Category Archives: review

Delicious And Easy No-Bake Dog Treats

Occasionally, I will make the rounds and read blog posts keeping an eye out for new things I can make or do to bring good things to my dogs, and one post stood out to me on the Chewy.com blog, it was a recipe for No-Bake Trail Mix Bars.

The blog is well done and includes a whole section for “DIY & Recipes” that are super easy to build and make for people of any skill level.

I’m a huge fan of easy recipes. and hate making a huge mess in the kitchen for any reason. This recipe was easy, little mess, full of high-quality foods that my dogs (and I!) enjoyed eating.

The treats are made from a base of peanut butter and oatmeal with dried fruit and coconut mixed in. The recipe calls for ingredients with no added sugar, so the overall taste was different than what I was used to in commercial human trail mix, but I agree that less added sugar is a good thing.

All of the ingredients were readily available at my local Wegmans grocery store, and the directions were very easy to follow. The Chewy.com blog post has a video and pictures that make completing this treat very easy.

Ingredients in the No-Bake Trail Mix Bars. All Natural, Unsweetened dried fruit
Ingredients in the No-Bake Trail Mix Bars dog treats

The two tricks I found to making this recipe succeed were:

  1. Use your hands to mix the ingredients. Using a spoon or spatula wasn’t efficient.
  2. Half of a cup of peanut butter wasn’t enough to make things stick together well, feel free to increase it.
Video produced by Chewy.com demonstrating their No-Bake Trail Mix Bars dog treats
Trail Mix Bar ingredients in the bowl, ready for mixing.
Using the spatula keeps your hands clean, but increases the mixing time.

Once you have the chia seeds soaked, add all the ingredients together. This recipe reminded me of a Christmas baking recipe from my childhood, peanut butter fruit balls rolled in coconut.

As a tip, ditch the spatula and use your hand. You can wear a glove or put your hand in a ziptop or sandwich bag to mix if you don’t want sticky hands.

No Bake Trail Mix Dog Treats in a pan with parchment paper
Ingredients mixed and pressed into the parchment paper-lined pan

The recipe suggests a 6×10-inch pan, which isn’t one I have. I swapped it out for a 9×9 which is a bit larger. Consequently, the bars that it created were thinner (which could have contributed to the crumbling I experienced). Feel free to use the size of pan you have. The trail mix consistency is think, dry, and light, so you could even use an empty snack cracker box that has a large side removed, or a clean take-out food container. This link will bring you to Amazon to check the price on their Pyrex glass baking pan set.

Broken bars and crumbs
Broken bars and crumbs

Once I had removed them from the pan, they started to fall apart. Increasing the peanut butter is highly recommended. The recipe says to wrap each bar separately in plastic wrap. Instead of that, I put all the bars (and crumbles!) in to an air-tight container. These ‘dog treats’ are just as edible for humans, so the dogs and I snacked on them in the upcoming days.

Australian Shepherd enjoying No-Bake Trail Mix Bars

Mickey was having a diva moment and didn’t want to stand up for his treat, so he devoured it lying down. I probably should have made him shake a paw or speak before he got it, but I was more concerned about his reaction to the taste than his training!

In conclusion, this was a very easy, quick, no-fuss, DIY treat that is nutritionally good for both the dogs and I.

If you are looking to make these at home, check out this link to Amazon for a Pyrex Glass Baking set.

Dogs! A Science Tail exhibit

Dogs! A Science Tail

An interesting podcast that I listen to is “Can I Pet Your Dog” hosted by Renee Colvert and Alexis Preston. This week they had a fascinating interview with Dr. Chuck Kopczak who lead the team creating “Dogs! A Science Tail” that was developed by the California Science Center.

A quick note about the podcast for those not familiar with it, Renee and Alexis host this weekly hour-long rollicking adventure about topics of interest to dog owners. Lighthearted dialog between the two hosts, along with serious interviews with experts make this a podcast worth adding to your playlist.

While “museum exhibits” might not be common water cooler talk, this interview about the contents and development of this science exhibit about this history of dogs and the role they play in society was a definite win on this weeks episode.

Dr. Chuck Kopczak was a great guest who talked not only about the history and background in developing the exhibit, but also walked listeners through an auditory tour of each section of the exhibit and told us why each one is important to feature.

He explained that from concept to opening, that it takes two years to plan and roll-out an exhibit of this size. (Dogs! is approximately 7,000 – 9,000 square feet). He said the planners worked closely with the directors of the Superpower Dogs movie to release both at the same time.

The most interesting fact that Dr. Kopczak shared was that oxytocin is released in humans as we gaze into the eyes of dogs, similar to how it is released when we gaze into the eyes of children or other humans. When dogs smell this hormone, it increases their gaze back at us! (I found this article in Science Magazine for further reading)

This exhibition reveals where dogs came from, how dogs experience the world, what makes our bond with dogs so special, and how to care for our canine best friends. There is also a demonstration area where dogs can show off their talents from police dogs finding scents and agility exercises, to service dogs helping individuals in daily life.

Highlights include an interactive Jeopardy! game show for attendees to challenge each other with, a dog grooming station, and activities where you can see how a dog sees, and hear how they hear.

Also playing concurrently with the exhibit is Superpower Dogs in IMAX.

Join an immersive IMAX adventure to experience the life- saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs. In this inspiring true story narrated by Chris Evans, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners. Follow ‘Halo’, a rookie puppy training to join one of the most elite disaster response teams in America. Meet ‘Henry’, an avalanche rescue expert in the mountains of British Columbia , ‘Reef’, a Newfoundland lifeguard with the Italian coastguard, ‘Ricochet’, a Californian surf legend helping people with special needs, and the Bloodhound brothers, ‘Tipper and Tony’, who are lea ding the fight to save endangered species in Africa. As we discover the incredible abilities of dogs and the astonishing science behind their superpowers, we’ll never look at our best friends the same way again!

The Dogs! A Science Tail exhibit is set to start traveling to museums and science centers around the world after it’s initial run in California, so look out for a stop new you!

Resources mentioned in this post:

Masking ‘Dog Smell’ For A Fresh Home

No matter which breed of dog you have, inevitably they will eventually smell like ‘dog’. While some dogs are smellier than others, a mild dog smell is normal. This article from PetMD goes into detail why dogs have that unique smell.

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The Pet House Candles from One Fur All are larger than a tea light and have a burn time of 10 – 12 hours! The Fresh Citrus scent is a light peach and pear aroma that gently covers odors in a room without becoming overpowering.

Their 10-pack features their best-selling, innovative scents include:

  • Lavender Green Tea
  • Fresh Citrus
  • Sunwashed Cotton
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Lilac Garden
  • Moonlight
  • Mango Peach
  • Evergreen Forest
  • Vanilla Sandalwood
  • Bamboo Watermint

 

If you like the scents of the mini candles, they are offered in a larger 60-hour burn time size. The link goes to their Jasmine Lilly scent on Amazon.

These soy wax candles are infused with refreshing essential oils and surround a 100% cotton wick. The candles are dye and paraffin free, and are non-toxic. The perfect odor-neutralizing solution to air freshening in pet-friendly homes.

As a highly-rated seller on Amazon, One Fur All offers a 100% satisfaction money back guarantee. Its hard to believe that anyone could be dissatisfied by these products, and their review history speaks to that fact.

There are sprays, sachets, plug-in, and table-top options for freshening the air in homes with pets, but these candles add a warm ambiance to any room.

Keeping your house safe with pets around is the paramount concern of any pet household. These candles help to ensure that the environment stays safe and happy for every member, human and canine.

Sugar Cookie Decorating Tutorial

Browsing through the internet this week, I came across Anne from Flour Box Bakery and her tutorial videos. These cookies look amazing! She has tutorial and links to supplies to make cookies for every occasion. One video that stood out to me was her dog cookies. While they aren’t formulated for dog eating (they are meant for people to eat), the design and attention to detail was incredible enough I had to share. Please enjoy!

Check out the Flour Box Bakery!

 

If baking, or cookie decorating is your passion, check out this Corgi cookie cutter set from Amazon. Happy Baking!

CycleDog Plush Toys And Other Dog Essentials Made In America

Cycle Dog Earth Friendly Pet Company

Cycle Dog got their start in Portland making rubber-lined dog collars. Both eco-friendly and practical, they became popular quickly. The company has expanded to include manufacturing a variety of plush toys too. They haven’t lost their focus on the environment as the inside of their Duraplush SpringyBot plush toys have a filling made from recycled plastic bottles. Other products include their Eco Last post-consumer recycled rubber toys that are balls, treat dispensers, and fun critter shapes.

Cycle Dog Duraplush toys

 

 

2 Hounds Design

2 Hounds Design began as a one-woman business and has since expanded to help revitalize a lost textile industry, but also help improve the life of animals.

They continually add new designs to their lineup, and the most recent addition is the Paradise Cream which has soft a blue and green peacock pattern. Some of their collars and leashes come in matching designs so you can keep your pets ensemble coordinated!

2 Hounds Design Paradise Cream Martingale collar

 

Dogs Love Hummus Dogs Love Kale treats

Dogs Love Hummus Chews, from Dogs Love Kale, are dog treats primarily made of chickpeas, which are highly palatable and rich in protein. There are no animal-based protein sources in the chews, making them suitable for dogs with common food intolerances.

This chews have ingredients like turmeric and peppermint oil, to make a healthy, limited-ingredient chew that’s safe for dogs with allergies. Turmeric is an antiinflammatory herb.

Dogs Love Hummus Chews are fully digestible, are not hard enough to break teeth and emit unpleasant odors. The chewing action can help fight tartar buildup and added peppermint oil relieves bad breath.

They make a wide variety of products including these soft treats with turmeric Beef and Apple flavor.

 

 

Started in 1984, Up Country Inc started making upscale dog collars. Since then they have continued to add stylish designs and products which are made in their Rhode Island factory.

Their innovative Doggie Doorbells are a simple and stylish way to let your dog inform you of their need to go outside. Their door bells come in 11 colors and can be customized to match your house or your dog! Keep checking their store for the holiday version that will be coming out soon!

Up Country Inc Doggie Doorbell

 

 

Polka Dog Bakery Boston MA

Something new that I hadn’t seen before are clam dog treats. It is an interesting twist with an even funnier name – Clam Chowda. Made from slowly dehydrated clam protein in Boston, MA. They make lots of unique dog treat flavors including chicken jerky, and cod and haddock skin treats,

Polka Dog Bakery Clam Chowda Dog Treats Polkadog is obsessed with quality and sustainability. They are always looking for innovative ways to create new treats that are good for your pet and good for the planet. That means sourcing raw materials conscientiously from good people doing good work in our own backyard. Clams are one of the most sustainable protein sources in the ocean. They’re high in Omega fatty acids, low in calories, and filter the water they live in to feed. Low impact and delicious.

 

As you know, buying locally and domestically is a great way to help build and sustain our economy. It also draws on the innovative nature of our fellow countrymen. So many of these products were created out of a sense of entrepreneurship and innovation. Owners have asked themselves, how do I take what I have and turn it into a business. They ask, how do they take their skills and apply it to something they love.

All of these companies, Cycle Dog, 2 Hound Design, Dogs Love Kale, and Polkadog Bakery were all built buy people looking to do what they love.

DogDiscuit Is A Flying Rainbow Of Fun

With the sun setting earlier each day here in the Northeast, the amount of time that we can play outside is getting equally short. One of the favorite things we do each evening is play fetch with a flying disc. The Australian Shepherd is a natural at it and loves the challenge of catching it mid-flight and bringing it back. Apparently he needs a “job” to do as working breed, and returning flying discs to me satisfies that need.

I had been on the lookout for something to supplement his bright orange disc that we usually play with.

What I like about the orange disc:

1. Inexpensive – cost under $5
2. Lightweight – flies very far and has lots of “hang time” so its fairly easy to catch
3. Bright, Solid Color – Easy to see against a backdrop of sky and grass

Sadly, when it gets dark, he can’t see it, so in order to extend playtime, I looked to Amazon for a solution.

Enter the DogDiscuit by Nite Ize Innovation. This disc has a large diameter, is made of flexible plastic, and as LED lighting built in.


It is made of translucent durable, flexible plastic, so it is easy on your dogs mouth, and cushions the impact if they miss catching it. The lights cycle through several colors when they are turned on and are highly visible as the disc is flying. Because of the materials it is made from, the light radiates out to the edges so the entire disc changes color as the lights cycle.

The DogDiscuit is much heavier at 4.6oz than my previous orange disc which weighs 2.7oz. The DogDiscuit flies much faster and has less “hang time” so it requires the dog to be on full alert to follow it.

Also, because the disc is translucent, it is harder for them to see as it is flying.

Another phenomenon I was thinking about is regarding the LED themselves. When people have lights on their house around Christmas, for me it is hard to gauge the distance of how far away they are. There is something about LED lights for me that throws off my vision. I’m not sure if this is the same for dogs.

The “success” rate in times he has been able to catch the disc in flight is much lower with the DogDiscuit than with the orange disc.

The batteries are very easy to replace. Simply remove the domed cover, pull the electronic unit out, slide the two- CR2016 batteries out of the sheath, slide new ones in, replace the electronics, press the dome back into place, and you are ready for hours of fun.

DogDiscuit LED change

Overall, buying this was a great decision. It allows us to extend playtime and the quality of this product is high. It has a durable feel but soft enough it is easy on his teeth and gums.

DogDiscuit LED Flying Disc
Pros Cons
Durable Material Flies Fast
Bright LED With Fun Colors Weighs More Than Alternative Discs
Soft Plastic Easy On Dogs Mouth More Expensive

Dogs of many breeds like the challenge and mental reward of catching and returning a Frisbee (flying disc). Breeds which will enjoy this kind of toy are:

  • English Whippet (Snap Dog)
  • Border Collie
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Goldn Retriever
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Weimaraner
  • American Pit Bull Terrier

The common traits that these dogs have are hunting, retrieving, and herding dogs. Their internal motivation to keep ‘things’ together, and their high energy are the perfect attributes for type of play that flying discs provide.

Chewy.com Goody Box product insert

Chewy’s Goody Box Delivers the Best of Made In the USA Toys and Treats To Your Door

I have been doing a lot of research recently on Made In The USA toys and treats (read some of my other posts here, here, and here) and was pleasantly surprised to see that Chewy has created a box specifically for this! I bought this box at full retail price and am sharing my experience with you.

First, the cost of the box was around $21 and even included free shipping! It was fast, too. The box shipped from Chewy in Paulsboro, NJ and was delivered by Lasership. It is hard to say how long it actually would take because I ordered it prior to Labor Day, so it sat with the delivery company for an extra day, but I received it in three “shipping days”.

Second, I was surprised to see how much was included. We are subscribers to BarkBox and pay for an extra toy, so there are two bags of treats, and three toys; but with the Chewy Goody Box, it includes FIVE bags of treats, and one toy.

The full list of products received in this Goody Box were:

  1. 10oz Blue Wilderness Trail Treats Grain Free Biscuits Salmon Recipe
  2. 6oz Zukes Mini Naturals Peanut Butter & Oats Recipe Treats
  3. 4oz Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky Treats
  4. 3.5oz True Chews Premium Grillers With Real Steak Treats
  5. 5oz Wellnes Soft WellBites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon Recipe Soft & Chewy Treats
  6. Benebone Peanut Butter Flavored Wishbone Dog Chew Toy

 

I can say from personal experience that Zukes Mini Naturals and Benebone are two favorites in this household. As soon as I had opened the carton, both dogs could smell the Benebone and followed me around while I was organizing everything.

The box you see pictures ships in a generic Chewy box, so there aren’t any labels to indicate what the contents are, so these would make a nice surprise gift.

Chatting with Customer Service, they informed me that the boxes don’t have a set schedule to change, so if you order one per month, you may get identical consecutive boxes. Additionally, you cannot set them up for the AutoShip program that Chewy has (similar to a subscription where you get regular deliveries and they include a small discount). If you would like to order a box once a month, you would have to proactively log into the site and place a separate order each time.

Overall, this box is a great value. If you value toys, then this might not be a great option because it comes with a minimum of one, and doesn’t include the option to add more, but if you like the convenience of not regularly ordering treats, then you will certainly love this because it has a great variety of old and new favorites. With 5 bags of treats, this Goody Box has more than I have seen in other similar boxes.

The Chewy Goody Box is great for a number of reasons. First, all of the contents are made by USA manufacturers, so I will definitely buying this again. Second, the price was great. There is a wide variety of products including several brands that I haven’t purchased before and am excited to try. Third, the shipping we really fast. I’m not sure why it ships separately from their mainline products, or why you can’t request an AutoShip “subscription” for it, but it was great to see how fast it arrived at my doorstep.

I keep thinking about this as a subscription box. I wrote an article about a few of the most popular subscription boxes for dogs, and can see how this can be a good substitute for a box you may already be receiving, aside from the need to request one each month.

Chewy has always been very high on my list of retailers to buy from because of their great customer service. They have agents available 24/7, and Michele P that I spoke to today acknowledged the conversation quickly and was knowledgeable on the questions I asked. Their product lineup continues to improve (in the early days it was somewhat limited), and their shipping speed has always been incredible. The locations of the warehouses that Chewy ships from is always closer and closer as they open more sites.

Overall, I would recommend giving this box a try. There is great value for your money, and I truly applaud Chewy for curating a box with American products.