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

Fireworks and Dogs = Bad Mix

Well, it’s that time of year again. Leaves falling,raking them up, leaves falling again, raking them up again. I could go on for another few paragraphs about the gentle ebb and flow that is our fall season but I digress. Another guarantee is the loud bangs and pops associated with a plethora of fire crackers and fireworks that will be illuminating the nights sky and providing a cacophony of irritatingly loud noises over the next few weeks. Just to clarify, I don’t mind fireworks personally as much as the opening paragraph may lead you to believe, it’s just that my favourite dog Vegas isn’t a huge fan and I really feel for him. So here are a few suggestions to help your dog cope with the loud and high pitched noises that are terribly confusing and freightening to many canines.

For scientific explanation of why dogs may feel pain when hearing fireworks please click this sentence.

It’s really important to provide your dog with a safe, quiet place that may muffle the noise. Instinctively dogs are denning animals so providing a crate may help them feel more secure.

Provide soothing music, and aromatherapy to help create a more peaceful and stress free environment like we do at Dharma Dog.

You can also try to counter condition the intense reactions by building a more positive association with the noises such a offering special treats which they dont usually consume or playing some of their favourite games.

Remember, living with a dog means learning to understand your role and often in the case of fear issues your role is to be calm and protective so your dog will trust your judgement.

Fearful dog

This dog is hiding under it’s bed because it wasnt provided an alternate den to call home