For the fur babies

I think all of us with animals can admit that sometimes we treat our furry companions a bit too much like actual children. Truth is, though, in this stage of my life – where I have no children – my 2 dogs ARE my children. They are mischief makers, and get reprimanded accordingly. They require attention and bonding time every day and are there to greet us happily at the door when we get home. Don’t human children do the same? Just sayin.

brooklyn at vet

Recently, my younger pup (she’ll be 5 this year) started limping and would start hopping to lift one foot off the ground and make this gut-wrenching howl whenever she suddenly put too much weight on this back paw. We didn’t realize what the problem was for a few days because some days she would just lay around looking sad. Other days she would romp and play with the older pup without a problem. But these days would alternate. So, I took her to the vet to find out the problem.

Turns out she has mild arthritis and her knee cap is popping in and out of place and causing her a great deal of pain when she puts weight on it when this happens. The vet recommended she be given Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Fish Oil pills every day to help with her joints, etc. Just like people. Maybe they really ARE just furry kids.

I ordered 2 huge bottles off Amazon (love that Prime membership!) and we starting adding those pills into the regimen. The older pup will eat ANYTHING you give her, including rocks. (She has thrown up a fairly sizable rock before..) She has no problem with the added pills. The little one has always been a bit fickle and picky about her food anyway.. will NOT eat these pills. I even dipped them in yogurt and froze them to encourage her to eat them. She licked the yogurt off and left the pills. That little rat.

So, this weekend – I won. I added peanut butter to the mix and made a batch of both pills so we don’t have to do this ordeal every morning.

A month's worth of dog vitamins.

What kinds of [seemingly] silly things do you do for your fur babies?

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Darling Little Things: DIY Dog Treats

With 2 fur babies of my own at home and a natural inclination to lean towards DIY things, I’ve found my newest [slight obsession] hobby! I’m sure it’s pretty common knowledge, but did you know how EASY it is to make your own dog treats??! And, bonus: way healthier! I tried a couple different options that I wanted to share.

Make at home dog treats

dog treat ingredients collageThese were my items of choice for my first batch of dog treats. You’ll need whole wheat flour and baby food. The original recipe I used called for TWO four oz. containers of baby food and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix together to form a stiff dough and then roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out with cookie cutters as desired. In keeping with the season, I chose to buy a few holiday themed cookie cutters and later, on the second batch used smaller cookie cutters.. because they came out a little too large for my 2 pups who are about 25 pounds and 40 pounds. Also, make note when choosing baby food selections to choose flavors that are dog friendly. (See arrows.) Anything with onions or onion powder is NOT dog friendly, so avoid any flavors with onion. Carrots and sweet potato are pretty big favorites in our house, so I went with those.

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

After you’ve rolled out your dough and cut out some shapes, add some wax paper to a cookie sheet and pop those babies into the oven at about 325. Bake 20-25 minutes.

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

Unfortunately, I did not store this first batch properly, or the carrot flavored ones just don’t have a very long shelf life.. still trying to determine which factor, or if both did me in with these. I let them cool [although maybe not enough] and placed them into mason jars and put the caps on. About 4 days later, every single one of those dog cookies had mold growing on them. Since making a second batch not using baby food, I think it may be the baby food that causes the dog cookie to be so moist that it cannot harden all the way. In this case, maybe adding a bit more flour to the dough would help, or letting them sit out overnight would aid in storage. I let them sit out all of last night and while my second batch is harder than the original, they’re still a little springy. I’ll leave a couple out for the next day or two and the rest will be kept in the freezer and taken out as needed, because they can be stored for up to two months in the freezer.

Third batch: Completely different. I perused different websites for new ideas. After reading a few, I noticed that there are a few ingredients that are interchangeable: flour (different kinds, usually wheat), rolled oats, egg, milk, water. For the third batch I used 1 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter (warmed in the microwave to help with mixing), 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and drizzled honey throughout. I did half to add some water to get the dough to hold together. I baked these for a minute or two longer (about 24 minutes) and these came out much harder to begin with, and as they sat out hardened even more and are rather crunchy for my dogs to munch on. That said, I don’t think they’ll grow mold like the baby food ones, but I might still freeze them to be safe.

2012-12-11 10.34.19

 

Making these DOES make a mess. 🙂 It’s completely worth it though to make 100 treats using $4 worth of cookie cutters, a $3 bag of wheat flour and $3 worth of baby food. The rest of the ingredients, I had on hand. I made extras to freeze and store for later, but these might be great little gifts for the dog lovers in your life. Besides being totally inexpensive, you can control what ingredients your pups are eating and be a bit healthier all around.

Check out my Pinterest board for some of the other homemade dog treat recipes that I found.

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