Going Vegetarian with Homemade Veggie Bones

Yesterday, Tallulah and I joined our human mommy/personal chef in the kitchen to whip up a batch of Veggie Bones. Tallulah supervised as Mommy assembled the ingredients:

  • 3 cups minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese (we went for the parmesan, and Mommy gave it a fine chop)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons bran (we used oat bran)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water

In one bowl, Mommy combined the parsley, carrots, cheese, and olive oil. In another, she mixed the whole wheat flour, bran, and baking powder. Then she poured the dry ingredients into the veggies, gradually added 1/2 cup of water, and mixed to make a moist but not wet dough. If you’re trying this at home, you might need to add a little extra water. We eventually used just a bit over one cup.

Then came my second favorite part of any dog treat recipe: cleaning the mixer beaters.

I even let Tallulah get in on the action. When we’d finished, Mommy could have put those beaters right back into the drawer  . . . but she didn’t, opting instead to let them take what Tallulah and I thought was a totally unnecessary spin in the dishwasher. But back to the actual baking process.

Mommy kneaded the dough for about a minute and put half of it onto a surface sprinkled with some whole wheat flour. Then she rolled the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness and cut it into little bone shapes before placing the cut-out treats onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (Mommy wrapped the remaining dough in plastic wrap, sealed it in a ziplock bag, and popped it into the freezer so that we can make more treats another day.)

At this point, I will admit that I was super excited that I do not have opposable thumbs. You see, if I did, I might have had to do the whole kneading, rolling, and cutting thing. Instead, I enjoyed a nice little nap. I even left the pre-baking quality control duties up to Tallulah. She seemed pleased with the work that our mommy had done and gave her the ok to place the cookie sheet into the oven, which was preheated to 350F. Then my little sister and I sat back and waited about 20 to 30 minutes for our Veggie Bones to come out. We knew they were ready when they were browned and slightly hardened.

Remember just above when I told you that cleaning the mixer beaters is my second favorite part of any dog teat recipe? Any guesses what my favorite part might be? Yep . . . it’s tasting the final product. After the Veggie Bones came out of the oven, we let them cool and harden just a bit more. While I was happy to let Tallulah cover pre-bake quality control, I took full responsibility for guaranteeing the quality of the post-bake product. After all, being the older sibling does come with some advantages. And my verdict? Simply superb! If you’re looking for a healthy homemade treat, these Veggie Bones are just the thing. BONE appetit . . . and try to keep the drool to a minimum. 😉

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Minty Fresh Breath Treats

Someone in our family has dog breath. (I’m not naming names, but if you lean into your screen and sniff, I think you can figure it out on your own.) So my human mommy/blogging assistant/personal chef turned to our friends at Pinterest in search of a tasty remedy. She found quite a few recipes. Some were for frozen treats. They looked super yummy and perfect for summer. We’ll definitely try them another time.

But we wanted something we could share with our friends, so Mommy and I settled on DIY Doggy Breath Mints from SkinnyMs.com. The list of ingredients is simple:

  • 2-1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1 large egg (substitute 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce for dogs with allergies to chicken products)
  • 1/4 cup of water plus 1 teaspoon
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (olive oil may be substituted if you can’t find coconut oil)

While Tallulah and I watched, Mommy added the old-fashioned oats to the food processor and let the machine do its thing until the oats had the consistency of flour.

Then she combined the chopped parsley, chopped mint, egg, water, and coconut oil in a medium bowl and whisked them all together.

Under Tallulah’s watchful nose, Mommy poured the processed old-fashioned oats into a large bowl, made a well, added the whisked liquid ingredients into the well, and then blended with a spoon. (She added a bit of water to get the consistency she wanted.)

At this point, because I am the senior dog in our family, I did the quality-control taste-testing duties. I pronounced the treat dough perfectly perfect. I would have been totally happy diving into the raw dough, but apparently actually baking the treats is important to humans, so Mommy continued with the process.

She rolled the dough out to about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness and cut the treats into bone and heart shapes. (You could just use a knife to make little squares. Trust me, dogs don’t care.) Then she placed the hearts and bones onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, popped the cookie sheet into the oven, which she had preheated to 325 F, and set the timer for 35 to 40 minutes. Tallulah and I decided that this would be a good time for naps.

Boy am I ever glad we woke up in time to taste these minty fresh breath treats as soon as they came out of the oven. They are yummmm-meeeeeee!

And they’re good for us, too. Here are some of the health benefits:

  • Old-Fashioned Oats–Oats are high in protein, soluble fiber (the kind of fiber that keeps cholesterol low), and levels of iron, manganese, zinc, and B vitamins. They’re low in gluten and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Oats act as a digestive aid to calm the intestinal tract and they have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. They have a calming effect, so they’re a good addition to the diets of nervous dogs. Finally, oats strengthen the spleen, pancreas, bones, heart, and immune system.
  • Parsley–In addition to fighting bad breath, parsley is an anti-inflammatory, which can benefit dogs with arthritis and cancer. It’s also a diuretic so it’s good for dogs with urinary issues. Parsley boosts kidney function, which in turn helps the heart, lungs, and other organs. Parsley also helps with GI issues because it strengthens intestinal muscles. One word of warning: Parsley should not be given to dogs during pregnancy because it stimulates the uterus.
  • Mint–Mint can sooth upset stomachs and reduce gas. It also reduces nausea, so it’s good for  travel sickness. And mint is a natural breath freshener.
  • Egg–Eggs are a great source of protein. They help build muscle, strengthen hair, and repair tissue.
  • Coconut Oil–Because coconut oil contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents, it helps to prevent infection and disease and may even reduce the risk of cancer. It regulates and balances insulin (which can help to prevent or control diabetes), promotes normal thyroid function, and increases energy levels to help control and reduce weight. Coconut oil builds strong bones and helps decrease arthritis discomfort by reducing inflammation. It also helps to improve bad breath.

So here’s to good health and good breath. . . and really good treats. BONE appetit!


“Slobbr”ing Into the Weekend with Wellness

When Tallulah and I traveled with our humans to BlogPaws 2017 a few months ago, we learned about a new app that connects dog lovers with dog-friendly places all over the United States. It’s called Slobbr, and we love the tagline: “Live Life With Your Dog.”

Slobbr allows you to enter a zip code and then find nearby dog-friendly spots. It’s been a little hot and humid unbearably miserable lately here in New Orleans, but I suspect Tallulah and I will be using Slobbr more when the temperatures start to cool . . . in about three months. We also think this would be a great app to use on road trips, and you know we love a road trip.

And here’s the best thing about Slobbr: Every time you use the app or your browser (at Slobbr.com) to check in at one of the suggested dog-friendly establishments, Slobbr will donate a half-cup of kibble to a pre-selected rescue or shelter. This month Wellness is doing the honors and the New Hampshire SPCA is the recipient of that goodness. Our BlogPaws 2017 swag bag just happened to include a bag of Wellness CORE freeze-dried beef treats.

You want to know what’s in these treats? Beef. Just beef. No grains. No artificial flavors. No preservatives. Just 100% freeze-dried beef. Now that’s slobber-worthy. So whether you’re checking out a few dog-friendly spots using the Slobbr app this weekend or enjoying some slobber-worthy treats (or doing both), Tallulah and I wish you good times and good cheer!

Do you have any big plans this weekend?


Hemp Is Hot for Dogs

When we unpacked our BlogPaws 2017 swag bags a few weeks ago, my human mommy noticed a couple of treats containing hemp. This made her curious (it just made me hungry), so she decided to do a little research. Turns out hemp is the hot new thing in pet care. Here’s what you need to know:

HEMP IS NOT MARIJUANA–Hemp and marijuana both come from the same plant–Cannabis sativa–and they both contain two major cannabinoids–THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). But the similarities end there. Marijuana contains higher levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical that causes a “high.” Hemp contains a higher level of CBD, which reduces the psychoactive effects of THC. So, if you humans were thinking about eating hemp dog treats to get a little buzz, forget about it. Hemp treats won’t get your pets high and they won’t get you high either.

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF HEMP?–It’s important to note that peer-reviewed research is lacking, so information about the benefits of hemp for dogs is largely anecdotal. That said, the following anecdotal benefits of hemp seed oil for dogs have been suggested:

  • strengthens the immune system
  • boosts skin and coat health while reducing flaking and shedding
  • boosts energy and supports a healthy weight
  • supports healthy organ and heart health
  • supports healthy brain functions
  • acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • aids healthy growth and development
  • produces positive effects on fertility/reproduction
  • reduces anxiety
  • lessens the associated side effects of chemotherapy

Enough of Mommy’s type of research, Tallulah and I were ready to do our own sort of science: the taste tests.

First we sampled the Treatibles CBD pumpkin grain-free chews. The ingredients list reads like something you’d find at the finest healthy human bakeries: hemp-derived phytocannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBG), gluten-free oat flour, pumpkin, peanut butter, organic coconut oil, brown rice flour, apple sauce, organic coconut nectar, organic hemp seed oil, turmeric, vanilla, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and potato starch. Coconut oil is an antioxidant that is good for our coats and skin; pumpkin helps digestion; and peanut butter has high levels of protein. Plus, the treats are gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan. Here’s what the Treatibles website says about the source of the hemp the company uses in its chews:

The non-psychoactive cannabinoids used in our proprietary formula are sourced from hemp grown in Colorado. It is a full plant extract which contains terpenes and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBDA and CBDV. This extract contains no THC.

But best of all, they taste great! They come in two sizes: small-to-medium for dogs up to 50 pounds and large for dogs over 50 pounds. Tallulah and I tasted the small-to-medium Treatibles chews . . . so we could eat a few extras. The Treatibles website offers a store locator. A few specialty pet shops in my area carry the products. You can also use the site to purchase online (a bag of small-to-medium pumpkin chews–roughly 36 Treatibles–is $24; shipping for orders over $40 is free). By the way, Treatibles was established in 2013 and is based in California.

Next we tried True Leaf Pet’s True Hemp chews in the health support for dogs formula. (Seriously, this photo part is so tedious. When does the tasting start?) These treats contain ground hemp seed, hemp oil, DHA (an Omega 3 source derived from whole-cell algae that supports cognitive health), polyphenols and pomegranate, salmon, buckwheat flour, yellow pea flour, sunflower seed oil, blackstrap molasses, vegetable glycerin, natural fish flavor, citric acid, and mixed tocopherols. The back of the bag lists the following benefits of hemp:

  • one of nature’s most balanced and richest sources of fatty acids
  • contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 in an optimal 3:1 ratio
  • one of the few plants containing GLA (gamma linolenic acid, known to fight cancer, reduce joint pain, and improve skin and coat)
  • naturally supports the body’s response to inflammation
  • contains tocopherols, a natural antioxidant

I don’t know about the back of that bag, but Tallulah and I can certainly attest to the tasty nature of what’s inside the bag. The True Leaf pet website offers a store locator option. Sadly, there are no retailers near my house, but my sleuthing human mommy did find their hip-and-joint and calming chews on Amazon for less than $19. You can also order directly from the website. The Canadian company is a division of True Leaf Medicine International Ltd., which was established in 2013 for humans. True Leaf Pet was started in 2015 and here’s what the website says about the source of its hemp:

The hemp used in our proprietary formula is grown in Ontario, Canada. This extract contains no THC and in non-psychoactive.

Tallulah and I are pretty excited about the new treats we’ve discovered, and our human mommy is equally excited to have discovered the health benefits of hemp. If you’d like to read more, she suggests the following sources:

 


A Couple of Sparklers for Your Fourth

Happy Independence Day! My little sister, Tallulah Bee, and I have had a pretty great day so far . . . except of course for having to put on silly outfits and have our pictures taken. That part was slightly torturous.

But we cooperated because we got a couple of our favorite red, white, and blue treats. Mommy froze whole blueberries in our star-shaped ice-cube tray and then dumped the frozen treats into our outside water bowl. I was a dainty drinker.

Tallulah, as usual, lacked restraint . . . but definitely had a good time.

Next we headed inside for some frozen yogurt and crushed strawberry bone-shaped delights. After a challenging-but-successful “Leave it!” command, Tallulah and I dove in like a couple of hotdog-eating contestants at Coney Island.

Sending you sweet kisses and best wishes for a safe and happy Fourth of July!

 


Pawing It Forward

Remember when I told you about all the stuff that filled our chariot on the road to BlogPaws 2017? Well, on the way home, we had to find a little additional room for these huge duffle bags overflowing with all kinds of fabulous swag. Everyone attending the BlogPaws conference received a swag bag of goodies specifically selected for dogs, cats, or both. Because both of my humans were officially registered, Tallulah and I came home with two bags . . . filled with dog items, of course.

Those two bags sat on top of the dryer in our laundry room for way too long several weeks, until Mommy finally let us dig in.

Wow, the haul was somewhat overwhelming. We’ve set aside a few things that we think you might like to know about. Look for more on that in the next couple of months . . .

. . . but Mommy and I delivered most of the items to our friends at Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO). ARNO is a nonprofit, grassroots, volunteer organization founded after Hurricane Katrina. ARNO operates a no-kill triage shelter and has found homes for more than 8,300 companion animals. We can’t think of a better place to paw the BlogPaws love forward.

We also delivered a bag of super yummy and healthy food from The Naked Dog. Here’s a little background info from The Naked Dog website:

In 2014, Marco and Bere Giannini started The Naked Dog with the mission of helping pet parents access only the healthiest products for their pets. Within the next three years, The Naked Dog family grew to 11 retail locations in Southern California and built a group of pet parents dedicated to their grain-free, gluten-free in-house pet food and treat brand, Naked. In 2017, The Naked Dog Box was founded to help broaden the reach of this healthy mission, allowing pet parents across the nation to get Naked with its bi-monthly pet food subscription service. Marco, Bere, and the whole Naked Dog family are proud to have kept their Naked Promise: higher quality pet food and fair prices, available to all.

My friend Emma from My GBGV Life wrote an excellent review of The Naked Dog food and subscription service. I hope you’ll click here to read more. As you can see from the picture above, Tallulah was a little unsure about parting with The Naked Dog food, but I explained to her that the dogs at ARNO would really, really appreciate the donation. I think she understood.

BlogPaws is all about sharing the love and improving the lives of animals. I’m so happy that I could paw it forward by delivering treats, toys, and food to the dogs at Animal Rescue New Orleans. Even with my new shades, I see a bright and shiny future for my shelter friends.


Dinner and a Movie

Woo hoo! It’s Friday! I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty thrilled to see the weekend. Do you have plans yet? Might I suggest dinner and a movie? There’s a great new film called Megan Leavey opening this weekend. I saw a preview while I was at BlogPaws 2017, and it’s fabulous.

Megan Leavey is the true story of a Marine and her dog, Rex. Here’s a little more information from the studio:

MEGAN LEAVEY is based on the true life story of a young marine corporal (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.

You can click here to see a trailer for the film. It stars a really talented dog in the role of Rex . . . and some pretty noteworthy humans, too. Plus, it’s gotten some really great reviews.

Merrick Pet Care, a leader in natural and organic pet food, sponsored the movie and recently announced the launch of Merrick Backcountry Hero’s Banquet recipes, a new lineup of natural dog food and treats to raise awareness for K9s For Warriors’ work pairing service dogs with military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disability (PTSD). (By the way, June is PTSD Awareness Month.) So grab some “pawp corn,” settle into that nice comfortable theatre seat to watch Rex star in the Megan Leavey movie, and purchase a little Merrick Backcountry Hero’s Banquet dinner to help support the work of K9s For Warriors. Sounds like a perfect weekend plan to me. Cheers!