Tag: dog treats

It’s too hot!  What do I do With My Dog?

I recently asked my Facebook fan group what they do to entertain their dogs when it’s too hot to play outside.  Here are some of the responses:

  1. My dogs love the laser pointer so they chase it up and down the hallway and they love water so they chase the water from the hose out back for a while keeps them cool, happy and wears them out!”

  2. Doggie daycare at Elite Paw Spa

  3. Go to the dog park early am hours – like 630 before its too hot”

Other than exercise type activities, here are some fun treat ideas to keep your pets cool:

  1. Frozen green beans

  2. Frozen toys – they have to lick them out 🙂

  3. Ice cubes

  4. Find the treat – hide them all around the house and tell your dog to “find them”.

Now it’s your turn!  What OTHER ideas do you have to exercise your pet in the hot summer months?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Here are some DIY healthy treats for your dog to spoil them on the day of love.

 

Flavored Chicken Chewies – Courtesy of http://kolchakpuggle.com/

Use what you’ve already got at home for your healthy treats.  Super easy and FREE!

The website I got this recipe from (link above) offered some optional marinades.  I am keeping this recipe as simple as possible just to keep unwanted or unneeded ingredients in the chews.  If you’d like to add additional flavor to your chews check out his website for ideas.

  • 3 lbs. chicken breast chunks (or thinly sliced chicken breast)

How We Do It (Instructions)

(Skip the first 2 steps if not using a marinade)

  • Whisk together marinade ingredients of your choice.

  • Place chicken in a shallow dish or plastic bag and cover with marinade. Place in fridge and marinate 12 – 24 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 425F.

  • Line baking trays with parchment paper. Lay out chicken pieces on the trays. Bake chicken 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Oven Method:

  • Reduce heat to 200F and slow cook for 3 -12 hours, flipping occasionally until jerky is dry.

Dehydrator Method:

Place chicken chunks onto dehydrator trays. Set to the HIGH or MEAT setting. Dehydrate for 2 – 12 hours, no flipping necessary, until jerky is dry

Cut a piece in half to test for doneness. Jerky is dry when there is no moisture in the centre of the treat and it is the same colour throughout.

Organ Meat Dog Treats – Also from http://kolchakpuggle.com/

Organ meat is liver and lung.  The linked website mentions heart, which you can use, but it isn’t considered an organ when feeding raw.  Heart is considered meat.  Organs are rich!  Feed a few of these treats at a time.  If your dog eats too much it may give it the runs.

Slice your organ meat into thin slices (This will be a bazillion times easier if it’s partially frozen.) The thinner you can slice it, the better you’re final treat will be. Line a baking sheet or dehydrator tray with parchment (for easy clean up, plus, these can stick if you’re not careful!) Place baking sheet in an oven heated to the lowest setting or plug in dehydrator on the “meat” setting (if you have one). Dry for 12 – 14 hours, until they snap crisp and there is no moisture left in the middle.

Dehydrating organ meat may be a bit stinky.  If you have a dehydrator try plugging it in outside to keep from stinking up the house.

Fish Chew – Also from  http://kolchakpuggle.com/

1 lb. of fresh or frozen/defrosted white fish pieces – You can use Tilapia, Sole, Haddock, Cod, Pollock etc. I use what ever is on sale.

How We Do It (Instructions)

If desired, trim the whitefish into bite sized pieces. ( Note: The fish will shrink by about 50% as it dehydrates, so cut your whitefish pieces larger than the size of chew you want to end up with.)

If you are marinating your chews (you can get some marinating ideas from the website), whisk the ingredients together. Place your fish pieces in a bowl or zip top bag, pour the marinade over them and toss the fish to coat well.

Place in the fridge and marinate for as long as you like. (I prefer to make the marinade the night before and let it sit all night.)

Lay out fish pieces on your dehydrator trays and turn on. Allow your fish chews to dehydrate for 6 – 10 hours. (Actual drying time will depend on the moisture in the fish and the humidity in your area.)

Fish chews are done when they are firm, no longer flexible and break cleanly in half.

Oven Method: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Lay out your fish pieces on a foil lined baking sheet or a drying rack. Cook fish for several hours – Mine took 4 hours. (Again, actual drying time will depend on the moisture in the fish and the humidity in your area.)

Store in a sealed, airtight container. Do not refrigerate.

Grain Free Dog Treats – Courtesy of Primally Inspired

Ingredients

  • ½ cup chicken or beef broth (or homemade bone broth) – I like the bone broth idea.  It adds additional nutrients and doesn’t add extra sodium.

  • ½ cup fat or oil of choice (bacon fat, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) – BACON FAT! Don’t know what to do with your leftover bacon fat?  Now you do!

  • 1⅓ cup tapioca flour

  • ⅓ cup coconut flour

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (or just leave it out)

  • 2 tablespoons brewers or nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (sometimes called ground flax or milled flax)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. In a small pot over medium heat, bring the chicken broth and fat/oil to a boil.

  3. While that is coming to a boil, mix tapioca flour, coconut flour, sea salt, brewers yeast and flax meal in a medium bowl.

  4. Once the broth/fat mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and add to the flour bowl. Mix well.

  5. On a piece of parchment paper, press out the dough into a ¼” thick rectangle. Either cut into squares with a pizza cutter or use cookie cutters in desired shape.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. When the timer goes off, shut off the oven, crack the door and leave in the oven until cool (about 10-15 more minutes).

Why all the fancy ingredients in pet food?

Marketers are geniuses.  They have found a way to market pet food so it looks pretty and healthy.  They make us think that all the healthy foods we eat are essential for our pet’s balanced diets.  There is a reason behind the ingredients and it isn’t for a balanced diet.  Take a look:

Fats are essential for our pet’s health.  They use fat and protein for energy NOT carbs.  However, fats will oxidize quickly, so they need to add antioxidants into the food to give it shelf life.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are ingredients that keep commercially made pet food from oxidizing (going bad once the bag is opened).  These ingredients include Vitamin C (cranberries, blueberries, apples, and other fruit), Vitamin E, Citric Acid (citrus fruit and many of the other fruits mentioned in Vitamin C).  These are the NATURAL ways to include antioxidants in our pet’s food.  Artificial antioxidants are ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).

Conclusion:  When you see pet food made with natural antioxidants, it’s a better choice for your pet.  If you read the label on your pet’s food and they contain the artificial antioxidants (if you didn’t read the linked articles, they can be linked to cancer), step away.

Do your pet’s NEED these antioxidants for a balanced diet?  No.  The only reason these ingredients are in our pet’s food is so commercial pet food can have a longer shelf life.

Starches, Carbs, Grain:

Although dogs don’t need carbs for energy, if you are going to feed a dry kibble you won’t be able to get away from carbs.  Dog’s can convert carbs into energy, but too much can cause gas and obesity.

What are the starches, carbs and grain in our pet’s food?  Sweet potato, rice, legumes, flour, potato, brown rice, wheat, corn, barley, oats, etc.

If our pets use fat and protein for energy, why all the starches, carbs and gains?  Starches, carbs and grains are essential for commercially made pet food to give it texture, structure and form.  It is also cheaper than animal protein.  Chances are, the higher the protein in dog food, the more expensive it will be.  Dogs don’t NEED carbs.  If your dog is gassy, it’s most likely because the food they are eating has a high amount of carbs.  In a high carb diet (30% or more) your dog can’t break it all down, resulting in fermentation which is passed by gas.  High carb diets also result in obesity.  They are consuming more carbs than they need for energy.  A low carb (or no carb, raw) diet will help slim your pup if it is over weight.

So what should we be feeding our pets?

There is no one answer for this question.  With all the different pet foods on the market, you need to read the labels to determine what will work best for your  pet.  Watch your dog.  Is it gassy, have runny poo, over weight?  These are all indications that you may need to switch things up.  I believe there is a good food for every budget.  Knowing what the ingredients are is a good first step.