Doggie Ingredient Tuesday: Garlic

When I was looking into health and nutrition changes for my dog, I wanted to know what foods were ok for them to eat! This is harder to find out than I realized. Then if you do find out, you don't know why it is bad, or why it is good.

So I am going to do my best to help anyone else out, and then also learn more about different ingredients myself.

I am going to "try" to post about a new ingredient every Tuesday, until...I run out of ingredients I guess?

I will be using "Dr. Khalsa's Natural Dog: A Holistic Guide for Healthier Dogs" by Deva Khalsa, VMD as my primary source (seriously guys, GET THIS BOOK!). But I will also probably reference information I find from "Dogs Naturally Magazine" which I subscribe to and is fabulous!! Check into it, here. And any other reputable source I find online.

Today..........(drum roll....)       GARLIC!




So is it good or bad?
When I was going my research, I ran across A LOT of places that said "garlic is bad for your dog!" "garlic = dog killer" etc etc.

Come to find out, it CAN be true.......if over used. However, drinking too much water is fatal as well, but nobody would argue that water will kill you, or that it's bad for you.

To quote directly from Dr. Khalsa's book (because she just says it so well) "Research has shown that garlic has antifungal, antibiotic, antiviral , antiparasitic, and anticancer effects."

It just has to be in moderation. Too much garlic causes damage to red blood cells. So how much is too much? Basically you would have to feed your dog A TON of garlic. Something like 10 gloves / meal to make that kind of impact.

How to use it

Raw garlic is best. It is the allicin in garlic that can inhibit cancer formation and allicin is created when the garlic is freshly chopped or crushed. So take fresh raw garlic and either chop or mince or crush it, wait 10 minutes or so and then top of your dogs' food with it. Do not wait more than 20 minutes because it loses it's "oomph" when exposed to heat or air too long.

Although fresh is best, benefits can still be found in powdered or packaged garlic. The allicin may have been destroyed but garlic still helps flush toxins and has antioxidant powers therefore don't give up on garlic all together.

I use garlic in my dog treats. First of all, they add a wonderful smell and flavor. My dogs absolutely love the garlic treats. And mixed perfectly with some parmesan cheese....YUMMMMM!!! Smells like fettuccine!
Treats are a great way to incorporate some garlic in your dog's diet. Check mine out!


Good luck with garlic and let me know how you use it for your dog!




Dog Birthday Basket

I had the absolute pleasure of designing and creating my very first dog birthday basket (mine was actually a box,,but same diff).



I had the sweetest lady contact me about her dog, Bailey who was turning 2 and after many conversations, I found out he was a therapy dog. This holds a very special place in my heart. I trained a therapy dog, Boomer, when I was 16. Everyone has that one dog that stands out in their mind, that was "the best". Boomer was mine.

He came to my family one Saturday while we were all out doing yard work (yay family bonding!). Beautiful pure blood black lab! Since we live so close to a college campus, many times during the spring/summer dogs start showing up around town from where students bought them or got them for Christmas but then do not want them/can't take them home/they get too big etc. Boomer was no exception, he was a big guy......with an equally big heart!

He was perfect. I don't remember anything monumental that he did wrong. Even before training, he just wanted to learn, listen and be good. So I started training him and knew immediately I wanted to do therapy work with him. We passed with flying colors! I was so excited!

We were not able to even complete our first day of volunteer work before he was hit by a car on the interstate. One of our other dogs at the time loved to run away and explore, and he tragically happened to tag along this time.

All of that to say, I love therapy dog work and greatly admire the dogs and people who are involved in it. Therefore I wanted to make this birthday box extra special for Bailey!

After talking back and forth I was able to design this box especially for Bailey with only flavors, colors and shapes he likes!

Bailey loved blue, red and yellow!
I put it all in this box and tied it up with the prettiest red bow!



I was so happy to be able to do this for Bailey, I hope that he enjoys them and has a great 2nd birthday!

If you would like to talk to me about a birthday box/basket, I would love to design something with you!
email me: info@treatdreamsthedogbakery.com
or go to 
www.treatdreamsthedogbakery.com and see what we have!


Decoding Pet Food Ingredients

So what do you look for in a dog food? What do you not want to see?
From reading several articles and researching online and reading books, I have come up with information that has been helpful to me during my search for the perfect dog food!

The Bad News First:

"by-products"- what remains of the animal that can't be used for human consumption. (heads, feet, lungs, ligaments, fat, unborn babies etc).

anything other than the pure word "wheat" - other wise you will get bran and mills rather than the real deal.

same deal with "rice"- you want rice, but nothing else.

"natural"-beware of this word! the amount in the bag that is healthy is in such small amounts and the deal with this is that cooking and processing usually destroys anything that was of any benefit.

**Looking at the first five ingredients in the bag will be a helpful indicator of what is in the bag. Ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight. Look for whole foods to be listed.

meat "meal" - just think about this for a second.....take "meat" and bone and try to make meal from it. The definition: "rendered meal from animal tissue". What is rendering you ask? Good question! Webster's Dictionary defines it as " to melt down <render suet>also : to extract by melting<render lard>".  
So ya, boiling fat, yum. Also, it is worth mentioning, that this ingredient "meal"is what is being blamed for causing mad-cow disease. The use of dogs and cats, road kill etc used to be a very common practice, but is no longer as popular, but this is a very real fear!

"BHA or BHT"- they are common preservatives but are highly associated with liver damage, cancer, abnormalities etc.

"ethoxyquin" -also a preservative that has caused outrage among dog owners and was removed from most dog foods years ago but has a tendency to make reoccurrences.  It can cause caner, liver, kidney failures among many other things.

"propylene glycol" - another chemical preservative that causes skin problems!



THE GOOD!

"chicken, beef, lamb etc"- look for words that show a whole food has been used rather than a by-product or a meal.

vegetables!!!

fruit!!

--- Ya, the good is pretty simple! Think of everything that is good for your dog and there ya go! I am fixing to start posting every so often about different ingredients and their benefits for your dog, hopefully that will shed more specific light on "the good".

To get WAAAAYY more information on all this and more.....get "Dr. Khalsa's Natural Dog: A Holistic Guide for Healthier Dogs" by Deva Khalsa, VMD. Seriously...you will not regret it!






Why Go All Natural?

Instead of just selling all natural dog treats, I would like to do what I can to educate you on why it is important to care about your dog's eating habits. I am just like you. I love my dogs. I spend ridiculous amounts of money on their happiness and health, ridiculous amounts of time trying to care for them and please them and ridiculous amounts of time talking to them and treating them as if they were humans.

I love dogs. I truly believe they are a gift from God and I see everyday why He gave them to us. I believe they can touch a human soul sometimes in a way that nothing or nobody is able to do.

I love dogs so much that I love doing projects and having jobs that involve dogs. When I was in high school I worked at a veterinary clinic as a kennel attendant. I learned a lot about dogs' health as well as developing this level of care needed when dealing with sick dogs or dogs who were simply in an unfamiliar place. My family has also always rescued dogs when possible. Our first came to us, Boomer. The best dog in the world, I promise. A black lab, showed up at our door. We couldn't say goodbye to him. I trained him and he became a therapy dog. But before we were able to really be involved, he was hit by a car. Even with Boomer though, we went through our share of foster dogs. We saw one puppy get thrown from the window of a car, one dog we found at a park tied to a tree in the middle of the summer (she had mange) and last year we found a pit bull dodging cars in town. We kept all of them until we could find them forever homes.

So after this small bio of my involvement with dogs, I would say I had felt fairly confident and proud of my care for dogs and their well being. Until I began on this adventure and realized that I was a blind consumer so was slowly killing my dogs.

Now, before you write me off, let me tell you that I am not about to tell you to start buying chicken breasts to cook for your dog. My mission is to simply share with you what I have found regarding dog food/treats.

False Impressions: So basically we all think, and brands lead us to believe, that our dogs are getting vegetables,  quality meat and whole grains. Actually the opposite is true. The pet industry is actually an extension of the human and agriculture industries. What happens is that everything in slaughterhouses that is deemed "unfit for human consumption" is put into dog food. Which is kind of a brilliant idea right? Hooves, intestines, etc as well as diseased or cancer ridden animals and their parts which can not be used for human consumption, are not able to go to waste. They can still make a profit off of this waste by slapping a picture of a well groomed golden retriever with flowing hair on the front of a bag and calling it "quality dog food".  No wonder there are so many recalls on pet foods??

Bacteria: Another issue which has recently been revealed to me, is that bacteria is a major factor to consider when buying dry dog food. And I would keep this in mind no matter what brand of dog food you use. Apparently, when dry dog food is exposed to moisture of any kind (milk, water, juice etc) bacteria multiplies and has the greatest risk of making your dog sick. So keep that in mind!!

My Companion: My companion through this whole journey has been Dr. Khalsa, VMD. Ok, fine, I don't know her and she has no clue who I am, but she has a book " Dr. Khalsa's Natural Dog: A Holistic Guide for Healthier Dog" by Deva Khalsa, VMD. I highly highly recommend this book!!

It helps you understand more about food. She does not spend too much time going into what all is bad in dog food today because let's be honest, we all know what that generic packaged dog food is garbage and we feed it to our dogs every day.

She helps open your mind to what dogs can and cannot eat and how it benefits them! Have you ever stopped to think how crazy we are when we "don't feed dogs human food!" Somehow we think, they are only able to digest and handle processed and packaged foods and are not made to consume human food. Sometimes I get mad by how much I see I am influenced by marketing, advertising and corporate lies.

She also breaks down the factors in processed dog food that are ailing your dog and gives some remedies and prevention techniques to help out.

This book is just great. Although sometimes overwhelming with everything I could be doing to help my dog, I have to take it one step at a time.

Basic Principle: We need to wake up and know the truth behind the information we are fed from corporations. I think this is true in all aspects of life, not just with pets. But especially with pets, children and ourselves when it comes to food.
I have always heard it said that something like 80-90% of cancer can be prevented because of the lifestyle you choose (what you eat and how you live). That is mind-blowing! Apparently the same is true for dogs and that they receive their cancer from food. 

We all spend money on our dogs, we love them like family and spoil them rotten, so I don't think it is the money standing in the way of people improving their dog's diet. Like I said at the beginning, I don't expect you to convert to a raw food diet, cook your dog chicken and broccoli for dinner or brew them some tea to drink before bed, but I do think the reason is because people do not have the information.

I will do my best to help you understand as I am understanding. I do not have it figured out, but I am curious.

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.
Samuel Johnson 
 

Dehydrating Dog Treats



I have to admit that I have never known that such a thing as a "dehydrator" ever existed.

I guess I supposed that perhaps somehow dehydrated fruit and jerky and stuff was magically created, I don't know, I am not proud of this.

Even when starting Treat Dreams, I started by baking them and then serving them fresh, like a cookie. And just a few weeks ago I was hit over the head with this idea of dehydrating them.

It has been the best.....idea...EVER!

Why?
It takes all the extra moisture out of the treats so they last longer. Mold is caused by moisture, so less moisture = less risk for mold. = longer shelf life. Even if you do not have a business, or sell anything, if you are making them for yourself or for friends, they are so much easier to manage.
They do not crumble as much and retain their shape better.

I have been dehydrating left and right! It is so easy and so fun!

What kind of dehydrator?

I did a lot of researching into what dehydrator to get and everyone seemed to recommend NESCO American Harvest Food Dehydrator. So that is exactly what I got! I think it's called the FD-37. It has four trays. And being as knowledgeable about dehydrators as I have confessed to be, I knew nothing about what it meant having "4 trays".

So here is the scoop. I am able to dehydrate (depending on the size of your treat) approximately 4-5 pounds of 2 inch dog treats at a time. If I have my bigger treats in there, it is considerably less, probably half as much.

Not all treats are dehydrated equally

So when I did my looking into this online, I saw that people said anywhere from 4-8 hours for dehydrating dog treats, and some of them said they dehydrated theirs overnight!?

I did this.......and I had the hardest and most breakable dog treats you have ever seen your life.

FAIL...

            Look at moisture: Keep in mind that every single treat is different! I have one recipe that has A LOT of moisture in it, and it can take up to 12 hours to dehydrate while another recipe has very little moisture in it and takes maybe 2 hours max!


            Look at size: I have small bones that are 2 inches long and bigger treats that are 5 inches long and that makes a difference even if they are the same recipe. The thickness as well will make a difference.

How long do they dehydrate?

Such a good question and one I never found the answer to until I had cracked and crumbled so many treats and probably almost chipped the teeth of many dear furry friends of mine.

So what is a good test? Try them yourself!! I know this is crazy, you don't have to eat them, but seriously, try to just see how hard it is to bite on!

Also, try pressing on them, or squeezing them and see if they give any. My treats are really squishy right out of the oven (like cookies) so I know when they are dehyrated enough when they don't "give" any when I press on them.

      Remember the size of the dog: I did not think of this aspect of dehydrating either. I have a huge 110 pound lab that can eat anything, but I also have friends who have a miniature dachshund and they need to be able to eat them too! So you need to find the right balance.



How long will they last?

That depends on the treat, the recipe, how long you dehydrate etc.

I have a sample going right now in my kitchen. A regular sized bone, about 3-4 inches, of a typical pumpkin recipe, moderately thick, dehydrated for 4 hours. We are going on 4 weeks and they are looking great! I can still open the bag and they still smell fresh and look wonderful. They show no signs of mold and they aren't cracking or breaking!
Normally they wouldn't last more than 4-5 days without molding.

And if you are like me, you need to write everything down to be able to remember. So I created a document that helped me keep track of what I was dehydrating, what time it started and how long it took.

So I shall share it with you to help you out! HERE!

You can dehydrate so many more things than dog treats! And many things can be dehydrated and use as dog treats! (I'll talk more about that later!!)

Good luck!!

Chocolate Molten-lava Cakes



I believe that most people call these soufflés, but I call them molten-lava cakes. Someone is probably rolling their eyes at me right now because there is probably a clear and precise difference between the two, but all I know is it's really good so who cares what it's called!!

I have been making these for a long time and they are definitely a favorite among my friends and family. And they are pretty easy, quick and do not require too many ingredients.

Recipe- Serves 6

1 1/3 Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Butter

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

6 TBSP Flour

2 Egg Yolks

2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

You are supposed to use specific soufflé dishes, but a long time ago I planned to make these for Valentine's Day so I found these small heart shaped dishes that I used and still use. 

You need to grease the dishes/pans and place them on an air-bake cooking sheet. 

Microwave the chocolate and butter until it is melted. 

Stir in sugar.

Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk.

Stir in flour.

Pour batter into dishes.

Bake for 8 minutes. 
**The secret of these is that the middle of them remains "gooey". So I recommend keeping an eye on them after 6 minutes to make sure they cook around the edges but when you cut into them the "chocolate lava" spills out :)
It can change the way they cook depending on the pans you use as well as how full you fill the dishes. 

When the time is up, pull them out and slide them off the cooking sheet. The more they are exposed to the heat, the more they will cook. 

Ok, if you use a soufflé dish you are supposed to be able to eat it right out of the dish (I must try this) but I prefer my cute little heart dishes. In the case of my dishes, you have to run a knife around the edges of the dish, then turn the dish over and carefully dump the heart into a bowl or dish for serving. 

Then sprinkle with the desired amount of powdered sugar. I guess "less is more" like in fancy restaurants where they sprinkle powdered sugar on as a decoration, but I say less is less, so pour on the powdered sugar and enjoy!!!


Banana Pupcake with Peanut Butter Cinnamon Frosting

I guess it is no secret that I love baking. I love the look and smell of baked items of all kinds. Especially if I get to eat it when it's done! BONUS! But even if I don't it is so fun to make and decorate! I decorate all kinds of cakes when a family member's birthday rolls around, I'll have to showcase those later.

Well, I enjoy making pupcakes for my dogs. They love the variety of this dessert for special occasions (I call Monday night a special occasion because it's just a miracle that we made it through Monday!)

These would be way fun to make if it was your dog's birthday or perhaps you are hosting a dog birthday party and need some "cake"? Or maybe you just know a crazy dog lady who would enjoy one for her dog?

This is the same concept as giving your child a cupcake or chocolate cake for their birthday and watching them destroy it. Is the parent stoked to eat the cupcake? Well maybe, but mostly they are excited to take pictures and see the look on their child's face when the cupcake is presented. Same concept. Dog parents love watching the expressions and destruction of the cupcake by their dogs. It can be hilarious!

All that to say, here is my recipe for banana pupcakes (smell just like banana bread!!) with a peanut butter cinnamon frosting.


Recipe:


1/2 Cup Water


1 Whole Peels Banana

1/4 TSP Vanilla

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 TSP Baking Powder

1 Egg

1 TBSP Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together.

I used a small cupcake pan instead of the regular sized pans. I like the idea of a bite sized pupcake as opposed to a giant cupcake. Much cuter :)
This recipe made approximately 20 mini pupcakes. Feel free to double or triple the recipe to make however many you need. 
I baked them for 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees.




Peanut Butter Cinnamon Frosting Recipe

4 oz Non-Fat Cream Cheese

1 1/2 TSP Cinnamon

1/2 TSP Vanilla

1 TBSP Honey

1 TBSP Peanut Butter

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and spreadable. If you need, add more honey to make it creamier. 


I then put the frosting into a zip-loc bag and cut the corner off to be able to pipe through the bag onto my pupcakes. 

I then pressed one of my homemade dog treats onto the top and sprinkled some fresh cinnamon on top and voila! Perfection!


Mozzarella, Tomato, French Bread and Basil Pesto = Easy Deliciousness!

Am I the only one who seems to pin the pins on Pinterest that have no link? And they are typically recipes for the most delicious looking whatever and then you are left with incredible disappointment because you may never taste this amazing tantalizing morsel?

Sorry....drama...

Anywho, this very thing just happened to me a few days ago. So I just made up a recipe for it! Before you are too impressed, this recipe is for a glorified grilled cheese sandwich so don't get too impressed although for me, this is big news!

So the only "recipe" is for the basil pesto. Everything else is real simple..

French Bread
Tomatos
Mozzarella Cheese Slices
Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto: As far as this goes, I just really improvised and made it up...kinda. I used a basic recipe online to see what they put in it, but since I was only making one sandwich and wasn't sure if I would like it or not, I just threw some ingredients in a bowl and tried it, but it was DELICIOUS! So I will share with you what I "threw together"

Basil
Finely chopped almonds
Miracle Whip
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil
Garlic


I made just enough to make a paste, and just enough to go on 1-2 sandwiches. The beauty of this is you can add however much you want! Like garlic? Add more! Like parmesan cheese? Add more! 

I guess it goes without saying that I buttered my bread and then grilled it like a grilled cheese with all the goodies in the middle (cheese, tomato, pesto) until the bread turned golden and the cheese sizzled (about 10 minutes on medium). 

How do you personalized your pesto?

Photo Session....With A Beast...

So I wanted to test out my new camera by taking some good pictures of myself with Molly. I have no pictures of us together that aren't random iPhone quality pics. Simple right? Wrong.
I don't know how I seem to always forget that I live with a beast and although she is more than frequently adorable, she is also very often a mess! This resulted in me only liking 4 pictures from the whole session and the session only lasting about 30 minutes anyway....





My mistake for wearing a black shirt when I knew I would have to wrestling a 110lb blonde beast to make her pose in pictures............ = no close up shots that would show the hair on my shirt.

Four Ingredient, Ten Minute, BBQ Chicken Pizza


I have recently been introduced to the world of BBQ chicken pizza. I am a very original girl, and I typically stick to the originals, cheese, pepperoni, sausage or canadian bacon. But this stuff,, is GOOD! I have some warming in the oven as I speak!

Well, today, starving and in need of a quick meal. I had a brilliant thought: surely I could make bbq chicken pizza??

I did and it was DELICIOUS and SO EASY! I am ashamed of myself for not figuring this out sooner..

Here is what I did...

Four ingredients people...FOUR!

Chicken
BBQ Sauce
Pizza Crust
Cheese

That's it!

Chicken: I typically have some grilled chicken that I keep in the house. I try to cook 2-3 chicken breasts at a time and then cut it up and freeze it for instances just like this.

Pizza Crust: My pizza crust was just a store bought crust that I pulled out of the freezer.

BBQ Sauce  can be any sauce you like!

Cheese: I used a mexican cheese blend.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. All you do is spread the desired amount of BBQ sauce over the pizza crust. (I wish I had put more sauce on, but there is always a next time!) I had defrosted my chicken in the microwave and then just sprinkled the chunks over the pizza till it was adequately covered. Then I smothered it with cheese!
That's it! Done!
Put in the oven for 10 minutes and this is what came out...



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