Monthly Archives: March 2015

DIY Dog Treat Mason Jar

In my house hold, George has a tendency to be a treat thief. If there’s a package on the counter, and I go out for an hour or so. Almost guaranteed that treat package will be obliterated, doesn’t help much either putting things higher up as he is a Great Dane on a mission.

Now sometimes Oswald gets a hunkering for treats too, and if he can find his treat bag he will do his best at shredding it open. Which then I swear he invites George to help him clean up the mess. Few weeks ago I put the remaining salvaged treats into a boring plain mason jar and let it sit out on the counter. Sure enough someone…not naming names got it onto the floor but couldn’t get the lid off (trust me for how far that container traveled through the house they tried).

So now sitting on the kitchen counter were two plain boring old mason one filled with cat treats, the other filled with dog treats. With no real way to differentiate between the too, I know more than once the cat got the dog treats and vice versa by guests. Instead of being boring and just writing their names on the lid, I decided to get crafty and hot glue little plastic figurines on top of the kids then spray paint them. My original ones I have since given to a close friend as she fell in love with the dog one, but here are some instructions on how to make your own.

Materials Needed

  • Old mason jars, peanut butter containers, pickle jars, spaghetti jars. – Any jar really you can find with a secure top. 
  • Plastic animal figurines. – I found mine at the dollar store in a tube. The great part about this diy if you’re giving it as a gift you can customize it to look like your friends pet.
  • Hot glue or crazy glue. – In the long run I should have used crazy glue for a cleaner look. But hot glue was the only option I had around the house.
  • Spray paint. – Any color you want will work, just watch when you’re buying it that if you want a glossy look you don’t accidentally buy a matte finish. Metallic paints work great too. 
  • Cardboard or newspaper. – Some sort of material to protect the surface you will be spray painting on top of.

Steps

  1. Make sure the jar you are about to use is clean and doesn’t have any residual oils on the lid. The glue won’t adhere as well if there is.
  2. Take either your hot glue, or crazy glue and bit just a bit on the paws of the animal. Then stick them to the lid where you want it to be. Make sure you let the glue fully set before we move on to the next step. I am often guilty of not being patient enough when it comes to glue drying times.
  3. Spread out your cardboard or newspaper over a surface that you feel comfortable painting ontop of. Now depending on your spray pain it might take several coats or only one. Make sure you read the directions and allow each layer to dry before you paint a new one.
  4. Once the lid is fully dried, you now have a nifty new pet treat holder. It makes an awesome gift for any pet parent. But dot stop at just dogs or cats as the jar lid toppers, you can use any plastic figurine you want. Dinosaurs, giraffes, anything you can get ahold of really!

The awesome bonus of this DIY treat holder is the fact it is completely dishwasher safe (if you use peanut butter jars I would be leer sending them through the dishwasher). Just make sure to not send the lid through the dishwasher, but instead hand wash it. You wouldn’t want a rogue plastic figurine flying around in there. Now you just need some yummy treats to fill the container with, check out these awesome homemade biscuit recipes! 

Tasty Apple and Cheddar Dog Biscuit

Last week we focused on ingredients you never want to find in your dogs kibble. Unfortunately the cookies and treats we feed are dogs are also a haven for chemicals and other toxic ingredients.
I often buy my clan homemade treats from a dog bakery or these awesome human grade organic biscuits. They both loved this apple and carrot biscuit so much from the bakery that I decided to try and make a version of my own and add a little cheese into the mix.One of the benefits of making your own biscuits is being able to control exactly what ingredients go into them. George has a terrible chicken allergy, even eggs are on the no-go list. And most times then not, eggs are in all sorts of dog biscuits, they use it as a binder. Fortunately I do not have to worry about flour or a wheat allergy, but like this post if you guys want to see a wheat-gluten free version of these biscuits!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups barley flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup diced carrots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients and about 3 tablespoons water to form a dough. Roll out mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thick; remove plastic wrap and cut out biscuits with a 3 1/2-inch bone-shaped cookie cutter. Reroll scraps and continue cutting out biscuits.
  3. Space biscuits 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned and firm.
  4. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack. Turn off oven and place biscuits on wire rack in oven overnight. Remove from oven and store in an air tight container up to 2 weeks.

If you want crunchier biscuits, cook them at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. The actual cook time will depend on how low the temperature is, so remember to keep checking them! By cooking them at the lower temperature for a longer period of time this also ensures that most of the moisture is cooked out of the biscuit which makes the storage life much longer.

Check out this post to see other great tips and advice in making your homemade biscuits last longer. Have nothing cute to store your new biscuits? Follow this simple DIY for a customizable treat container.

5 Ingredients that you Should Never Find in Your Dog’s Food

Often when we are in the grocery store we pick up an item, and read the label on the back. Normally you should know all the ingredients that are healthy and that are not. When was the last time you visited the pet store and read the label on your dogs treats and food? Were you able to recognize the harmful vs healthy ingredients? We’ve already talked about how to understand pet food labels, but do you know the ingredients that raise red flags? If not, bookmark this page for future reference to check the ingredients within your dog’s food. We’re going to break down five ingredients that if found on the label, you should avoid purchasing:

  1. Ethoxyquin Unfortunately ethoxyquin is commonly found in most dog foods, it is a preservative. But this product was actually produced to be used as a herbicide! As awareness has increased around increasing quality care for our dogs, veterinarians began noticing that ethoxyquin is often associated with the development of kidney and liver damage, cancer (liver, spleen, stomach, skin), immune deficiency syndrome, blindness, and leukemia.
  2. Propylene Glycol If you know anything about auto care products, you may have immediately recognized this. And yes, it is found in anti-freeze! It is placed in dog food and cat food to help reduce moisture and prevent bacteria growth in wet/canned food. Your dog needs intestinal bacteria to help absorb and digest the food. Since propylene glycol reduces bacteria growth, it reduces the “good” bacteria as well. As a result, some dogs can develop cancerous masses within their intestines or develop inestinal blockages.
  3. Butylated-hydroxyanisole (BHA) or Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) Both are equally potent and dangerous for your pet. In fact, these two are often found in our food too. BHA is another preservative and is often responsible for kidney damage. BHT, even more potent than BHA, is used to help reduce food spoiling. BHT has been directly linked with cancer for both dogs and humans.
  4. Corn Syrup/Corn is often used to help “sweeten” your dog’s palate. Too much sugar over time will lead to weight gain, diabetes, hyperactivity, build up of plaque and tartar, as well it can even change mental behavior. Over time it may develop mold or fungus; in turn, may result in death. Corn is a very inexpensive filler, and commonly found in lower grade foods.
  5. “By Product” This could be either chicken, lamb, beef, fish, turkey and so on (any form of protein). “By product” are the internal remains of an animal, not muscle meat. Often times, this will include diseased tissues, lower intestines and tumors.

If cost is inhibiting you from buying higher quality, natural dog food, the higher quality of food the less the dog will need to eat. How does that work? Like mentioned above, corn is a major filler in the lower end brands. The more filler, the more the dog is going to need to eat in order to get the minimum nutrients they require. In quality dog food there will not be corn. So with no filler, the dog is getting all the nutrients they need but consuming less kibble.

There are so many more ingredients that you need to keep an eye out while reading the list, it can be exhaustive. As a concerned pet parent what can you do? Start researching and reading your dog’s food labels, did you find any of the five ingredients listed above on their bag? Also do not think that this list just applies to their food, treats are often overlooked but they can be just as filled with chemicals, if not more so.
Rebecca Bone-icon