Category Archives: nutrition

Easy Homemade Dog Treats With Simple Ingredients

While browsing through a number of blogs, I found a post on Two Little Cavaliers on a simple recipe for dog treats.

I like recipes with simple ingredients. I try to eat simple food and ensuring I do my best to keep my dogs food as uncomplicated as possible is important as well. 

This recipe has only six ingredients and is very simple to prepare and bake.

The original recipe instructed to use a cookie cutter, however, both of my dogs are small and I wanted to keep the portions small as well. Combined that I only have a Halloween bat-shaped cookie cutter on hand led me to find alternatives.

I used the metal cap for a liquor bottle I had which measured 1 3/4″ in diameter. The dough, when baked, does not rise or spread so the end result is very close in size to the original shape.

Using every piece of dough, I was able to make approximately 83 pieces when using my small circular “cookie cutter”. The treats fit nicely into a Mason jar that I can keep in my treat basket.

Here is a link to the original recipe. 

You will need:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Coconut oil
  • Water
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground Ginger
  • (Optional) Carob chips

The author gives more instruction on how to use carob to make the fancy decorations, but I chose to omit that.

Because of the spices, the house smelled wonderful as the treats we’re baking. When I fed a fer cooled ones to my pups, they continues to ask for more! This recipe is a real winner!

Preparing the ingredients

Mixing in the wet ingredients

Refrigerated dough ready for rolling and cutting

All cut into circles and ready for baking

Lined up in rows on parchment paper, ready for the oven!

Fully baked and now cooling

Cooled and ready for eating! The bottle cap made them the perfect size for snacks

Packed in a Mason jar in the treat basket, ready for good dogs!

Dexter ate the treat so fast the camera missed it!


Looking for another treat!

Two Little Cavaliers has a lot of great recipes for simple homemade dog treats for you to make for your furry friend!

Can Pet Food Bags Be Recycled

Are pet food bags recyclable?

As Dexter finished the last portion of another bag of dog food, I wondered if these bags could be recycled? Grocery stores have receptacles for previously used, but clean, grocery bags, and our county runs curbside blue bin collection, but neither of these places takes pet food bags. That got me curious, what are pet food bags made from? According to the Purina How To Recycle website, the ProPlan bags that contain Dexter’s food are made from woven #5 polypropylene plastic.

Reading further into the site, there are a number of other types of packaging used to manufacture pet food bags; non-woven plastic (“#7 mixed materials”), lined paper (the ones with a thin coating of plastic on the inside), and unlined paper (similar to a paper lunch bag).

Purina Recycling Chart

Purina Recycling Chart

 

Sadly, the lined paper bags must go to trash because they cannot be broken down in to their source components easily. Clean, unlined pet food bags can go into your curbside blue bin with newspapers and other paper. The most rare types of plastic accepted in curbside programs are non-rigid #5 and #7 plastics.

Surely something can be done about all the waste created from these empty bags!

There are a few resources online which give step-by-step instructions for creating stylish tote bags, and purses, but one can only use so many totes and purses. Perhaps you could consider starting an Etsy store to sell them. For those of us who are less crafty, what alternatives do we have?

Etsy Handmade Tote

Etsy Handmade Tote

Indestructables Pet Food Tote Instructions

Indestructables Pet Food Tote Instructions

Wellness Pet Food has partnered with TerraCycle to offer a free-to-consumer recycling program where you can bundle empty bags and TerraCycle will shred and melt the plastic which can be reformed into new products. That is the ultimate goal I am trying to achieve; put my plastic back into the cycle and prevent the need to use raw materials. Kudos to Wellness Pet Food, but they won’t accept my Purina bags. So whats next?

Doing more research into #5 woven polypropylene (PP), I found that large shipping bags (FIBC – Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers) are made from the same material. There are just a handful of  FIBC recycling companies across the United States, and they don’t typically accept small shipments of a small number of items – they cater mainly to food processors, farms, and shipping companies who process hundreds at a time.

The process of recycling FIBC bags mirrors that of TerraCycle; bags are shredded, melted down and reformed into chips or pellets that can be reused into new plastic products.

Typically, these pellets are used to create beautiful outdoor furniture for consumers or use in public parks.

Poly-Wood Outdoor Furniture

Poly-Wood Outdoor Furniture

So where does that leave me? Literally holding the bag. Maybe I can mail it to an Etsy crafter, or use it in place of a tarp to protect the trunk of my vehicle, but since my curbside program doesn’t accept it, and I wasn’t able to find a place online; it seems that while they are “recyclable” in principal, they aren’t recyclable in reality.

Please let me know in the comments if you have found a way to recycle these.

 

Interestingly enough, during my research I found this company called Preserve that will take rigid plastic #5 containers, such as those for yogurt, hummus, and margarine spreads and turn them into toothbrush handles, and lunchbags.

 

American worker holding flag

Pet Products Made In The USA

According to the website American Made Matters these are the Top Ten Reasons to Buy American. These apply not only to goods for people, but also for our pets.

  1. Promotes American Independence
  2. Provide Jobs for Future Generations
  3. Better For the Environment
  4. Our Government Cannot Control Foreign Labor Standards
  5. Boosts American Investment Opportunities
  6. Guaranteed Quality of Goods
  7. Guaranteed Safer and Fair Working Conditions
  8. Helps Reduce the Deficit
  9. Avoid Foreign Political Debates
  10. Outsourced Manufacturing Plants Rarely Return to the US

According to an NDP Group report cited by Pet Business Magazine, 80% of shoppers said that a “Made in the USA” claim is important to them to some degree, and 44 percent said it is extremely or very important.

To me this comes as no surprise, as I believe we all agree that the points above convince us that products made here are of better quality and help drive our economy. How that translates into sales is another issue, as imported products tend to cost less.

Next time you are in the pet store, or if you are searching online for a product, consider the full value of the purchase you are making. Below is a list of “Made In The USA” products featured in Pet Business magazine. Links go directly to the suppliers pages.

 

Angel Eyes Natural Tear Stain Powder

Angel Eyes is developed specifically for dogs and cats. 100% wheat corn, soy & dye free. Recommended for both shedding and non-shedding breeds. 100# of Angel Eyes ingredients are products of the USA.

Circle T by Coastal

Circle T Rustic Leather collars and leashes are a vintage, classic design that features antique brass metal hardware. Rustic collars are available in brick red, chocolate, and slate grey. The round collars are perfect for dogs with long hair or sensitive skin.

Collar Guard by Sandy’s Sleeve

17 million dogs suffer from contact allergens. Irritants like plastic, metal, leather, nylon, rubber. Treatment is as easy as slipping collar guard over your existing collar. Committed to safety and protection.

Emerald Pet Products

Fresh Smileezz Grain Free Dog Dental Chews freshen breath from the inside out with all natural mint, dill, and parsley. For minty fresh breath you can really smell. Made in the USA.

Frenchie’s Kitchen

Human Grade, gently cooked, frozen food for dogs. 100% Human grade ingredients, 100% whole food ingredients, 100% USA sourced ingredients. If dogs could cook, this is what they’d serve.

Buddy Valastro Pets: Dog Treats

Hugs Pet Products is proud to announce our new line of Buddy Valastro Dog Treats inspired by his signature bakery items. No corn, no soy, all natural ingredients, slowly baked to perfection.

Dogs Leave Paw Prints On Our Hearts

This paw-shaped garden stone is a unique gift for any dog lover. Handmade in the USA and guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Reflective Rope Leads

Featuring premium 3/8″ polyester rope with a reflective tracer, sewen leather joins, brass hardware. Folds easily for carrying & storage. 4 & 6 ft. lengths in five colors. Made in USA.

Pet ‘n Shape Ham Bone

A Pet ‘n Shape classic and ideal holiday reward for pets, our ham bones are proudly made and sourced in the USA from free-range, grass-fed beef and contain no artificial additives, colors, or preservatives.

Petmate Vari Kennel

Petmate Vari Kennel is ideal for dogs at home or on the go. Tough, durable construction with specially designed features for pet’s comfort and security. Easy-to-assemble. Wide variety of sizes.

Indus Dog Diner

Beautifully constructed hardwood diner with a modern, brushed stainless steel top. Available in two sizes and two stunning finishes – natural or walnut.

PetzLife Dental, Flea & Tick, Calming, and more

PetzLife is an animal wellness company dedicated to creating innovative, all-natural products that improve pets’ lives. All PetzLife products are human grade, and every ingredient is sourced from reputable suppliers and made in the United States.

Poochie Bowl; Ultimate Travel Dog Bowl

The Poochie Bowl enhances traveling with your dog, by eliminating the mess. You no longer need to carry additional food or water, and is 100% made in the USA.

Preppy Puppy Treats

Preppy Puppy offers over 150 different types of gourmet treats including soft filled pastries, every-day treats & birthday. Wheat, corn & soy free. Made with all human grade ingredients.

Redbarn Pet Products

Redbarn Naturals Bully Slices Dog Chews are trimmed pieces of rawhide, coated to help tempt picky eaters. Our new Vanilla flavor contains functional ingredients to support dogs’ joint health.

Sandia Pet Products

Sandia Pet Products, a U.S. manufacturer of collars, leashes, and harnesses for dogs, cats and ferrets, offers superior quality, stunning designs, great variety, fast shipping, and affordable pricing.

USA Ground Rawhide Treats

New Ground Rounds are beef-hide treats made and sourced in the USA. They’re grain-free and blended with morsels of vegetables, fruits, and more. 4-packs, 8-packs, and 2-lb. jars available.

Dog Toys With Give Back

WO Design dog toys are made in the USA, durable, floatable, interactive, BPA-free, and recyclable. Each unit sold provides 2 meals for orphaned children and widows around the world.

Tropiclean 

Tropiclean pet products are made in the USA of natural ingredients. Their packaging includes biodegradable elements and shampoos are soap-free.
Fresh Wave Pet Shampoo made in the USA natural​ ingredients

Fresh Wave

Pet shampoo, and room deodorizers. Made in the USA from natural ingredients.

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Peanut “Brittle” for Dogs

First, let’s be clear that did should not eat real, human, peanut brittle. There is far too much sugar, and the broken pieces are sharp and could cause internal injuries.

That doesn’t mean that our fuzzy friends can’t enjoy a peanut-y treat. Below are a few recipes for peanut brittle alternatives.

Two things to remember about dogs and peanuts are:

  1. Use unsalted peanuts and peanut butter.
  2. Read the peanut butter jar to ensure xylitol is not an ingredient as this is toxic to dogs.

Check out this list of foods safe for dogs, and read about dogs and spicy food.

Key Ingredient – Dog Peanut Brittle

Husky Haven – Doggie Peanut Brittle

The Lazy Pitbull – Peanut Butter & Apple Sauce Cookies for Dogs

Husky Haven also has a very extensive list of other dog safe recipes.

Happy #PeanutBrittleDay!

As always, if your dogs eats something you suspect to be poisonous, be sure to seek medical advise as soon as possible.

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours per day and 1-855-764-7661. 

For day to day peace of mind, consider having a Pet First Aid kit, such as this one by the AKC, available.

Are regular feeding times important for dogs?

Dogs, by nature, are creatures of habit. There are several reasons why establishing and maintaining regular feeding and toileting times is important for your dogs health.

The main reasons to keep your dog are:

  • Routine brings security for your dog
  • Preventing overeating
  • Allows you to monitor your dogs habits
  • Maintain regular digestive rhythm
  • Prevent attraction of pests and insects

As most dog parents/guardians/owners have experienced, most dogs will want to let out at the same time every morning, whether you are ready or not. Waking you from a comfortable sleep isn’t the only motivation they get, they also need the routine as a part of their daily structure. Predictability and stability reduce stress in your dog, and keep them from having nervousness, and fear which can manifest into chewing, urinating indoors or other disruptive behavior. Part of a regular routine includes feeding at the same time and in the same location, regular walks, and providing the dog with a place of their own – to escape to in times of anxiety.

This means that the home environment should be as stable as you can manage; with the same people around, similar times going outside, predictable bed and waking times, and regular meal times. Most adults have a regular waking time, so including letting the dogs out and feeding should be part of most routines. You can use a dog door to allow unmonitored entry and exit if you have a controlled environment outside, and use of an automatic feeder (that will dispense dry bulk food in measured portions at programmed times) can alleviate some of the demands of a morning routine.

The two schools of thought on feeding methods include: free feeding, where food is available to your dogs all day in unmeasured quantities, or some method of timed feedings. One practice in use is to present half of the dogs daily food portion for 15 – 20 minutes (longer if the dog is a slow eater), then removing the food until the second of the two feedings. This establishes a feeding routine. Two benefits to timed feedings are portion control and the ability to monitor consumption. Dogs that have a very large appetite may be prone to overeating. By leaving an uncontrolled portion of food available, they may continue to eat regardless of their nutritional needs.

Presenting food twice a day at regular times allows you to monitor consumption habits. A change in the speed, quantity, and intensity of consumption can indicate changes in health and the consultation of a veterinarian may need to be sought. For example, a dog who refuses food or only eats a small portion may need to change food or may need to be put on a feeding plan by a vet.

A common digestive problem with dogs is constipation. Having a regulated flow of food going through can help keep their digestive tract active and functioning. Should you notice a slow down in bowel movements, this could indicate the beginning of, or a forming blockage. The American Kennel Club gives an extensive list of common treatments for constipation on their site. It is a very comprehensive article.

As an aside, Mercola has a great article, with video, including graphics of dog poop and what the structure of each deposit can mean. They also give suggestions how you can correct your dogs diet based on their fecal outcome, and also when you should seek the advice of a professional.

Finally, leaving food unattended can attract pests and insects to the dogs dish. In urban areas, this attraction can neighbors animals, and rodents. Dry food is less prone to bacterial growth through the day, but the addition of wet food, sauces, toppings, or moistening dry food can cause a build up of bacteria that can be toxic to dogs. Ensuring food is consumed in a timely manner, so nothing remains in the bowl; and regular cleaning of food and water bowls, can eliminate unwanted attraction.

Using an automatic pet feeder, such as the PetSafe Healthy Pet Automatic Feeder can help alleviate the burden of keeping your dog on a regular schedule, help control portions provided, and -with the proper programming- only dispense the amount your dog will eat to keep their bowl empty during the day.

Check out this post for what you should be looking for in an automated feeder.

 

Sources:
Pets4Homes – Sticking To A Routine to Help Reduce Stress In Your Dog

Petfinder – How Often To Feed Your Dog

PetMD – Why Free-Feeding Is The Wrong Choice For Most Dogs

AKC – Dog ConstipationAKC – Dog Constipation

Mercola – Assessing Dog Poop

Image: Beagle On A Sofa by alex_ugalek

Top Automated Pet Feeders

Take the stress out of routine pet feedings with these top automated pet feeders! Open the box, pop in some batteries, pour in your bulk dry food, set when your feeds should occur, and you’re good to go!

Check out my write-up here about what you should look for in a “store ‘n feed” dispenser, and start your search here:

1. PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

2. Petnet SmartFeeder

3. Crown Majestic Diamond Series V3

4. Home Intuition Portion Control 6-Meal Feeder

5. OxGord Automatic Electronic Timer Programmable Dog Feeder for Large to Small Dogs

6. Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Food Dispenser

7. Feed and Go Automatic Pet Feeder with Built In Webcam

8. PYRUS Automatic Electric Pet Dry Food Feeder with LCD Display

9. BABADIO Automatic Pet Feeder with Remote Controller

10. topPets Large Automatic Pet Feeder with Programmable Portion Control

11. GemPet SmartFeeder, Automatic Pet Feeder controlled With Your iPhone, Andriod

12. HoneyGuaridan A26 Automatic Electronic Pet Feeder with Voice Reminding and Programmable Timer

13. PetPal WiFi Automatic Pet Feeder

14. Animal Planet Programmable Electronic Pet Feeder

15. QPets 10 Lbs Automatic Programmable Pet Feeder

Be sure to leave your comments below with the pet feeder you use, and any helpful advice for fellow readers.

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