Homemade Dog Treats

photo 5 (5)I like to think that I’m a pretty experienced baker but have never tried making treats for my dogs. I found a couple of good, healthy, and potentially grain free recipes to try out.  So for this trial round I’m going to try a peanut butter sweet potato treat that makes roughly 2 dozen cookies.

Peanut butter sweet POTATO

With this recipe takes about 30-40 minutes to cook and about a 10 min prep time.  The ingredients you are going to need are:

photo 1 (5)3 sweet potatoes (you can use canned if you don’t want to bake some potatoes)

2 eggs

1 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten free flour

1/2-2/3 cups of peanut butterphoto 2 (6)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then while your oven is preheating take your sweet potatoes and with a fork poke a bunch of holes in them. I microwaved mine for about 1 1/2 mins (basically you want to microwave them till they are soft). While the potatoes are in the microwave, grab a small- medium mixing bowl throw in your flour, eggs, and peanut butter.

Once the potatoes are done, I decided to cut mine in half and scooped out the insides just to make it easier on myself. Then mix in into the bowl with all your other ingredients. Now its time to combine! I just used my hand but if you don’t want to get dirty then you can use a stand mixer, hand mixer, spoon, whisk, etc. photo 3 (4)

Put the dough on to a heavily floured surface and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Then using any cookie cutter shape, cut out the dough and place onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 30-35 minute and out on a cooling rack. The cookies will come out soft but they do harden as they cool. Please note these cookies will not be your traditional hard cookies, they come out softer.

My boys loved these treats! Plus they were super easy to make. Definitely a great recipe to try if it’s your first time trying your hand at making dog cookies.
photo 4 (5)

New Year’s Resolutions for Fido

At the beginning of every year, we make a pact with ourselves to make the next year better than the last. We pick a resolution and vow to stick to it in order to make a positive change in our life – but, what about your furry companions? Believe it or not, your pup probably has a very similar list of things that they would like to change about their lives (even if they don’t know it!), so when making your New Year’s Resolution for 2012, be sure to include one for your dog as well. By helping your pet improve their life, you may also be completing your goal as well!

Resolution #1: Learn a new skill

Dogs crave mental stimulation, and what better way to give their brain some exercise than to teach them some new commands? Is your pup pulling on leash? Jumping all over your guests? Peeing in the house? Then you will be getting a two-for-one special when you teach your dog a fun “trick” (because that is what all dog training commands basically are!) that will not only give him a way to release some mental energy, but also improve your relationship. A good mannered dog means less stress not only for you, but for Fido as well.

Resolution #2: Spend more time with friends & family

Dogs are social animals that crave companionship not only with people, but with their fellow dogs as well. Making sure that Fido has regular play dates with his doggie pals will not only tire him out, but also give him to opportunity to be a “real” dog. Keeping dogs socialized, especially from a young age, lessens the likelihood of dog-to-dog issues. Also, studies have shown that having a dog lengthens your life, so grab Fido’s favorite toy and have a ball!

Resolution #3: Get healthy

Like humans, dogs need a balanced diet and regular exercise to stay in the best shape possible and live a happy life. Take a look at the ingredients in your dog’s food and make sure that the first thing on the list is an actual protein (“byproducts” don’t count!), and cut out all but the occasional table scrap. Daily walks, runs, or fetch sessions will keep your pup in tip-top shape, give them more energy, and let them live longer lives. Keeping a healthy pet requires a little more time on your part, but your wallet will thank you when you don’t have to make quarterly visits to the vet!

Resolution #4: Help others

It is always rewarding to give back to those that are less fortunate than ourselves, and dogs feel the same way! Don’t keep those big brown eyes and sweet personality all to yourself – sign Fido up to visit your local hospital, special needs school, or assisted living facility to brighten someone’s day. Having a doggie companion while undergoing or recovering from a procedure  can serve as a distraction and make pain more bearable, or help a shy child feel confident enough to read out-loud. To your dog, giving is just as fun as receiving!

Resolution #5: Lose weight

Obesity is a growing and serious problem among dogs, just as it is with people. Overweight dogs have shorter lives, less energy, and are more prone to arthritis. Losing weight is the number one resolution among humans, so take Fido with you on your morning walk or jog and you’ll be fulfilling not one, but two goals! Getting back into shape is always easier with a partner to keep you company and occasionally drag you out of bed on those cold mornings! Getting fit with your dog will not only help your figure, but strengthen your relationship with Fido as well.

Whichever New Year’s resolution (or resolutions!) you choose, we wish you the best success! Even if your resolution isn’t on this list, we hope that your positive change in Fido’s life lasts beyond the upcoming twelve months and transforms into a healthy and happy habit. Make 2012 the year that you and Fido work not only on yourselves, but also on your bond with each other as well. Happy New Year!

Fit’n’Furry’s Canine Summer Safety Tips

Keeping your canine companion cool during these hot summer months is crucial to your pet’s health.  Dogs are very susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion, especially those “short-faced” breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs because of their vulnerable breathing ability. A canine’s only way of releasing heat is through the bottoms of their paws, where the sweat glands are located, and by panting. Even with these unique cooling systems, when temperatures climb, your pet may become overwhelmed, especially in humid conditions.

So what happens when dogs get too hot? The most common result is heatstroke. Symptoms of canine heatstroke can include an increase in heart rate, labored breathing, purplish gum color, weakness resulting in collapsing, and even seizures, coma, or sudden death can be an onset of heatstroke. Most cases involving canine heatstroke are a result of confinement to a non-ventilated area, such as a car. Temperatures inside a vehicle even with the windows rolled down can rise to above 120 degrees.

Heatstroke can also occur due to over-activity on hot days. The excitement of chasing a ball or a Frisbee outweighs everything else in a dog mind. Your dog may not know when it’s time to stop playing and take a break, so be aware of your dog’s activity and breathing.

Also keep in mind that you are wearing shoes to protect your feet from the hot surfaces on the ground but your pooch isn’t and the severe heat of pavement or sand on a hot summer day can be very damaging to their little pads. Most pet stores or boutiques will carry adjustable dog booties that come in different sizes to protect your dog’s paws. Dr. Nancy Kay, author of Speaking for Spot, suggests going for walks in the early morning or evening hours when temperatures are generally cooler.

Another suggestion Martha Stewart makes is putting Vaseline on the pads of your pooch to reduce its heat level.

Summertime and playtime go hand-in-hand for both humans and their beloved furry pals. We especially want to take them everywhere with us on our exciting adventures, but be advised that the best place for your pet is indoors. You may want to consider taking your canine companion to an indoor doggie play area where temperatures are controlled and your dog can be monitored. This would provide your pet with some fun exercise without getting overheated or burning their paws.

Be sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, cool water throughout the day and is kept in a cool area, preferably in an air-conditioned home or facility. Sunscreen is also important for our furry friends, especially dogs with white noses and/or markings. When slathering on the sunscreen, be sure to put some on those white spots of your pooch.

Here’s to a cool, comfortable, fun-for-all canine summer!

FitnFurry Asks, “When Is The Time To Say Goodbye To A Faithful Friend?”

To put your pet down, or to not put your pet down, that is the extremely difficult question many of us pet owners are faced with at some time or another.  Some questions to ask yourself are: Is my pet suffering or in pain in any way?  How has his/her quality of life changed? Is my pet exhibiting severe or dangerous behavior? Ask yourself these questions and I feel you might have an answer to our first question.

Everyone has their own role in a household, including your pet. Both you and your pet know what role they are there to fulfill.  Dr. Nancy Kay, author of “Speaking for Spot” suggests these questions: “Does my pet still respond enthusiastically to the things that would normally excite him/her?  Do the good days still seem to outnumber the bad?  When you get down on the ground and go eyeball-to-eyeball with your dear companion, do you still see that familiar spark in his/her eyes that let you know that he/she wants to keep on going?  Do you sense your pet is ‘hanging in there’ and putting on his/her game face in order to take care of you? Your always-loyal best friend may feel that he/she doesn’t have ‘permission to pass away’ because you, his/her most beloved human, aren’t quite ready to let go.”

A lot of times your pet will know when it’s time to go. They might even start distancing themselves from the family. Such as if your pet sleeps with you at night, he/she might start sleeping in another part of the room or house. Pack animals are known to separate themselves from the pack if they’ve become injured or weak to help prevent the stronger pack leaders from being hurt by protecting them.

The decision to put a pet to sleep is always difficult and intensely personal.  In most cases you will probably have some time to weigh your options and to speak with family and friends, unless there is some urgency, such as an untreatable injury or illness.  It’s a heart breaking experience for all pet owners, but surrounding yourself with people who knew and also loved your pet can bring a sense of closure.  Remembering your pet in a positive way and all the loving moments you shared together can be a comforting exercise to do with your family, especially with younger children.  Let them know that Buddy isn’t suffering anymore, that he’s no longer in distress, and encourage them to think of all the fun/happy times.  Celebrate the times your family shared with Buddy and always remember the unconditional love you and your family experienced during Buddy’s life. If you have loved and lost a pet, I wish you serenity and acceptance over the sadness of your pet’s passing.

FitnFurry is Wild about Doggie Daycare!

There is nothing that can take the place of quality time you spend with your furry companion, going for long walks, throwing the ball or running on the beach but we don’t always have the time they need .  Some might argue that if you don’t have the time you shouldn’t have a dog but I disagree.  It is possible to be a good, responsible pet owner even if you have to work and take care of a family. Luckily, there are  pet care facilities that offer services to help you keep your dog socialized and exercised and won’t break the bank!

Doggie daycare facilities are popping up all over the country. A good doggie daycare facility will  require an  interview where they will get proof of current vaccinations and make sure the dog is not aggressive towards other dogs. This is for the health and safety of all the dogs who participate.  It is normal for a dog to be a little shy at first, especially if it’s a new experience but once they get  used to it you can bet they will be excited to come and play with all their friends. You will be able to drop them off at your convenience and when you pick them up they will be happy and tired! There are indoor facilities that are great when it’s raining, snowing or just plain too hot outside for the dogs to be comfortable. They also lessen the chance for fox-tails, flees and ticks or other hazardous things they might get into.  It’s an extremely beneficial service to help you raise a social, well adjusted animal.

If you are interested in having your dog participate in doggie daycare take the time to research  a few different facilities in your area. Ask to have a tour and try to get to know the dog handlers a little bit to make sure it is a good fit. Once you find a place that works for you, bring them to play regularly and ask them to give you updates on how your dog is doing. Some doggie daycares even have live web-cams where you can watch your dog play from work or home. Take advantage of these places who are here to serve you and your pets and make life a little easier.

FitnFurry says Enjoy The Holiday Season With Your Pets!

We think of  our pets as a part of the family so when the Holidays come around it’s great to be able to include them in the fun.  Keep in mind that during this busy time there are things we should share with our furry friends and things that are better off left to their humans.  Here are a few ideas to keep them safe and enjoy their company in the hustle and bustle of the season.

It’s the time of year for parties which means lots of food and drinks and people.  There are foods that are perfectly fine for humans but can be very dangerous for your pets.  To avoid any unwanted trips to the vet  stay away from rich foods which can cause pancreatitis or other illnesses.  If you are going to give them some turkey,  make sure you take off the skin and don’t give them any gravy or mashed potatoes.  Also, never give them sweets, chocolate or caffeine.  If you keep extra dog treats around for the Holidays they will be just as happy with those and you won’t have to worry about them getting sick.

There are also decorations and plants that can be harmful to your pets this time of year.  You may already know that poinsettias are poisoness to pets but so are azaleas, philodendrun and cranberries.  They can also get sick from drinking Christmas tree water, especially  if you treat the water to preserve the tree.  You can try spraying the area with a citrus scent to keep them out of harms way.  Ornaments and lights  can also be tempting toys for your pet so it’s best to try to keep them out of reach if possible.  Also, If you wrap candy or chocolate as gifts do not put them under the tree or leave any baked goods on counter tops where they may be too tempting.

There are some great ways  to include your pets in the Holiday fun that are easy and inexpensive.  You can take them on nice walks to enjoy the festive lights and decorations in your neighborhood.  You can have fun dressing them in holiday sweaters and collars or get their picture with Santa!  You may even want to give them their own stocking  with some special dog treats or toys so they have something to keep them busy while you are eating and opening presents. 

This is the perfect time to get them spruced up at the groomers so you can show them off to friends and family when they come to visit.  You can even have the groomers dye their fur to look more festive for the season!

How ever you choose to celebrate the season don’t forget to include your pets and do what you can to keep them safe and healthy.  After all, they are a part of the family and absolutely love  any and all attention no matter what time of year.  Enjoy the holidays and stay safe!

You’re Going On Vacation but What About Me? Can I Go to FitnFurry?

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It’s the time of year when we are making plans to get out of town to celebrate with friends and family but what about our furry family members that can’t always come along for the ride?  The main thing to remember is that you have options.

If taking  your pets with you is not an option you can find a reputable in-home caregiver to come and feed and walk your  pets while you are away. Make sure they are bonded and insured and most of all make sure you feel comfortable with having someone come into your home and that your pets will get the care they need.

Another option is leaving your pet with a professional caregiver.  Boarding facilities can be a reliable choice when you are away.  Most places are reasonably priced and well equipped to give the necessary care your pet needs.  It is always a good idea  to check out a few different options  and find one that is the best fit for you and your pet.  Places are popping up all over the country that are not your standard “kennels”.  There are all inclusive pet resorts that can offer training and grooming while they are boarding so you can go on your vacation and when you pick up your furry friend they will be well mannered and looking great!

If you are home for the holidays you may still want to board your pets for a day or two or drop them off for some doggie daycare.  With the hustle and bustle of the season doggie playtimepeople may be coming and going more than usual which increases the chances of having a lost pet.  Also, there are many poisonous things for your pet to get into such as poinsettia plants, christmas tree water or turkey bones.  When our schedules get hectic our animals sometimes suffer so why not drop them off for some doggie playtime while you’re doing your shopping or entertaining.  Make the holidays fun for everyone including your furry family members!

FitnFurry Looks at Leash Aggression in Dogs

100_2245 There is almost nothing worse than having an uneasy feeling when another dog comes to meet your dog. If you have a dog that has displayed aggression towards other dogs or even people when it’s on a leash it’s important to know what you can do to manage the situation.

There are many reasons that dogs become aggressive and they should be individually assessed by an experienced trainer before starting any “treatment”.  Once a dog displays this behavior it usually means something has already happened to cause them to react this way.  It could be something as simple as the dynamics changing within your household, a dog or human moving in or out, or a traumatic event like being attacked by another dog. The key is how we react to the behavior and understanding  that we may not be able to completely resolve the issue but we can manage it and not make it worse.

One of the most important things is to know your dog’s body language and how to respond to signals.  They need to feel that you are in complete control at all times.  If you are nervous, tense or fearful they will pick up on that and be much more prone to react adversely.  Putting them in situations where they succeed and using positive reinforcement as much as possible can help break bad behaviors.  Be careful using harsh corrections with your dog as they can back-fire, making matters worse.  Try to avoid using prong collars or choke chains because they may associate the pain and this may cause more aggression.  Gentle leaders or martingale collars are more effective.  It takes a lot of effort on your part to recondition your dog and still you must never assume that your dog will not have setbacks.

One thing you can try is finding a spot about 25 feet from where other dogs will be walking by and sit with your dog with some very tasty treats like pieces of hot dog or tasty meat.  Every time another dog comes into view make eye contact with your dog and start feeding the treats and praising. When the other dog is far enough away or out of sight, stop the feeding and praise. You should do this for about 30 minutes several times a week until you notice a change in the behavior.  Eventually you can start to  walk your dog at a distance and repeating the same rewards. The goal is to have your dog completely focused on you and what you want them to do whenever they see another dog.  You want to create a new response. Once you start seeing the desired results you should keep up with this exercise as often as possible. You can give treats a little less every time but keep up with the praise.  If you are consistent you should see results in as little as a few weeks.

Leash aggression can usually be controlled through proper techniques. It is important to be consistant with training remaining in control at all times. Remember, your dog picks up on how you are feeling so try not to get nervous or overreact when you see other dogs coming. Be calm and give praise whenever possible. If you need help, seek advice from a reputable animal behaviorist. The goal is to enjoy your pet and the time you have together.

Last Chance to Donate to the “No Fleas” Flea Market at FitnFurry!

daycare30_stillGetting Excited!

There is only one week left to donate items! The excitement is catching on as many of you have brought in your donations. Great stuff is beginning to come in daily; don’t miss out on the fun and prizes! Make sure your friends and neighbors know about this event; they may have some things they’d like to donate too and you’ll benefit from bringing them in!

What We’ve Received so Far:

Toys, collars, harnesses, leashes, bowls, clothes, beds, doggie back-packs, designer doggie carriers, tire biter toys, a dog house and flea medication. These great donations will provide revenue for our furry friends at the Petaluma Animal Shelter and the Sonoma Humane Society!

What We Still Need:

We need many more donations to make this a success. We could use more crates, beds, slightly used leashes and collars, harnesses, doggie gates, dog or cat bowls, kitty equipment, blankets, toys for dogs or cats and flea medications.

When You Give, Fit’n’Furry Will Give Back to You!

Our wonderful donors have been drawing  from our “Dog House” of prizes. Among the prizes are:No Flea Drawing

~ 1 night of boarding for a dog, cat or bird

~Pampered Nail trim for dog or cat

~A luxurious dog bath

~Great apparel-Fit’n’Furry hats

~A fun-filled day of daycare for your pet

Remember when you bring in a new visitor who donates something you will receive $5 in “Bark Bucks”. If this new visitor becomes a client you will receive a $20 credit on your account once they use our services.

We want to be able to sponsor and give back to two of the organizations that do so much for ‘homeless’ pets. Please help us as we reach out to support them. You can make a difference so please tell everyone you know about this event and help make it a success!!

Thank you for your help. Please keep those donations coming in!

Donations accepted at Fit’n’Furry until October 17th.

The ‘No Fleas’ Flea Market will be held on Saturday October 24th from 9am to 3pm.

Our trainer, Ina, will be there from 2 pm to 3 pm to give some FREE training tips.  There will also be a representative from the Petaluma Animal Shelter & the Sonoma Humane Society.

FitnFurry Asks a Veterinarian About Dental Care

pittyWHAT’S IN YOUR PET’S MOUTH?

Do you regularly look inside your pet’s mouth?  Would you be able to identify a problem if you see one?  Being aware of what your pet’s teeth and gums should look like may help you identify a problem early.  Dental disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in small animals, affecting about 75% of dogs and cats by the time they’re only 3 years old.  Without regular home and professional care, bacteria and plaque accumulates leading to not only bad breathe but also gingivitis.  Left untreated, this can result in periodontal disease includi ng gingival recession, enamel erosion and root abscess.  In extreme cases, bacteria from your pet’s infected mouth can get into the bloodstream and may cause debilitating systemic disease in the heart, liver, and kidneys.  Fortunately, as for your own oral health care, serious problems are preventable with good oral hygiene habits, regular dental exams, and prompt treatment.  Staying on top of your pet’s oral health will not only improve their quality of life, it can also prolong their life.

It would be n ice if your pet could tell you when they had oral health problems.  Instead, they often mask their discomfort, so it’s important for you to learn how to look for problems yourself.  Gently pick up your pet’s lips and simply look at the teeth and gums.  If your pet’s teeth are discolored, if the gums are puffy, bright red, recessed, or bleeding, your pet probably has gingivitis and may be well on its way to more serious periodontal disease.  Difficulty eating, excessive drooling, putrid breath and loose teeth are also signs of advanced problems that may result in tooth loss or worse.

It is never too late to begin good oral health habits for your pet!  Start today by having your pet’s mouth and teeth examined and continue every 6 – 12 months.  Your veterinarian will be happy to teach you how to properly perform preventive maintenance and work with you to achieve the highest level of oral health for your pet. With regular attention, your pet will not only tolerate dental homecare, but will enjoy the extra attention!

Don’t forget about the “No Flea’s” Flea Market at Fit’n’Furry! This is a benefit for the Petaluma Animal Shelter and the Sonoma Humane Society. Fit’n’Furry is collecting pet related donations that will be sold “Flea Market’ Style on October 24th in which all proceeds go to these great organizations. You can help by donating your slightly used  beds, leashes, collars, cratsadshelterdoges etc. by October 17th or by coming down and buying something on the day of the event. Please spread the word and help us help these very important animal-care facilities!