a time.

This one was definitely a hit with the dogs and the kids as well as me.  It was super easy, the dogs loved it and the kids thought I was making no bake cookies for them because the kitchen smelled so good. My kids even tried them and decided the dogs had it pretty good!

The last one I’ve tried several times is dehydrated sweet potatoes.  You just wash and peel a sweet potato, slice into desired shape and sizes and dehydrate in a food dehydrator to desired texture.  If no food dehydrator is available you can dehydrate in the oven at 145-155 degrees about 6-8 hours or to desired texture.  The thicker cuts you have, the longer it will take to dehydrate.

This one seems to be kind of an acquired taste.  At first they wouldn’t touch them, but now I only have one dog that turns up his nose at the sweet potatoes.

I have a lot of recipes pinned on Pinterest, so check them out and see if you find anything your pups might enjoy.  http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=dog%20treat%20recipes

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Message

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I had two things I wanted to let everyone know.  If you have a dog-loving Valentine you still need a gift for, we have gift certificates available so your valentine can pick whatever their little puppy-loving heart desires!  Just click on Gift Certificates at the bottom of our home page and fill out the form.  You can also personalize your Valentine message.

Also since chocolate is a Valentine favorite, I wanted to remind everyone to be careful about keeping it away from your pooches.   Chocolate can poison and even kill dogs and according to WebMD is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning.  Dark chocolate is the most dangerous with white chocolate being the least.  But to keep our pets safe it is best just not to share our treats and keep them safely away.

Have a Safe and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 3, 2014


In grooming dogs I get requests from people who would like their dog’s teeth brushed along with their grooming, assuming that it will resolve the dog’s bad breath.  Unfortunately, without regular brushing, tartar can build up leading to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Get a head start in fending off these preventable problems while your pooch is young.  Begin while he’s relaxed and start with handling his muzzle and touching his mouth, getting him used to having people handling his face.  When he’s okay with that, try holding his mouth and rubbing a finger over his teeth.  Once he's comfortable with being handled, you can start slowly with some canine-specific toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste), and a small toothbrush, or they do make finger brushes if your dog is more comfortable with that.  Veterinarians recommend doing it daily if possible or at least several times a week.

Start very simply by showing your pup the toothbrush and canine-specific toothpaste for him to lick and sniff. Gently approach his mouth to brush one or two teeth and gums, using a circular motion. Don't worry about getting a lot done. Right now, you just want to build up his comfort with the experience.  Brush at the same time each day so he'll come to expect it. Choose a relaxed time, such as early evening building up to several times a week.

As dogs continue to lead longer and healthier lives, veterinarians point to preventive dental care as a key factor in their prolonged health. Use your puppy's first year to establish good habits to last a lifetime!  If your dog is no longer a puppy, don’t despair it’s never too late to start new habits.

Dry kibble has been credited with keeping teeth clean, and the crunch of dry kibble can keep teeth cleaner than a diet of wet food, which is stickier and more likely to get trapped in between teeth. But while daily kibble helps, it can't do the job by itself.

Long-lasting chew items can offer a good cleansing benefit, as well as rubber or nylon chew toys. Your dog should spend about 30 minutes gnawing, daily, for maximum tooth-scraping benefit. However, always supervise your pup with any prolonged treat.

Whatever you choose, shop wisely. A treat with the Veterinary Oral Health Council's seal of approval means it has been studied and proven to have some dental benefits. Also, consider the size of the treat you're buying. If your dog gulps it up in seconds flat, it probably didn't have a chance to do much dental cleaning.

It would be great if treats and chews were the doggy dental care solution, unfortunately this is not the case.  There is no substitute for the benefits of tooth brushing and professional care. To keep your dog's pearly whites in the best condition, offer dental cleansing treats and chews as a supplement, but don't forgo other elements of dental care.

Good dental care, both at home and from a professional, is a big part of keeping your dog healthy. With some patience and dedication, it can easily become a part of your lifestyle.