Category Archives: Nutrition

Homemade Dog Pill Pockets

Do you have a dog that hates taking his medicine or pill? I know I struggled for a long time getting Ginny to take her supplements. She would spit them out and lock up her jaw so I couldn’t even try if I wanted to!! I searched and searched for a pill pocket recipe that didn’t fall apart when molding the pocket around the pills. Finally I found one and I want to share it with you guys! I use peanut butter as the main binding ingredient in my recipe, but if your dog has allergies to peanut butter you might want to check out these allergy formula pockets. Pillpockets (

Homemade Dog Pill Treats Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Depending on what kind of peanut butter and flour you used, you may need to add more or less flour. The consistency should be fairly dry, but able to mix together and hold a shape kinda like play-doh. Divide “dough” into balls, this batch makes about a dozen on average- depending on the size of your dog and the pills themselves, you can make them smaller or larger. Use your finger, or a clean pencil to poke holes in the centre of them. Make sure not to poke the hole all the way through! Make the hole as big as you need depending on the pill size. Once the pencil is in the hole, you ca work the dough around the pencil to make the pockets longer. Once you have made all the dough balls, make sure you store them in an air-tight container and keep them in the refrigerator so they don’t spoil!

How to Store Homemade Dog Treats

Learning about dog treat storage may be the last thing on your mind when you first start baking for your dog. It is much funner picking out all those cute cookie cutters and finding the perfect recipe than thinking about how to store the biscuits. But you don’t want to go to the effort of making your first batch of dog biscuits to see a week later they are stale or have started growing mold. I have been there and done that, it is heart breaking to see all your Martha Stewart perfect looking heart biscuits gone to waste cause of mold growth.

There are three choices for storing your homemade dog treats: in a dog food storage container at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer. Depending on the kind of dog treats, and how long you need to keep them will dictate how to store them. Why is this important? Proper storage of your dog biscuits will prevent the growth of mold and spoilage of your treats.

Safe Dog Treat Storage

Baking healthy homemade dog biscuits means that you are probably using healthy natural whole grains and oils in your homemade dog biscuits and cookies, there is a downside to using natural ingredients. They don’t stay “fresh” as long as store bought biscuits that contain chemical preservatives. Natural ingredients can support the growth of mold, they can decompose, and become rancid.  Making soft biscuits or dog cakes biscuits with margarine makes the biscuits last much longer then butter or oils, also treats that are made with meat or meat juices will need to stay in the refrigerator and they don’t last as long as other treats. 

Moldy dog treats

Moisture creates a haven for mold to start growing in dog treats, learn how to prevent it!

So how can you naturally preserve the freshness of your biscuits and extend their life? Make sure the moist treats stay in the refrigerator, and dry your hard biscuits properly. Moisture in hard biscuits is your biggest enemy, any sort of moisture will shorten the storage life dramatically and increase the chance of mold growth. Make sure when you bake the biscuits they are firm to the touch, but not burned or over browned. When I am making biscuits for my clan, once the timer goes off I like to transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack, then put them back in the oven with the heat turned off. This lets the biscuits to finish cooling down while the moisture is still being absorbed out, remember drawing out the moisture is key to avoiding mold growth. In a few hours I come back and check on the biscuits making sure they are very hard and firm, usually I bake them at night so I can let them cool down over night. Another way you can draw out the moisture during the baking time is reducing the temperature and cooking  them for a longer period of time. But make sure you check on the biscuits regularly to make sure you don’t over bake them! 

Another method of drying out biscuits is using a dehydrator, make sure you follow the manufactures instructions for the dehydrator and check often to see if the biscuits are hard enough. I personally have never used a dehydrator, I find my method of leaving the biscuits in the oven till cool works well. But if you have a dehydrator go ahead and give it a try, I heard they work really well at finishing the drying process of the biscuit. 

Before storing the biscuits you need to make sure they are completely cooled down. If you don’t and put them into the treat mar you could end up with a moldy jar due to condensation. This point applies to when we make biscuits for ourselves, it is a very important food safety tip to remember. Placing a lid on anything warm and storing it away is just inviting bacteria and mold to start to grow. 

Sometimes you will see recipes that call for citric acid, vitamin c or e or Rosemary these are natural preservatives. You can add them if you’d like, however it’s not necessary if you are making biscuits for your household consumption and not retail. Properly dried biscuits can last several weeks in an airtight container, frozen biscuits can last up to 8 months properly stored. 

Dog Food Storage Containers

Cute Dog Treat Canister

Your choice of treat storage containers is also important and helps keep the biscuits fresh. A simple and cute cookie jar or treat canister works well for casual everyday storage of dried dog biscuits. Check out this DIY for an airtight option then keeps your biscuits fresh while looking cute sitting out on the counter. Amazon has quite a few cute decorative ones that are also great options, I think this one is my favorite, are awful cute too. Etsy is also a great place to find cute handmade option. Depending how humid your house will dictate how strict things need to be air tight, consider this, if you store your bread differently due to humidity in your house. You should probably use a proper airtight container with a seal for the biscuits too. 

Now that you know the ins and outs of storing biscuits properly check out some of these great recipes to try them out with your furchildren. 

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!


  • 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


  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.

Is there a Thing as too Many Treats?

Giving treats to your dog is a great way to show extra love or a little reward. The special yummies can be anything from a biscuit from a dog bakery, homemade cookies, grocery brand treats, or morsels of table scraps. With so many options, we tend to go over board with indulging our dogs. However with moderation you can be sure you are choosing the right kind of treats for your dog.

Advantages of treats
Every dog deserves an extra treat occationally, and treats can be a good thinDog Bones in Jarg too! There are many different kinds of treats, some promote improved dental hygiene, others may contain added nutrients.  Knowing your dogs favorite treat can also provide great motivation during training, or encouraging good behaviour.

When you are rewarding your dog with these yummy morsels, you feel good, and he will feel good because hes pleasing you. This goes along way towards strengthening the bond and trust between you and your dog.

When good treats go bad
Unfortunately too much of a good thing can be bad. And many of the treats and cookies dogs love the most are very high in fats and sugars. This can be a hidden cause of weight gain, as it is easy to lose track of how many treats you offer over the course of a day. 40% of all pets in the United States are obese, and only 17% of pet owners realize their pet is over weight. This puts nearly half of all pets in the US at a higher risk of heart problems and diabetes. One way to monitor your dogs treat intake, is to watch the monitor the amount of calories in his favourite treat.

Depending on his level of activity, a 20-pound dog may burn only 700 calories a day. If one large dog biscuit contains 100 calories, just 2 or 3 of these added to his regular daily diet will push him into overindulgence. Keep track of calories in the treats and subtract these from your dog’s total daily diet to prevent overindulgence. If your dog is overweight, save treats for very special occasions only or choose low-calorie treats.

Many of us share a portion of our meal or snack with our dog. If you’re lounging on the couch eating popcorn, usually it goes, one for me one for you. Soon it’s hard to resist those pleading brown eyes looking up at you, and know there’s a monster who begs constantly. Table scraps tend to be high in fat and sugar and can upset your dog’s digestion. Many people who have ‘picky dogs’ have spoiled their dog by consistently feeding table scraps after dinner, soon kibble is no longer appealing and health problems ensue.

Healthy Alternatives
You don’t want to deprive your dog but how do you choose the proper treats for him? Choose treats made for dogs, it is best to eliminate all sorts of table scraps as they cause more harm then good. Another great idea is substituting dog treats with fresh veggies such as carrots, green beans or broccoli. Fresh Chihuahua and Cookieveggies are low in calories and high in fiber , however, some table foods can be harmful or toxic to dogs.

Make sure your dog eats his nutritionally balanced food before filling up on treats. And always have fresh water available for your dog.

With the vast array of dog treats available, do your best to make wise choices. Check ingredients and fat content. If your dog is healthy and eating a balanced diet, an occasional healthful treat will enrich his life.
But keep in mind, try to keep treats to under 10 percent of his diet.


Understanding Dog Food Labels

The food we consume is regulated by nutritional experts and closely monitored for quality, but knowing what goes in to our dogs food should not be such a mystery. A general rule of thumb I have adopted into my own lifestyle, is if I cannot pronounce it I am not eating it and I have applied this to my animal’s health too. Dog food labels can be confusing and misleading, what may look like a “wholesome” or “natural” dog food is really just full of chemicals and fillers. Bellow I have compared two dog food labels, the first one; Acana which is good baseline dog food. And beneful, a grocery brand dog food. Notice how the ingredient list in Acana is full of things we recognize and can pronounce. Where as in Beneful, it contains weird chemicals, and chicken by-product meal.

8725136_f520                                                                                            Acana

Listed Ingredients

Pet Food companies are required by law to list all the ingredients by order of predominance and also to list vitamins and minerals by their chemical name. This can result in multiple different ingredients you have never seen or heard of before. For example, ferrous sulfate might sound harmful, when really it is just a source of iron. However there are definitely ingredients that you should avoid in your pet food, such as, Propylene Glycol. Which is a preservative to help semi-moist food stay hydrated, however if consumed on a daily bases it is toxic.

One important thing to note is the first two ingredients listed. Normally it is a meat by product or whole meat then another source of protein, such as peas or potatoes. The crude protein listed in the guaranteed analysis might be 27%, however it is not straight meat protein. Because a fiber source is the second item on the list. It highly likely that the majority of the crude protein is coming from pea protein versus meat. If you take a look at the two ingredient lists above, Acana and Beneful shows this exactly. Acana’s first few ingredients are a meat source. So we know that the majority of the protein is coming from meat. Where a Beneful has ground corn-meal, chicken by product meal, then corn again.

Guaranteed Analysis

This is where we learn what the percent values in your dogs food are. Depending on your dogs age, and health this will dictate what you are looking. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set out recommended minimums and sometimes maximum levels of nutrients. An very important factor to remember when comparing two different labels is that not all dog food kibbles have the same moisture levels. Meaning if you are trying to compare the two different foods you have to make everything equal. So we use a simple formula to find the actual true percentages of fat and protein in the kibble.

So lets use Benful as the example.
100% Dry matter – 14% Moisture = 86% Actual Dry Matter
27% Protein / 86% Actual Dry Matter = 31% True Protein
12% Fat / 86% Actual Dry Matter = 13% True Fat

Then Acana.
100% Dry Matter – 10% Moisture = 90% Actual Dry Matter
33% Protein / 90% Actual Dry Matter = 36% True Protein
18% Fat / 90% Actual Dry Matter = 20% True Fat

The nutritional Adequacy Statement is one of the more important statements too when looking at the labels it can impact your pet’s health if claims are made that it is nutritionally complete when the prodcut is not able to meet any of the requirements set out by the AAFCO. Think of the AACFO as the FDA for pet food. Look for statements like,

“…. is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO (Dog/Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles.”
“Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that …. provides complete and balanced nutrition.”

 Feeding Directions

At minimum, some where on the label should include wording such as “feed ___ cups per ___ pounds of body weight daily.” The feeding directions should be taken as rough guidelines, a place to start. Breed, temperament, environment, and many other factors can influence food intake. Dog food brands attempt to cover almost all scenarios by setting the directions for the most demanding of situation. The best suggestion is to offer the recommended amount at first, and then to increase or cut back as needed to maintain body weight in adults.

Understanding the requirements of a pet food label helps to ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are being met. The best advice I can give you is to monitor your dogs activity levels, and adjust the amount of food at feeding time. Or switch the food to something that offers higher or lower fat content depending on the situation. Our pets rely on us to provide them the best care and nutrition we can offer. Understanding the basics to dog food labels is just a small thing we can do in being a better pet parent.

Rebecca  Bone-icon