Homemade Fresh and Fruity Frozen Dog Treats

dog with sunglasses

Summer is well on its way, which means the produce section is finally going beyond apples, oranges, and bananas and providing delicious berries, juicy watermelons, and tangy pineapples for a sweet, healthy frozen dog treat. Yep, summer fruits are definitely a delight – and not just for humans! Of course dogs would love something natural, refreshing, and different as a reward during these warm months – so, in addition to our   Pro-Treats, here are a few of our favorite DIY fresh and fruity treats. (Pro-Tip: You may want to feed your pet these juicy treats outside to avoid sticky tile or stained carpets!)

Pawberry Banana Pupsicles
You’ll need:
¼ large banana
3 strawberries
Ice cubes
Blender
Ice mold of your choosing – preferably in a fun, summery shape!

What to Do:
Combine in a blender, pour into mold, freeze and treat!

Have fun with this! You can use a handful of blueberries, a few scoops of watermelon, ¼ of a mango or an ⅛ of a pineapple – just combine with ¼ of a banana and ice cubes, pour, and freeze for a delicious variety pack your dog will love!

Frozen Pawtermelon Surprise
You’ll need:
¼ of a watermelon, cut
Blueberries
Blender
Large ice mold

These are a breeze; simply blend the watermelon into a puree, pour into the mold, pop a blueberry in the middle, and freeze. (We admit to making extra for ourselves!)

We’d love to see your dogs enjoying some frozen summertime treats, snap a pic and share it on Facebook!

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Brace Yourself for National Wine Day with Pet Friendly Drinks

national wine day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 25 is National Wine Day,

which we feel needs no explanation or justification – it just is, and we love it. While one might think this is a human-only holiday, you should know by now that the pet world leaves no stone unturned when it comes to mirroring human trends. Oh yeah, vino’s gone to the dogs (and cats) with pet friendly drinks!

Before you call animal control to report barking under the influence, you should know these are pet friendly drinks [obviously] that are non-alcoholic and made with pet-friendly ingredients like filtered water, Alaskan salmon oil, beets, and chicken flavoring (among others) and can be purchased primarily online.

For pet people who like wine, this is a bit of a dream – in fact, a few girls in the office are already planning their Wine Day & Puppy Play soirees complete with Pinot Noir and ZinfanTail. Totally serious. And for those who really want to wow their furry friend, consider a little pairing – our delicious Raw Naturals™ Beef Recipe would pair beautifully with a full-bodied MalBark, while the Chicken Recipe would go nicely with a light Chardognay.

How do you plan on celebrating National Wine Day? Let us know on Facebook!

 

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Recognizing Dog Depression

depressed dog

May is Mental Health Month,

an important reminder to take care of yourself, but also to pay attention to those around you for any changes in behavior. This includes your pet. To some, it may sound silly to think that an animal could suffer from depression.  To others, it may make perfect sense. But, the truth is, animals can go through bouts of sadness just like humans, though long-term dog depression is a lot more uncommon.

Recognize the signs of dog depression

Much like humans, symptoms of depression in pets include social withdrawal, lack of appetite change in sleeping habits, and simply not enjoying or participating in the things they once did. The difficult part is that most of these symptoms can also point to pain, so anytime your pet exhibits these behaviors you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Causes of depression

Most of the time a major life change is to blame for the onset of depression in animals. Things like moving to a new home, having a new baby or partner come into your lives. Depression can be brought on even by adding another pet. In most professionals’ experience, long-term depression was brought on by one of two things: the death of an owner or the loss of a fellow pet. In the event of serious depression, prescriptions do exist to alleviate anxiety or balance mood but it’s important to be diligent in monitoring your pet’s behavior to be sure it’s depression before utilizing this option.

What you can do

If your pet seems a little blue, you can certainly try to cheer them up! Take them on car rides, walks or trips to the dog park. Add something special in their food. Give them a little extra TLC in your downtime. Just remember, it’s important not to overtreat while they’re moping, as they may interpret it as a reward and continue the behavior. You know your pet – if you think their sadness seems to excessive, don’t hesitate to call your vet.

Has your pet ever been treated for depression? Was there a time you knew they were sad but you were able to cheer them up? Tell us your story this month on Facebook.

 

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Say Cheese! 5 Tips for Purrfect Pet Pics

May is National Photography Month

While there’s no shortage of beautiful things to snap a picture of, one of our favorite things to focus the lens on is our pet. But picture taking can be tricky; sure, for some it may be as simple as point and click but true photography takes a little consideration – things like lighting, orientation, composition, and even intention are all thought about before the shutter clicks. These days, you don’t even need a super fancy camera to get portrait-quality photos, as most smart phones are constantly improving the lens right in your back pocket – so what are you waiting for? The perfect, sweetest, most adorable subject is already waiting by your front door (or windowsill) – so get to clicking! To help get you started, here are 5 tips to keep in mind for perfect pet pictures this month.

1. Use Natural Light.

Let’s face it, people rarely look better with a flash and pets are no different. Natural light will give the picture a soft look and avoid unsightly red eye; not to mention a flash may startle your pet. Try to get them near a window or in the backyard for the picture-perfect glow.

2. Get on their Level.

You can’t expect most pets to pose, so be sure you go to where they are to snap a candid rather than calling them over and expecting them to sit patiently – and switch it up! Try to snap a picture from their perspective or another different vantage point rather than the usual top view.

3. Capture their Personality.

You know your pet the best, so try to capture their personality! If your dog’s a chow hound, try to catch them catching a Pro-Treat or waiting for their dinner; if your cat’s a hunter try to snap them on the prowl. There are SO many ways to convey your pet’s personality in a picture; you just have to get creative!

4. Get their Attention.

For a beautifully natural, alert, and head-on image, let your pet relax while you get your equipment set up just right. Once ready, call or whistle to your animal and hit the shutter button when they perk their head up to meet your call. Some of our best snapshots have come about this way!

5. Be Patient.

Remember, this is supposed to be fun and you are working with animals so patience is necessary. Don’t get ahead of yourself with grandiose ideas of the perfect image, let the situation play out and snap accordingly. And play around! Try different angles, vantage points, and lighting techniques – you may surprise yourself!

#SeasonOfPets Show us your phodography! Snap a few pictures of your furry friends and post them to our page using our hashtag #SeasonOfPets – we’ll share our favorites throughout the month!

 

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The Lowdown On Food Toppers For Dogs

Wouldn’t your dog appreciate a food topper?

While dogs only have about 1700 taste buds (compared to humans’ 9000), it doesn’t mean that their kibble doesn’t become bland after years of consumption. Think about it, could you eat wheat bread two times a day, every day, for the rest of your life? That’s why some dogs can benefit from food toppers.  Not only do they boost palatability, but can provide added nutrients and a little variety to your pet’s diet.

Food toppers are great for picky pets, or  animals whose appetites are lacking due to surgery or stress. Food toppers are also perfect for prompting pets to eat when switching foods. Even for pets that aren’t picky, a food topper makes for a nice treat and a little variety.

Make sure you’re buying a quality food topper so you aren’t bogging down your pet’s regular nutrition with unnecessary fats and/or low grade ingredients. Our Flavor Enhancer is made from 100% beef or chicken liver to provide delicious flavor plus added protein and fiber. It can be sprinkled right on the food or mixed with water to make a delicious gravy that can also soften food for older pets.  We’ve also had many people write in to tell us that they use our Raw Naturals freeze dried food as a topper too!

Whichever product you choose, be sure to follow the feeding instructions. We also recommend you discuss the addition with your vet to ensure they’re not getting too much of a specific nutrient.  Finally, monitoring their stool is useful anytime you incorporate something new into your pet’s diet.

Let’s take it to Facebook: Do you opt for a topper for your pet? Why or why not?

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5 Questions And Answers About Using Slow Feeders For Dogs

Let’s talk slow feeders for dogs

As pet food experts, we’re often asked about slow feeders for dogs: What are they? What’s the point? Do they really work? Does my dog need one? Well, allow us to elaborate with a pseudo Q&A.

Q: What exactly are slow feeders for dogs? 

A: Slow feeders for dogs are bowls designed to make your pet ‘work’ to get the food out, often with obstacles or barriers to break up the flat surface of a bowl that allows pets to take big bites or eat too quickly.

Q: What’s the point?

A: Many animals ‘inhale’ or rapidly eat their food. This behaviour can cause vomiting, choking, upset stomach, or food bloat – which is potentially life threatening. A slow feeder is designed to avoid rapid eating, either prompting pets to chew between bites or just allowing less food in their mouth at a time.

Q: Do they really work?

A: Yes.  Most pets do take longer to eat, but finding the right slow feeder for your pet may take some fielding. Some may be too easy while others may take the joy out of mealtime for your animal altogether. You want one that allows your pet to eat at a comfortable pace.

Q: Any downsides?

A: Sure – some pets have ingested parts of the plastic barriers or even chipped a tooth by not being careful; other pet owners have noted it can be messy, meaning the bowl is harder to clean or their pet flips it over when trying to get to their food.

Q: So, does my dog need a slow feeder?

A: Suffice to say, not every dog needs a slow feeder but if your dog eats so fast you hear them choke or it’s caused them to vomit, a slow feeder could absolutely aid in preventing that.

Now it’s our turn to ask questions! Does your pet use a slow feeder? What prompted you to get one? Are you happy with the results? Tell us more on Facebook!

 

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Dear Stewart: Should My Dog Eat Gluten Free Dog Food?

gluten free dog food

We received the following email asking our opinion on gluten free dog food

Dear Stewart,

I live in an area, where consuming carbs and gluten pretty much makes you a social pariah. Admittedly, I try to avoid them for my figure (and social life), but it got me thinking… should my dogs avoid the same ingredients? They do alright on their current kibble, but my friends from spin class agree that grains and gluten would never be in a wild animal’s diet. Obviously my Yorkies are a far cry from wild animals, but I just really want to know: should they be eating gluten free dog food?

Toodles Foodies,

Bread-less 

 

Dear Bread-less,

This question can be difficult to answer, but we will say this: all of our food and treats are grain and gluten free because, you’re right, dogs have no use for these ingredients – wild or otherwise. Of course, domesticated dogs have evolved to be able to digest and process grains and, for most dogs, they certainly aren’t harmful but, generally speaking, they’re really just cheap filler ingredients.

It’s important to clarify the difference between grain free and gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, namely wheat, barley, and rye – so foods that are gluten free can still contain some grain, while grain-free foods are exactly that and, thus, gluten free as well. To attempt to answer your question, Bread-less: Many pets suffer food allergies and, since grains are seemingly useless, many owners eliminate them first an an attempt to stop the itching, inflamed skin or hair loss. Very few animals require a gluten-free diet, but all of them can benefit from a nutritious diet rich in protein, low in fat, and devoid of fillers like corn, soy, and wheat.

 

Sincerely,

Your Low Carb-Eating Comrades at Stewart

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Do You Know What’s In Your Dog’s Treat?

do yo know what's in dog treats

Dog Treats

Treats are an essential element to training and do a great job of expressing appreciation and validation toward your animal in a way they can’t misunderstand. Not only that, but dog treats make your pet happy! That in itself is enough of a reason to get them into our grocery cart.

An unsavory fact about some dog treats

Because treats aren’t intended for,  or advertised to contribute to your pet’s nutritional health, we can tend to not pay as much attention to what goes into them.  Lots of questionable and unnecessary things can make their way onto the ingredient list.  Added sugar, meat by-products and rendered fat are a few. Chemical colorings, flavorings or preservatives are a few of the lesser savory items that can make the list. Like your pet’s diet, it’s important to consider what goes into their treats, especially if you’re generous with them between meals. 

And the good news is;

Now, before you abandon treats altogether, what if we told you there’s a delicious treat out there with just one wholesome ingredient?  One ingredient without by-products or chemical additives?  Nice, right?  Now, what if  that ingredient is also high in protein and low in fat? You guessed it, our Pro-Treats are made of 100% pure beef liver, lamb liver, pork liver, turkey liver, chicken liver , duck liver, bison liver, chicken breast, or wild salmon that’s small batch produced and perfectly portioned into freeze dried bites. 

When it comes to ingredients, we think less is more. If you’re looking for a healthy, natural alternative to overly processed biscuits and treats, consider upgrading to Pro-Treat!

What’s your pet’s best trick to get a treat? Show us on Facebook!

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Homemade Dog Food – Why It May Be Time To Switch To Freeze Dried

There are a lot of pet owners out there who not only opt to feed a raw diet, but who prefer to prepare it themselves. While the reasoning is understandable, pre-prepared freeze dried raw diets are expensive, while homemade lets pet parents control each ingredient. Homemade diets also offer the ability to tailor to your pet’s respective taste. Why would you do anything else, right?  Possibly, but preparing your pet’s meals is not a lighthearted commitment. It takes diligence and an understanding of your pet’s nutritional needs to really accomplish the intended benefits. Yes, freeze dried diets are expensive, but they take all of the nutritional guess work out of meal prep. In fact, to create a homemade dog food with the same nutritional benefits as freeze dried, it would quite possibly cost you more to purchase the individual ingredients than it does to buy the pre-prepared food. Also, with with the rising popularity of freeze dried dog food, there are now more flavors available than ever! 

If you’re still considering at-home pet food prep, keep these 4 pitfalls in mind.

1. Inconsistent Portions.

Don’t eyeball your pet’s proportions, be consistent in weighing out their protein and administer the same supplements every time. Common sense right?  Maybe, but it is seriously more difficult than it sounds.

2. Nutritionally Lacking.

Simply providing protein, fat, and veggies may seem like a wholesome meal, but other nutrients – like fiber, calcium, and phosphorus – aren’t often considered. So while your pet may have a balanced meal in their belly, without fiber they have no real way to eliminate it without nutritional supplements.

3. Nutritionally Imbalanced.

Not only do dogs require specific essential nutrients, like protein, carbs, and fat, they also need to be balanced.  As an example, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be one to one to maintain skeletal health. This takes research as well as consideration for your specific pet’s age, activity level, and breed-specific issues. Your best bet, along with research, is to talk with your veterinarian before making homemade dog food.

4. Too Lean.

While lean meat is all the rage with humans, dogs should get proteins with 15-20% fat content (depending on if you add supplemental oils) and don’t shy away from the innards – the kidney, liver, heart, and spleen all offer wonderful natural nutrients for your pet.

As we’ve previously mentioned, you could take all the guesswork, measuring, and preparing out of it by opting for any of our nutritionally balanced, responsibly sourced diets – available in 7 recipes ranging from beef to lamb to bison!

What are some snags and successes you’ve had with at-home food prep? Share your story on Facebook!

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K9 Veterans Day: What it Takes to Be a K9

March 13 is National K9 Veterans Day

K9 Veterans Day commemorates the day in 1942 that the US Army K9 Corps was formed. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, it seemed everyone got called to duty. Many, to aid in the rebuilding and retribution, including canines. Our armed forces have never looked back. From police, military, border control, and more, canines serve an invaluable and heroic role in aiding our country’s (and our communities’) safety. It’s no wonder the training they endure is absolutely awe-inspiring.

How does a dog become a K9 veteran?

Without going into too much detail, K9 training goes in levels. The first level is obedience training. A K9 dog must respond to its handler’s basic commands without fail; things like sit, come when called, wait, lie down, watch me, etc. Once they’ve proven to be good listeners, they undergo agility training to be able to jump over walls, run semi-long distances, and climb stairs. It’s imperative to get them acclimated to city life because a K9 can’t be nervous in new situations. Then comes the specialty training.

What is specialty training?

Specialty training includes drug sniffing, bomb/gun locating, or missing person/cadaver discovery. The scents are initially introduced to the dog on a towel or other toy and used as a play thing. Then, with a whole lot of time, patience, and consistency, the animals are trained to think the smells are a good thing because that’s when they get a reward. So, while it may sound a little weird, when on the job, these dogs are really looking for their favorite toy.

If you’re looking to commemorate the day, consider making a donation to American Humane, an organization dedicated to supporting and protecting both human and animal warriors. You could also talk with your local police station to see if there’s a way to contribute to the training or care of their K9 crew.

If you’ve witnessed the heroism of a working dog and would like to share your story, head to our Facebook page – we’d love to hear.

 

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