I love to bake! It is almost like a meditation to me. Measuring, mixing, rolling it out and my house smelling wonderful is my happy place. You know what I like better? Baking with my dogs! They think it is the best thing ever. Mom gets out all the delicious things that they like, mixes them together, shapes them into delicious cookies and cooks them. What more could their furry little hearts want?
But, I know not everybody loves to bake (I don’t get it but I know it’s true). This recipe is super easy and you don’t have to try to find weird ingredients or special equipment (well, I had cute dog themed cookie cutters, but that isn’t required). So here you go
Easy! Step one, get out all the stuff. The good news is there are only 4 ingredients and you probably already have them.
Step two, measure the stuff and dump it in a bowl. I used a mixer, but you don’t have to, so whatever bowl you have is fine. One quick trick for measuring peanut butter – spray your measuring cup with cooking spray first. The peanut butter won’t stick and you can easily slide it into your bowl. Step three, mix it up. You can either use your stand mixer, hand mixer or just a spoon.
Step 4, dump it on a lightly floured surface and roll into a flat sheet about a quarter of an inch thick. You could also get away with breaking off small pieces, rolling them into a ball in your hand and flattening with the bottom of a glass.
Step 5, use a cookie cutter (or a knife) to cut shapes and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet (if you don’t have parchment, spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray and place directly on the pan).
Step 6, bake the cookies for 18 minutes. Your house will smell like peanut butter cookies, so you might want to warn your family about trying to eat one (it’s not as good as it smells!). And the final step? Cool the cookies, and treat your furry baby!
Ready for the recipe? Here you go:
Peanut Butter Dog Treats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (regular is fine if you don’t have whole wheat)
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter (sugar free is fine just check that there isn’t any xylitol added as a sweetener, it is toxic to dogs)
- ¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
- ¼ cup beef stock (chicken stock is a good substitute)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (I used a stand mixer, but mixing by hand is fine)
Once combined, press dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface.
Roll with a rolling pin (or you can use the glass trick from above) until about ¼ inch thick.
Cut into whatever shape you like. (I had cute bone and heart shapes that I found on Amazon)
Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or lightly greased cookie sheet if you don’t have parchment)
Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Most dog owners know to be careful about feeding their dog certain foods such as chocolate, onions or grapes, but did you know there are plants that are commonly found in and around your home that are poisonous to your dog. Here is a short list of some common plants to make sure your dog doesn’t have access to:
- Aloe Vera – The plant we humans use to soothe sunburn or calm a rash on our skin can cause vomiting, diarrhea and tremors in your dog.
- Azalea – We love our azaleas in Houston. We celebrate their vibrant colors and abundant flowers every spring, but if your dog eats them, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, coma, cardiovascular collapse and even death.
- Dieffenbachia - This common house plant is found in many homes and offices but can cause burning of lips, mouth and tongue, drooling, vomiting and trouble swallowing if your dog nibbles on them
- Philodendron – Philodendron is a favorite of landscapers. Its big shiny leaves look beautiful in a backyard. If your dog ingests it, you will be dealing with swelling and burning of the mouth and tongue, digestive issues, spasms and seizures.
- Sago Palm – Another common landscape fixture, Sago Palm is everywhere you look. It is extremely toxic for your dog, though. Vomiting, diarrhea and liver failure can result of your dog ingests Sago Palm. This one is so toxic that there is an extremely low chance of your pet surviving if they eat it.
If you have these plants in or around your home, consider removing them as soon as possible for the sake of your pet. Dogs are not always discerning about what they eat, as most pet owners know, it’s not worth taking the chance that they could be seriously injured or die after eating a plant in their own backyard.
The street behind my house a few days after Hurricane Harvey
It’s hurricane season in our area again. If you were in Houston for Harvey, you may be like me and still be experiencing some stress over the chance of another storm like that. Harvey changed my thoughts on what I will do when future threats occur in our area. I have a new plan which is basically to get the hell out of Dodge! I don’t want to live through another one of those, but they are a fact of life if you live on the Texas coast. So, I have come up with a list of steps you can take to prepare yourself and your pets, in the event of a hurricane threat this season.
- Make a plan – decide in advance if and at what point you will evacuate and where you will go and then stick to your plan. It is difficult to make decisions in a hurry, so take some time now to map out your plan. Leave yourself plenty of time to evacuate, if that is your plan. Traffic can get heavy as people try to leave town. Your pet may not be able to tolerate long periods stuck in a car in traffic.
- When making an evacuation kit, remember to include items that your pet will need – have plenty of food, water, litter and litter box and any medication your pet may need ready to go. If you take canned food, make sure to have a can opener in your kit. Take more than you think you will need. Hurricanes usually come and go quickly, but the damage can shut the city down for a week or more. Take your pet’s bowls, bed and favorite toys. They will pick up on your stress; it helps them to have familiar items with them.
- Microchip your pet – I went to a temporary shelter to take pictures of animals that had been picked up in the aftermath of Harvey. There were just so many! The first thing rescuers are going to do is check for a microchip. It is the fastest way to get your animal back home if disaster strikes and you are separated. Tags are great (and if your phone number is on them, you may get a call to come get your baby), but collars slip off or tags get snagged on things and left behind. A microchip will always be with your pet. Microchip them and make sure the registration stays up to date.
- Evacuate when told to – If you choose to ride out the storm at home, you must leave when authorities tell you to. My condo is right on the edge of the flooding that occurred because of the Addicks Dam release after Harvey. I watched people being rescued in boats out of their homes after refusing to leave. Imagine having to do that with your pet! My dogs would be small terrors at that point and scared out of their furry little minds. You don’t want to get separated from your animal, so be sensible about seeking shelter early.
- Know which shelters accept pets – Do your research! Not all shelters are set up to accept pets. You want your evacuation to go as smoothly as possible. What are you going to do if you show up to a shelter and they tell you your animal is not allowed? Also, make sure your animal is crated. Most shelters will have that requirement and it is safer for you and your animal.
- Stay calm – you know your pet is sensitive to your emotions. They can tell when you are upset and afraid. They need you to be calm and reassure them. They have no way of understanding what is happening, so be gentle with them.
I’m hoping, along with everyone who experienced Harvey, that we never have another hurricane here in Houston, but if that is not the case, I hope that these steps will help you be prepared to do everything possible to stay safe and keep your pets safe at the same time.
Two years ago today, I lost my heart dog. She was six and a half years old and she died following complications after TPLO surgery to correct a torn ligament in her knee. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. The surgeon and staff at the orthopedic veterinary practice where she had the surgery were top notch. My normal vet who diagnosed the injury and who treated her after was also top notch. She had a reaction to the antibiotics and nothing could be done to save her.
At the time, I felt a ripping in my chest as my heart broke. I still have that dog shaped hole in my heart where she lives. I’m sure that hole will be with me for the rest of my life. Sometimes you only have that one dog that completely changes your life and makes it better by their presence in it. I was blessed beyond belief to have been given another heart dog in my girl, Roxanne. I’m positive Zen sent her to me knowing that I needed that in my life.
I’m not writing this post to bum you out. But, please, please, please love your babies while you have them. Play with them. Give them all the love and attention they need. Take care of them as they age. They don’t stay with us forever. Love them the same way they love you. Your life will be rich beyond belief if you do.
With summer vacation season here, I thought it would be a good time to talk about travelling with dogs (most people are not brave enough to travel with cats, but if your cat is one of those super outgoing kitties, go for it). So here are a few tips to help you make your trip as easy as possible for you and your pet.
- Have a plan – Know where you are planning to go, stay, eat and hang out. If you are a person who likes to get in the car with no set schedule and see where you end up, it might be better to leave your pet at home. Travelling with pets comes with some challenges. They need a place to stay and not every hotel, B&B or guest house is OK with animals. Some charge extremely high fees (which I secretly suspect are to discourage animal lovers from bring their pets) and many just don’t allow them at all. Have you checked for pet friendly restaurants or made other plans for meal time? What are you going to do when you get there? You can’t dump your best friend somewhere and then take off to see the sights. So planning your trip is essential. There are some great apps you can download that can help with all of the above. The one I use is called Bring Fido and is a great tool.
- Make reservations – After you plan out your itinerary, call and make reservations. You don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere with no place to stay because they didn’t have any room left. If you need some ideas of places to stay, check out my post from a few weeks ago.
- Pack a bag for your pet – You packed all your stuff now don’t forget your pets stuff. Taking things like their favorite toys and their bed with help them feel comfortable in a new environment. Remember to bring the essentials as well. Enough of their normal food (you don’t want tummy trouble away from home), their bowls (food and water) and plenty of bags to clean up after them is a must.
- Make sure to take lots of breaks – Nobody enjoys being cooped up in a car when they need to pee! Give your dog plenty of breaks to take care of business and get some exercise before getting back on the road. Most rest stops have grassy areas that are large enough to serve your purpose.
- Stick to a normal schedule – Dogs are creatures of habit. They eat, sleep, walk and play at pretty much the same time every day. Try to maintain their normal schedule as much as possible. It will help your dog stay relaxed and happy (not to mention help keep their digestive system happy).
- Make sure your dog is microchipped – This one is so important! Dogs are not always comfortable out of their home environment. A frightened dog may bolt before you know what is happening. If your animal is chipped, you have the best chance of getting them home. While we’re talking about it, keep your dog on a leash in an unfamiliar area. There is nothing that will ruin a fun vacation faster than the loss of your beloved pet.
- Last but not least – Be considerate of the area you are visiting. Pick up after your dog, keep barking to a minimum when in hotels, and don’t allow your dog to run up to or jump on other people enjoying the area. Be a good ambassador for bringing your pet places and more places will allow pets to be part of the scene.