Finding your Dharma

Namaste.

We’ve spent almost 4 years building this business. A business where our customers’ experience is our number one priority. Not just a place to feel confident about trusting us with their precious pet, but a place they are excited for their pet to visit and can’t wait to tell their friends about! This is our hope, and our perfect rating of numerous five star reviews on Facebook and Google let us know we’re on the right track. We appreciate those glowing reviews more than anything in today’s social media reliant society. So for those of you who have taken the time to do that for us, we just want to take the time right now to say a heartfelt thank you.

The past year has been a challenge to keep things fresh and we find ourselves in a place we have now outgrown. We’ve tried to shake things up but the wheels have been spinning so to speak. The reviews have kept us going. We feel quite strongly these reviews have kept our business alive. But a business cannot run on past reviews alone! We must press on. We cannot improve if we give up. We cannot succeed if we are found caught in the mundane and beat down by the ins and outs of daily operations. We must redefine the goal so we may navigate our way through the ebbs and flows that businesses must inevitably endure. We must find our Dharma once again.

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What does that mean, to find your Dharma? Well, I wasn’t sure either. So I looked it up. Did you know that there’s no single word definition or translation in western languages for the word dharma? I didn’t! Yet we have it defined in Sanskrit as “a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religions-Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism”.

In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviours that are in accordance with the order that makes life and the universe possible. Wow. Things like laws, virtues, and conduct. So, basically morality.

In Buddhism, dharma means “cosmic law and order”. Plus it applies to Buddha’s teachings. Pretty insightful stuff. It also refers to “phenomena” which is the plural word for phenomenon, from the Greek word phaimonmenon, meaning to show, shine, appear, or experience, as in, something that happens in reality yet cannot be directly observed.

In Jainism, an ancient Indian religion that is essentially based on three things: non-violence, non-absolutism and non-possessiveness, dharma is referred to as the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, it means path of righteousness. Can you see where this is going?

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Back to western languages for a minute. For this word to be so deep, that no scholar has been able to assign a definitive English translation for dharma, to me, means that we have a pretty amazing opportunity for discussion here. Ultimately, dharma encompasses ideas of righteousness, nature, law, morality, support, virtue and custom. Depending on the context of course.

For us, dharma is truth. We take it in the context of the dog world. The pet animal industry,  along with the media and social media, has confused so many well intentioned dog owners. So confused that humans waste thousands of dollars on specialized food, clothing, training methods, training supplies along with time and energy spent trying so desperately to connect with our dog companions. Why are humans so lost when it comes to being a good dog owner? Overload! The age of information is overwhelming. Conflicting opinions and advice. Constant advertising for newer, safer, better products. Some of it might be a cash grab but some of this stuff they sell or write about is well intentioned and distributed by blind people that truly want to help just don’t know how.

So how do you know what will truly help you and what will leave you frustrated? How can you find your Dharma in an age where lies, whether well intentioned or not, run rampant? Failed attempt after failed attempt you persevere to understand your dog and what he or she truly needs to feel taken care of and therefore able to offer you the relationship you’re looking for in your steady companion?

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Our commitment is to offer sound answers and when we can’t find the answers, we won’t make them up and we’ll do our best to find the truth for you. We give you our hands on approach on how to deal with dogs which is to teach humans how to speak their language. Not the other way around. Yes we have some cute accessories to jazz up your pooch (which we all know is a human thing) but when it comes to our dog walking, grooming and training, we’re committed to handling each dog with the kind of love and support that gives them comfort and security. We are committed to teaching humans how to interact appropriately with their pet and in turn healing the stress and anxieties inside us and inside our pets which cause the negative behaviours. Behaviours that are a direct result from our well intentioned yet blind reinforcing of these unwanted symptoms and behaviours causing us unnecessary pain and frustration in our lives and in our homes.

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We are committed to making a direct positive impact on you, your dog, your family, your home and your life!

Peace and blessings.
Namaste (which means “I bow to the divine in you”)

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Mental Stimulation: Getting the best out of your dog

Did you know, boredom and excess energy are two common reasons for behaviour problems in dogs. This makes sense because they’ve been naturally bred to lead very active lives. Wild dogs spend about 80% of their waking hours hunting and scavenging for food. Domestic dogs have been helping and working alongside us for thousands of years, for tasks such as hunting, farming or protection. For example, retrievers and pointers were bred to locate and fetch game and water birds. Scent hounds, like coonhounds and beagles, were bred to find rabbits, foxes and other small prey. Dogs like German shepherds, collies, cattle dogs and sheepdogs were bred to herd livestock.

Whether dogs were working for us or scavenging on their own, their survival once depended on lots of exercise and problem solving. But what about now?Dog Resting on Floor

Today that’s changed. While we’re away at work all day, they generally have not much else to do but sleep. The result is dogs who are bored, often overweight and have too much energy. It’s a perfect recipe for behaviour problems.

How do we fix this problem?

It’s not necessary to quit your job, take up duck hunting or get yourself a bunch of sheep to keep your dog out of trouble. However, we encourage you to find ways to exercise not only their body, but their brain. And because we all lead busy lives, and can’t always hire a Dog Walker or Daycare Service, if you give your dog “jobs” to do when they’re by herself, they’ll be less likely to come up with her own ways to occupy her time, like chewing your couch, raiding the trash or eating your favourite pair of shoes.

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We, at Dharma Dog Services, have been putting this idea to practise with our Social Club crew, with a new program called “Today We’re Working On…”. We know that all of our Social Club dogs already get an abundance of physical exercise they need, and socialisation, at our Daycare, but what about mental exercise? This where we have stepped in. The results? Some very happy, tired, well behaved dogs! And of course, happy owners!

Below you will see some of the exercises that we have been doing with our dogs. Some behavioural exercises, some fun games and tricks – both just as satisfying for you and your dog.

If you want any tips on games you can play with your dog, or leave for your dog to do whilst you are at work, let us know! Or if you have any of your own, I’d love to hear them. We’re always looking for creative ideas, and requests, that we can put into practise with our crew. Learn more about our Social Club here – or like us on Facebook for more videos & updates.

Today We’re Working On… Patience!

Click here to view Video (1)
Click here to view Video (2)

…Listening!

Click here to view Video (1)

…Show Us Your Tricks!

Click here to view Video (1)
Click here to view Video (2)

Flea Prevention for Dogs

Flea Prevention!
As the weather starts warming up, and if you haven’t already, you might want to start thinking about flea & tick prevention for your dog. Fleas need warm temperatures to survive, and although they are common all year round, they will thrive in the warmer months.

Although few dog owners are fortunate enough to avoid a run-in with fleas, controlling them has become much simpler, safer, and more effective in the last few years. New products that break the flea’s reproductive cycle make it possible to keep the little critters away without exposing your dog to toxic chemicals. There are also plenty of at-home prevention methods available, which I will discuss below.

Symptoms
If your dog is continuously itching and scratching, this will most likely be your first clue that he/or she has fleas. If you do notice this, the first thing you should do is take a closer look. Although you may actually see the little dark brown bugs, your more likely to see what look like little black and white specks. The black specks are flea feces (or better known as “flea dirt”) and the white specks are their eggs.

If you think you’ve spotted some but aren’t quite sure, run a flea comb over your dog’s back, groin area, haunches, and tail. These are the places fleas like to hide out in most.

Animal fur textureIt’s important to stay on top of your dogs flea symptoms and behaviour. As while most dogs experience nothing more than itching, there is the possibility that others can develop flea allergy dermatitis. Heavy infestations can be serious enough to cause anemia, and some fleas carry diseases, such as typhus and tapeworm infections, that can be transmitted to your dog.

Flea basics
To completely get rid of fleas, you have to disrupt their life cycle. Fleas thrive in moist, humid environments — that’s why they’re a much bigger problem in the summer than in winter.

An adult flea can actually live for four months on the body of a dog, but it’ll die in a couple of days without a host. The biggest problem you’ll find is their eggs. A female flea can produce as many as 2,000 eggs during her short lifespan. The eggs fall off and hatch all over the house — mainly found in the carpet, on the couch and under the covers. Eventually those newly hatched fleas will need to find a host of their own, and the whole cycle starts all over again. So it’s not enough to kill the adult fleas; you have to get rid of all the eggs too.

Flea medication
New products are less toxic than older remedies and have made it easier to protect your dog from fleas. Some of these options can be pricey, but the upside is that they work. Some of our favourites are;

  • Revolution; Just one application a month provides protection against heartworms, fleas and other parasites. Can be used to treat puppies as young as 6 weeks, and is available in sizes to treat dogs up to 130 lbs with one simple monthly dose.
  • Advantage; Applied topically once every 4 weeks. Should only be used as a short term solution. Advantage; Applied topically once every 4 weeks. Should only be used as a short term solution.
  • Ovicollar; contains Precor, a non-toxic product that kills flea eggs. When the collar is worn continuously a single Ovicollar will work for up to 12 months on cats, 10 months on dogs.

How to prevent fleas – At home
Although we do recommend beginning a medicated flea treatment for your dog, there are a few other things you can do at home to prevent the infestation of fleas.

Dog in a bath

Regular grooming & bathing of your dog is a good first step, which can also allow you to check your dogs skin and fur for any signs of fleas or irritation. This is best done with a natural shampoo formulated for dogs. An Oatmeal Shampoo is perfect for dogs with dry, itchy skin and allergies.

Ensure that you are washing your dog’s bedding in hot, soapy water once a week. If your dog spends time on a blanket on the sofa, or any type of bedding, wash that too.

And finally, be on the lookout when you vacuum your home. Get into the corners too, and pay special attention to the areas around where your dog spends the most of his/or her time. Be sure to empty the canister and dispose of its contents after each clean.

Kennels, Sitting, Boarding? – Oh my!

If you’re planning on heading away from Vancouver, and haven’t used a pet boarding facility before, we understand that the process might be a little over-whelming and even worrying for some dog owners. While some facilities still favor the long rows of kennels — where your pet may also have access to a small outdoor run — there are many other options. Here at Dharma Dog, although not bias, we are on team In-Home Boarding!

Below, I will discuss the different options of Pet Boarding, and what may or may not be suitable for your furry family member.

Dog Kennels/Catteries

Happy Dog in a Kennel

If your pet is crate trained, then staying in a crate or kennel will probably make your dog feel ­more secure while away from home. But for pets that aren’t crate trained, staying in a crate or kennel can be more stressful then anything, and may entice your dog to feel like they are trapped. Some boarding facilities keep the pets all together in large rooms, where the animals can interact with each other and socialize, similar to a daycare facility. It is important to ensure that your dogs temperament is suitable for this environment. If your dog is already attending a daycare or Social Club environment during the day, ensure to ask the Office Assistant how they react when left alone, and how they react at the end of their day – Remembering that your dog will not be picked up at the end of each day and may be kept in that environment for a few days, to a few weeks depending on your vacation.

Pet Sitting

There are multiple ways you can use a Pet Sitter in Vancouver. Deciding whether you want a sitter to feed, walk and be available for playtime only is a solid option. Another popular option is to have the Pet Sitter stay in your house, mixing House-Sitting & Pet-Sitting in one. It is easy to think that your dog will be comfortable in his/or her own environment at home, which is extremely true for some dogs, but you also have to consider your dogs need to protect. Having a stranger visit, or live, in your dogs environment can cause your dog to become very territorial, and may make the Pet Sitters stay difficult, and possibly even dangerous. Before you leave on Vacation ensure that you introduce your Pet Sitter to your dogs, maybe even on multiple occasions. Another good option is to schedule a few Dog Walking sessions with your Pet Sitter and dog. This Dog Happy in his bedwill allow your dog to get to know the person looking after him or/her whilst you’re away, and be comfortable around their presence.

In-Home Pet Boarding

While enlisting a pet sitter is a good option, so is in-home pet boarding. In-home boarding involves your dog staying at a pet sitter’s own home while you’re on vacation and can be a great option for dogs who require a lot of attention and love from their Pet Sitters. Unlike Kennels, and hiring a Pet Sitter for visits only, most in-home pet boarding services act like a fun & playful getaway for your dog. Many boarding services will also allow many different placement options for your dog. For example, if you live in an apartment with a low-energy dog, then it’s likely that your pooch will be set up in a similar environment. If your dog is used to having a large backyard with lots of exercise & a furry friend, same goes. Although, in-home pet boarding is our favourite option here at Dharma Dog, we can’t be biased. The main worry with in-home pet boarding can be separation anxiety.
Although anxiety may occur no matter which option you choose, you need to take the right precautionary steps before choosing this option. Just like Pet Sitting, maybe consider introducing your dog to your in-home boarding sitters before you leave. It might also be a good idea to leave your dog with a friend, and let them report back to see how they reacted for the night.

Once you’ve donDog on a vacation, sitting by the poole your homework on potential options, often the best way to select a facility is by asking questions. Find out about the facilities processes, find referrals, reviews and recommendations. And at the end of the day, if you trust your instincts, I’m sure you and your furry friend will have a wonderful & relaxing vacation.

Choosing the Right Dog Food

Your dog is one of the family, and when it comes to their nutrition, it can get confusing. There are so many different websites and different opinions in favor, and against, raw diets. We hear that a raw diet can relieve your dog of many allergy agents found in kibble, whereas on the other hand, we here that a raw diet has harmful side effects, such a salmonella poisoning and bacterial infections.

dog foodWhen your dog adds so much to your own life, you want to keep him/or her healthy & happy – so where do you start?

Well, it’s important to remember that dogs are individuals, just like people. This means that there is no one food that is best for every dog. It is common to find that if we were to feed a group of dogs a brand of very well formulated food, most of them may do great on it, some not as well, and it may actually cause gastrointestinal upset in a few dogs. Again, there is no single food or product that will guarantee your dog has the very best health.
But not to worry, there are many well formulated dog foods to choose from today, and it is fine to try several to determine which one works best for your dog. Below are some tips to consider when buying dog food.

1. Consider your dog’s stage of life
Make sure that the food your choice is suited to your dog’s stage of life. A puppy eating an adult food will not get the higher amounts of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals he/or she requires for proper growth. An adult dog eating puppy food is likely to become overweight. An older dog may need a senior food that is more easily digested. When it comes to nutrition, one size does not fit all.

Puppies eating nutritious food

2. Nutritional needs, and reading ingredients
People often wonder if they should feed dry food, semi-moist or canned. Although dry food is widely recommended, this is dependable on the individual dog, and you will need to consider prioritizing nutritional needs. We also have to remember that just like human food, the best-tasting food is often not the most nutritious. Usually foods with “tasty bits” are sold to satisfy the human’s emotional needs more than the dogs nutritional needs and are often the cause of obesity (a common killer of dogs).

Look at the ingredients.

High-quality ingredients are essential for a healthy food. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established guidelines for regulators to govern claims a pet food company can make on its label. If the food is said to contain a single ingredient, it must contain at least 95% of that ingredient, not including water. If a combination of ingredients is advertised, that combination has to make up at least 95% of the food. For instance, if the food claims to be made solely of beef, beef makes up 95% of the food.
Reading and trying to understand the ingredients in your dog’s food will serve as a very important stage to finding the right dog food for your pet. Reason being, is you will find that some brands of dog food are made from inexpensive ingredients that are not easily digested, and will not provide the best nutrition. While they may technically meet the legal specifications for percentages of protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc., these foods have lower energy values and lower-grade proteins. Because of this, many health-building nutrients may pass right through your dog’s system without being absorbed.

3. Take your time in switching foods
If you find that your dog is not reacting well with a certain brand or type of dog food, it is important to switch a dog to a new food over the course of 7-10 days. Make sure you allow ample time for your dog to make the transition from his current food to the new one. Normal bacteria in the intestine help your dog digest food. A sudden change in food can lead to changes in the number and type of these bacteria, making it harder for food to be digested, and resulting in intestinal upset. You can help prevent this by mixing 25% new and 75% old food, and feed that for at least 3 days. If all goes well, go to 50% of each type of food for 3 days, then 75% new and 25% old for 3 days. By now, your pet should be ready to eat only the new food. If problems occur, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Once you have found a food that is nutritionally sound and works well for your dog, take a look at your dog after he/or she has been on the new food for at least one month. Bright eyes, a shiny coat, good body condition (not too thin or overweight), and good energy will let you know you are doing a good job with your pet’s nutrition.

Merry Christmas with DIY Tree Ornaments

It’s the festive season, which means beautiful décor, lights, hot coco, and quality time getting the whole family together! But have you ever wished that you could involve your pet into the Christmas decorating? And we’re not talking about the way they play with the tree. Thanks to Modern Dog Magazine for sharing, these adorable paw print ornaments from Cornflower Blue Studio are a super easy DIY Christmas project for you and your pup!

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Instructions:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1 cup baking soda in a saucepan. Slowly add 3/4 cup of water, while stirring.
  2. Place on a medium burner and stir constantly. Mixture will begin to thicken – make sure that you stirring to the bottom of the pot, picking up the thickened mixture that is down by the burner.
  3. Once it has come together as a doughy ball, remove it from the heat and let it sit until you can comfortably handle it. When it has cooled, knead it for a minute or so, until it is soft and pliable.
  4. Section into pieces, roll into balls, and press flat.
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  5. Next, you will have to go to your dog and press his paw into the dough firmly and as evenly as possible. Use a toothpick to make a small hole for your string to go through at the top of the ornament.

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  6. Finally, bake at 250 degree oven for 30 minutes on a tray lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  7. And, wa-la! Thread with festive string and hang on your tree!

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Fun and super easy for the whole family.

Merry Christmas Dharma Dogs, and have a YAPPY New Year!

Dog Walking Throughout The Cold Seasons

It’s wet, the sidewalk is completely covered in fall leaves, and the temperature is frigid… It’s a great day to take a walk — if you’re a Siberian husky.

If, however, you’re a Chihuahua, a Yorkie or a human, you’d probably rather take a long nap and hibernate through the cold seasons. But neither rain nor snow should keep your dog from his/or her appointed rounds. Just like mail carriers, they have to go out no matter the weather. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation just like humans do. Yet, a recent survey of 1,000 dog owners found that one in five did not walk their dogs on a daily basis.

So how do you make the winter dog-walking experience as pleasant as possible for both you and your canine companion? We’ve listed a few tips below to keep you and your dog healthy throughout the cold season.

snoop and mercy1. Before anything else, make sure that you’re appropriately dressed. Layer up, layers are the trick of the trade, make sure that your face is covered, wear hats and gloves. Others recommend thermals, and earmuffs. And for icy conditions, consider slip-on shoe attachments that provide traction on ice, such as Yaktrax or Get-a-Grip spikes.

2. And what about the dogs —  Smaller dogs, like Chihuahua’s, Yorkie’s and the more delicate breeds should always have coats on. Big factors are the dog’s breed and length of hair. If you have a husky, they would stay out longer than we would, dogs with thick fur coats can keep your pet warm enough that they don’t need anything. If you do have a larger dog that requires a coat, like a Great Dane, and are on a slight budget, a small trick is taking an extra large adult hoodie and simply cutting the arms out.

3. Are you planning on taking your dog out of Vancouver, into the mountains, for the Winter? Wondering about how to care for your dog in the snow? There are certain dogs that are bred for cold weather, and they generally won’t need anything, but for dogs that were not designed to be in the cold, smaller dogs or even some of the sleeker bigger dogs, investing in some boots to keep their feet warm & prevented from chafing is a good idea. Another concern when you walk your dog is that people put that salt down and that can really eat away at their paws. Salt can be a big problem as it can damage a dog’s paws, leading to infection. And the problems are compounded if the dog licks its paws. However, not all dogs will enjoy wearing boots on their feet. In this case, the most important thing is to clean off the paws with a towel when you get home, ensuring that all of the salt is off their paws.

4. And last, but most definitely not least, Know the limits. Just like us, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Recognize problems. If your dog is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia, and be prepared as cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, including wet roads and power outages.

Happy HOWLoween Tricks and Treats Part 2

Halloween Yorkshire Terriers

HOWLween is fast approaching, and with your dogs enjoying the delicious treats from our previous blog post, it’s the best time to tell you about some tricks you can teach your furry friend.

Don’t forget that you can also use the dog treats for leash training and to reward any good behaviours you may be working on at home currently.

TRICKS

1. Army Crawl

This trick will come in handy for your pup to creep up on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, have him master this playful trick:

  1. First, make sure to have a treat in your hand, and that your dog acknowledges this, but don’t let him/or her have it until the end. Command your dog to lie down.
  2. Whilst holding the treat in front of your dog, slowly drag it away from him/or her and say “crawl” as you move away.
  3. When your dog follows and crawls, even just for a few inches, ensure to praise your dog for his/or her efforts! However, if your dog jumps up or walks to you instead, don’t reward them and start over.
  4. Continue with the above steps, working on increasing the distance little by little until your dog can crawl over to you without a problem.

2. Kiss

What is cuter than a puppy kiss, so teach your dog how to do this, the polite way, to attract more trick-or-treaters to your house:

  1. Grab a treat and whilst holding it in front of your dogs face, say “Kiss!” and lean your cheek to his/or her nose.
  2. As soon as your dog touches your cheek with their her nose, give him/or her a treat and pull away. Ensure to be quick, so that your dog doesn’t have the chance to lick you before getting the reward.
  3. Make sure to practice this with your dog first before allowing any children to perform the trick.

3. Peek-a-Boo

Teach your pup to hide and pop out at the opportune moment, this trick will be a guaranteed surprise!

  1. Firstly, calmly sit your dog down in front of you.
  2. Stick a piece of tape on the end of his nose. Make sure beforehand that the tape can be easily removed.
  3. When your dog lifts his/or her paw to remove or touch the tape, say “peek-a-boo!” and reward them with a treat.
  4. Repeat these steps until your dog is able to make a connection of the words “peek-a-boo!”, to pawing his nose, to then receiving a treat.

4. High-Five

This is a cool trick for the kids! You’ll definitely get extra candy if your dog is able to high-five the whole neighborhood!

  1. Calmly sit your dog down in front of you and hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose.
  2. Say “high-five!” as you tap his/or her foot.
  3. Your dog should lift his foot to paw at the treat, but you want to quickly move the treat away and instead tap his paw with your palm. Now praise them and offer the treat.
  4. Repeat this until your dog will be able to automatically high-five you on his own, without the treat present.

5. Sing

Now this trick may not be for every breed, and will take some experimenting, but it will be a blast to see your dog take the term “HOWLoween” to the next level.

  1. The first thing you need to experiment on is figuring out what makes your dog howl or sing. This can be an can be an instrument, a siren, or maybe even your own singing voice. In this case, most dogs will howl in response to a high pitched noise.
  2. Play the sound that makes your dog sing, but before you do so, make sure to command him/or her to “sing” when it happens.
  3. When your dog responds with his own song, reward him with a treat.
  4. Keep practising until your dog gets the hang of it and responds to your command rather than waiting for the sound.

Now when you go trick-or-treating with your furry pal, you’ll be able to show him/or her off for more delicious treats in your candy bag!

Happy HOWLoween Tricks and Treats Part 1

Happy HOWLoween tricks and treats part 1:

In the next few days I’ll be blogging about a few topics, all centred around the theme of HOWLoween. I have some DIY dog treat recipes* for you and some tricks to teach your dog. Give your dog a homemade treat for every trick he or she performs. You can also use these dog treats for leash training and to reward any good behaviours you may be working on at home currently. I’ve also got some important dog and puppy safety tips for this sometimes spooky time of year. I’ll be breaking up this information into a 3 part blog, so stay tuned.

Let’s get started! First up for today, we need to find your inner baker and make the treats.

Pumpkin Dog Treats
Author: Jess Fellows, ehow

You’ll need:

Cookie sheet, rolling pin, measuring cup, stand mixer or spoon and bowl, small cookie cutters, 2 and a half cups whole wheat or all purpose flour, 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin, canned, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2: Combine pumpkin, cinnamon and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if you are mixing by hand. Mix until blended.bowlStep 3: Add flour 1/2 cup at a time into the bowl until stiff dough forms.stiff dough'Step 4: Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick.
Step 5: Use small cookie cutters to cut the dough into bite sized treats.

pumpkin treatsStep 6: Line dog treats 1/2 inch apart on a non-greased cookie sheet. These treats won’t expand so you don’t have to worry about them being so close together.cookie sheet

Step 7: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until treats are golden brown. Turn the oven off and leave the treats in the oven for 1-2 hours to allow them to become crunchy. Then remove from the oven and let cool.
Step 8: Store treats at room temperature in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks, or store in the fridge for up to a month.cute jar

If your dog doesn’t seem into the pumpkin flavour try this recipe:

Oatmeal Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats
Author: Miss Molly

You’ll need:

Cookie sheet, rolling pin, measuring cup, stand mixer or spoon and bowl, small cookie cutters,1 egg, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup mashed banana.

Step 1: Preheat over to 300 degrees F.
Step 2: Combine all ingredients in your mixing bowl. Order doesn’t matter.
Step 3: Knead dough until ball forms. Add a little more flour if the dough is sticky.treats2

Step 4: Flatten dough on counter or cutting board, either with hands or rolling pin. If dough is sticky add more flour.treatsStep 5: Use some adorable doggie cookie cutters.
Step 6: Prepare cookie sheet by spritzing olive oil on it or use wax paper.
Step 7: Bake for 20 minutes.treats3

And to REALLY spoil your dog in 45 minutes, follow this recipe:

Homemade Peanut Butter Bacon and Pumpkin Dog Treats
Author: Nerds and Nomsense

You’ll need:

2 ½ Cups whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons peanut butter (we used creamy), ⅓ Cup pumpkin puree, 6 strips of bacon, cooked and finely chopped and 2 large eggs.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together by hand until mixture is uniform. If it’s a little crumbly, add a little bit of water. If it’s sticky, it’s too wet, so add a little more flour.dogtreatsbaking-1Step 3: Form the dough into a large ball, then roll out into eighth to quarter inch thickness.dogtreatsbaking-4Step 4: Cut cookie shapes, or you can just cut it into strips.dogtreatsbaking-6Step 5: Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Shorter for softer, longer for crunchier. It all depends on what your dog likes. dogtreatsbaking-8Step 6: Allow them to cool completely before feeding them to the dogs.

Get busy baking and come visit my blog in the next few days to read up on some new tricks for your old (or young) dog to learn. Then you can use these homemade treats for rewards. Trust me, when it comes to food, dogs are extremely motivated to please!

*Disclaimer: I did not write these recipes myself, so each title is linked to where I found the recipe online to give credit where credit is due. The pictures are from the linked websites as well.

Herbs That Are Safe for Dogs

I wanted to share an article I found super helpful that I read in Modern Dog Magazine fall 2014 issue:

There are a few common kitchen herbs that are good for dogs. Canine cancer-fighting, breath-freshening, stomach-soothing herbs that are safe for dogs include rosemary, basil, peppermint, oregano and parsley. Let’s take a closer look at each one individually.

basil

Rosemary (rosemarinus officinalis)
This good-for-dogs herb is high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6. Rosemary has also been shown to act as an antioxidant. (Though rosemary is very high in iron, it is not to take the place of an iron supplement if one is needed as there is little data about how bioavailable the iron in rosemary is.)

Basil (ocimum basilicum)
This dog-approved leafy herb, well-known for its delicious role in pesto, has antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. The next time you’re cooking with fresh basil, sprinkle a little pinch of the chopped herb atop your dog’s dinner.

Peppermint (mentha balsamea)
This aromatic herb has historically been used to help soothe upset stomachs, reduce gas, reduce nausea, and help with travel sickness. In addition, research is being done with shows that it may have radio-protective effects and can be used to reduce radiation-induced sickness and mortality in animals undergoing chemotherapy. There is no reported toxicity for dogs although very high doses may result in liver or kidney problems.

Oregano (origanum vulgare)
Best recognized as added flavour for  pizza, oregano is high in antioxidants and flavonoids and is reported as an antimicrobial. This non-toxic herb has been used to help with digestive problems, diarrhea, and gas. Research using oil of oregano has also shown anti-fungal properties. Oil of oregano is more concentrated than oregano, so keep the dosage small (oil of oregano does contain some components like thymol that can be toxic in large amounts or if used for a prolonged period of time). Use may impact the gut micro-flora so you may need to add a probiotic to the diet to build back up the good microbes that you killed off. For oregano drops made especially for pets, check out Orega Pet (oregapet.com).

Parsley (petroselinum crispum)
Another leafy herb commonly seen as a garnish on our plates is a source of flavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It also contains lycopene and carotenes. Often added to dog treats as a breath freshener or used to sooth the stomach, parsley has a long history of use with dogs. Note: “Spring parsley,” a member of the carrot family that resembles parsley is toxic to dogs and cats due to high levels of furanocoumerin which can cause photosensitisation and ocular toxicity.

How to use the herbs*:

Used fresh or dried, adding a small sprinkle (a pinch for small dogs, a teaspoon for large dogs) of these herbs to your dog’s food is a safe way to give them a little boost in nutrition. You can also use them to make your favourite dog treat recipe a bit healthier and more flavourful. The flavonoids and antioxidants found in many of the herbs in this article can help the body’s immune system combat some of the diseases reduced immune function. As noted, however, there are potential downsides and they should be used with care.
Tincture and oils for many herbs are available at your local health or natural foods store. These are usually a more concentrated source, so if you wish to use tinctures, oils or higher levels of fresh or dried herbs, it is best to work in conjunction with your dog’s health care professional. Sometimes the monitoring of a dog’s blood work is necessary to ensure continued safe use. For maximum efficacy, make sure the herbs and spices you use are not old. If the spices have been languishing in your cupboard for years, toss them out and replace them; their health-affirming properties will be diminished if they’ve been kicking around for a while.

* There’s a common saying that “the dose makes poison.” What this means is that anything can be dangerous if it’s fed or used in the wrong amount. If your dog ate only meat, eventually he would get sick since meat alone does not provide all of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need for optimum health. When using herbs the line between safe and not safe can be very fine. It is always advisable to check with your vet.

-this article taken from Modern Dog Magazine