16 Beginner Dog Treat Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Less

24 Feb

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Over the last two years we’ve amassed quite an impressive collection of dog treat recipes—and we’re constantly thinking up more! Trying your hand at the humble and hard to screw up dog treat is a great way to play around with baking. After all, dog treats are just very stale, sugarless cookies and dogs aren’t the pickiest when it comes to pet food ingredients. It’s a perfect combination when you’re just starting out as a baker.

If you’re looking to experiment in the kitchen a little bit, consider trying a few of our beginner dog treat recipes! We’ve rounded up a a few classics and a few interesting flavor combinations to try, all with five ingredients or less.

One (or Two) and Done

These treat “recipes” are the easiest of easy to make, because they contain one ingredient, maybe two at the most. Got a sweet potato or a banana on hand? Then you’re ready to get started.

  1. Dehydrated Bananas: If it’s safe for dogs, you can probably dehydrate it into a delicious treat for them! We’ve given our pups dehydrated bananas and mangoes, but the possibilities are pretty endless.
  2. Sweet Potato Jerky: We discovered sweet potato jerky very early on, and its still one of Topher’s favorite treats to work out of a Kong. Or, if you’re looking for a way to literally spice up your jerky treats, these turmeric and coconut oil “fries” were a huge hit last year!
  3. Dog Bone Fillers: Once you realize how easy it is to fill or refill an empty dog bone, you may never buy filled bones again. Last year we tested out three easy dog bone filler recipes, and we continue to use them to this day!
  4. Mango Coconut Fruit Leather: Fruit leather makes a great dog treat, or a great people treat! While the strawberry fruit leather technically has three ingredients, you could definitely leave out the honey if your strawberries are at their peak ripeness.
  5. Chicken Protein: It’s easy to add chicken breast protein powder to a dog’s treat. It provides a boost to their immune system and gives them a healthy dose of the protein they need.

Beginner Dog Treat Recipes

We started making treats at home because we wanted dog treats that weren’t a mash of strange chemicals or fillers. Then we kept making treats because it’s so fun to invent new combinations! Here are some of the treats we go back to again and again, because they come together almost effortlessly.

  1. Vegan Greenie Treats: Our take on the breath freshening treat, without all the ingredients you can’t pronounce. Want more breath freshening power? Just add more herbs!
  2. Peanut Butter Banana Oat: An effortless treat for when your dog has cleaned you out of house and home (what? Is that only Topher?) that uses true staple ingredients in our households.
  3. Classic Frosty Paws: While it might still be a bit too chilly for a frozen treat recipe, our classic take on Frosty Paws should be on any list for beginners. Simply pop all the ingredients in a blender, pour the mix into molds, and freeze! Easy peasy.
  4. Strawberry & Carob: Think chocolate and strawberries, for dogs! The carob and buckwheat makes these treats delightfully dark.

For Sensitive Dogs

For dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies, finding store-bought treats that don’t set off those sensitivities can be difficult. These five recipes are meant for dogs who can’t handle things like dairy or gluten. The best part? There are no strange fillers or unpronounceable chemicals, either!

  1. Gluten Free Ginger Apple: We call this one the ultimate stomach settler. Great for a pup who’s been feeling under the weather or for a simple treat that won’t aggravate other allergies.
  2. Cinnamon Sweet Potato: Another grain free treat that will make your house smell divine. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t thinking about making a cookie version of this for ourselves.
  3. Vegan Sweet Potato: The ultimate treat for dogs with allergies, this contains no gluten, no dairy. Plus, it needs only three ingredients!
  4. Quinoa, Peanut Butter & Carob: Gluten-free flours can be a little tricky, but they’re worth it in the case of these carob treats. If you can’t give your dog eggs, you can substitute coconut oil instead.

Weekend Fun

If you’re looking to step up from the beginner treat recipes and start playing with some new ingredients like herbs or funky vegetables, try on some of these treats. With only five ingredients, they won’t set you back much at the store while still allowing the chance to work with something new and different!

  1. Beet Mint Dog Treats: Since Ivana posted this recipe, I tried beets and they are indeed quite delicious. Your dog will think so too, trust us.
  2. Rosemary Sweet Potato: Inspired by some delicious gnocchi, the rosemary in these treats impart some great health benefits in your pup.
  3. Apple Cheddar: Cheese and apples don’t sound like a great combination, but Topher goes wild for these apple cheddar treats. Although, it might just be that sweet, sweet bacon grease.
  4. Beef & Carrot: Okay, I cheated by adding this dog treat recipe, since it has six ingredients—but these are a big favorite with Topher, and a fun treat to whip up on a weekend. Especially so if you’re like me and dabble in growing your own herbs.

5 Things Purebred Dog Owners Are Tired of Hearing

22 Feb

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I always get a certain sense of anxiety whenever I find myself inspired to write a piece specific to purebred dogs. Truth be told, there can be a lot of negativity. Whereas owning a rescue tends to be seen as a noble, even heroic endeavour (and it is!), owning a purebred dog can sometimes be seen as an act of vanity.

Actually, it’s the negativity that made me want to write this even more. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting dog owners of both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between, which means there’s a good chunk of the Good Dogs & Co. community that are proud purebred dog owners who have done everything right (breed research, breeder research, etc.) and still get bombarded with questions.

Below are five things purebred dog owners are tired of hearing—but we’re also more than happy to answer these questions when they come from a place of genuine curiosity, and not with a negative inflection. All of that to say: if you’re thinking of getting a specific breed of dog, go on and ask anyone and everyone who already owns that breed every question you can think of. Being informed is a big deal.

Doesn’t that breed have health problems?

Yes, because my dog is of a well-established breed, there has been enough data collected to determine which health problems are common. That’s why I spent time searching for a good, reputable breeder who is aware of such problems, and thus has tried to better the breed through meticulous and thoughtful breeding pairs.

How much did you pay for him/her?

As much as a dog from a reputable breeder costs.

No, really! I mean, have I scoffed at the price I’ve heard for certain purebred dogs? Sure. But the people I know (and also from personal experience with Archer) who have done the research, vetted a few breeders, and decided on one they really feel comfortable with… the price you pay is what you—personally—are willing to pay for that dog. It’s your choice, not mine or anyone else’s. Whatever makes sense to you is what is reasonable.

Have you bred him/her yet?

No, and I don’t ever intend to. I purchased a family pet, not a dog prostitute.*

Why didn’t you crop his ears/dock his tail?

Because I—like many other people in developed countries, aside from Canada and the United States—believe cosmetic alterations like cropping a dog’s ears or docking their tail is cruel and unnecessary.

If you aren’t adopting a rescue, you’re part of the problem!

Thank you for your negativity.

There are two things that bother me about the rescue vs. purebred dog debate. The first is a blindness to the need for purebred dogs—that is, dogs bred for a specific purpose. Take our newest Good Dogs & Co. office pup (who belongs to my friend), Sirius. After much research, my friends knew they wanted a dog who could hunt, but also one with high energy to be a running buddy. A Vizsla made sense for their lifestyle. Could they have found a high-energy dog in a shelter? Probably. But the hunting quality is a little more tricky.

In that sense, comparing purebred dogs to rescues is a lot like comparing apples to oranges.

The second thing that bothers me in this debate is the just the pure negativity. Don’t yuck my yum. I adore my purebred dog, and you adore your rescue—and that’s a wonderful thing.

* This seems to be a question heard by all dog owners with fit, good looking dogs. Lucy gets the same question when walking Topher, and we kinda-sorta-maybe know what breed he is, probably? I see red flags the minute a stranger asks me if I’ve already bred my dog, or want to breed her. The answer is no, and go away please.

Introducing TruDog: A New System for Complete Health

17 Feb

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Around this time last year, my husband and I had to really crack down about our own nutrition. It required a fair amount of work to shift our eating and cooking habits, but the results have made those changes more than worthwhile. All these changes got me thinking about our pets’ eating habits as well: not just what we were feeding them, but how and when as well.

I’ve always been pretty picky about what we feed our animals, but that came more from the knowledge that we wanted to stick to a certain level of quality and avoid common health pitfalls—obesity being the main one—for our dog and cats. But did my general desire for quality translate into a diet that meets all of Topher’s needs?

Even though I’ve been doing research on this question for a few months now, I’m still working on my final opinion. But today I’m very pleased to introduce TruDog, a company formed by one family that set out to answer a very similar question: we’ve been taking care of ourselves, nutritionally, but what about our dogs? They depend on us for their diet, so how well are we really feeding them?

Freeze Dried Real Ingredients

TruDog’s food products are made by freeze drying real ingredients: beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver, etc. Freeze drying is a delicate process that preserves the structure and nutritional integrity of fresh whole food. Only water is removed, preserving the characteristics and natural nutrition of fresh real food. This process creates a freeze-dried, “raw” product that needs no refrigeration. Simply store it in a cool, dry place and, before feeding, just add water. Precise feeding instructions are included with every pack that are effortlessly easy to follow.

We knew this product would be a hit when we had to hide it away to keep our dogs and our cats from finding and ripping the bag apart. In fact, Ivana’s cat Ace chewed on the bag itself before she could even open it!

No Fillers, Ever.

TruDog’s food products are wheat, gluten, corn, and soy free, and that’s just the beginning of the list of things they don’t include in their products. This makes them an ideal choice for dogs who have digestive issues or allergies. We know how important a good diet can be for keeping a more sensitive dog healthy and symptom-free, and love seeing companies working on making the pet food industry a little safer for these dogs.

A System for Complete Health

TruDog’s food products are designed to be fed on their own or as a mix-in with other products. All their product lines are meant to be utilized in conjunction with each other, providing optimal health and peace of mind for owners. Each product manufactured is carefully scrutinized to ensure it’s not overlapping other products—in the end providing a complete system that works.

While switching large dogs like Topher and Archer completely over to a TruDog diet would be pretty pricey, the supplements and the variety of products allow us to make sure our big dogs are getting everything they need out of their daily meals.

Made in the U.S.A.

All TruDog’s food products are made in Wisconsin using U.S. sourced ingredients. Their beef and bison are free range and grass fed, antibiotic, and hormone free. The TruDog family is committed to a lifestyle that provides the opportunity to live a life full of abundant health and happiness, inspired in no small part by their beloved Great Dane, Truman. After discovering Truman had a tumor in one of his legs, the family fought valiantly for his livelihood. After an agonizing six month battle, including surgery to remove his leg, they lost him to cancer.

This tragic loss provided the inspiration behind TruDog, to offer a healthy alternative dog food for dogs everywhere. If you ask us, they’re doing a wonderful job.