Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spot Goes Back to School- for training

What most people don’t realize is that training is a constant work in progress.  Dogs need that regular mental simulation, structure, and reminder of their doggy manners.  But their training doesn’t have to end at basic training.  You can continue their education through other training programs to keep them on their toes or to simply make your life easier with a better behaved dog.
5 Alternative Training Options to Know About
1.      Canine Good Citizen (CGC)- Started by the AKC in 1989, the CGC is a two-part program intended to reward dogs for having good manners at home and in the community.  This program works with dog owners on training dogs to display socially acceptable behaviors and then testing those dogs on the behaviors they learned.  The items dogs are taught and tested on are: Accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, welcoming grooming and examinations from strangers (vets, groomers, etc.) and the owner, walking on a loose lead, walking calmly through a crowd, sitting on command and staying in place, coming when called, reacting to another dog, reacting to distraction, and calmly waiting during separation from owner.  There is a puppy version of this test for dogs aged 12 months and younger.  The S.T.A.R Puppy program is easier but the dog will have to test again as an adult.  Many owners complete the CGC program as a prerequisite to therapy dog certification.  For more information about the CGC program, check out the AKC website  
2.      Therapy dogs- Therapy dogs are volunteers at facilities like hospitals and rest homes to help patients (and the like) experience the joy, love, and other benefits from interacting with an animal.  As you can imagine, it takes a very calm and well-balanced dog in these situations and is therefore not a job for just any dog.  According to author and trainer Kathy Diamond, “Some will learn with adequate practice, and some will not.  You really don’t know which type of dog you have until you do the training and see the results.” A therapy dog must be able to under control at all times when working.  He needs to be comfortable with strangers coming up to him and touching him.  If he overreacts or becomes really defensive he will not make a good therapy dog.  Becoming a registered therapy dog requires the dog to pass a therapy dog certification test.  For more information on therapy dog certification, check out the Therapy Dogs International website.  
3.      Agility/Disc Dogs/Flyball/Dock Diving-  Training isn’t always all work and no play.  These four dogs sports are great ways to keep the dog active and mentally stimulated while building a bond between human and dog.
Agility is a dog sport where a handler directs a dog (off leash and without incentives) through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. 
Disc Dogs (a.k.a Frisbee Dogs) is a sport where dogs and their handlers compete in events such as distance catching and freestyle catching (which is a practiced routine). They prefer the term “Disc” because “Frisbee” is a trademark. 
Flyball is a dog relay race in which four dogs compete on a team, each jumping over four hurdles then catching a fly ball before returning to the start line.  The team is judged on their ability to have all four dogs run the track without any errors. 
And lastly, Dock diving is a dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping off a dock into a body of water.  The dogs are judged on either distance or height of the jump.

4.      Weight pulling- Weight pulling can be a great training option for stronger working breeds.  It is a competitive sport where dogs compete in pulling the most weight and pulling the most weight per pound (weight pulled compared to their body weight).  Dogs compete against other dogs in their weight class, usually 15- 25lbs per class.  All weight pulls start at the lowest weight or an empty cart and the dog must pull the weight the full length of the track in a given time frame.  If the dog passes, he moves on to the next round with increased weight increments (which depend on the size of the dog). For more information on weight pulling, check out  
5.      Police academy- While a lot of K9 police training is reserved for the actual police dogs, there are classes available for everyday citizens and their dogs. This type of training is an excellent way to get your dog thinking and listening.  These training programs teach obedience, protection, tracking, and detection which help your working dog feel useful and help you feel in control.

A short list of local training facilities to help start your search:
Adlerhorst International, Inc. 3951 Vernon Ave., Jurupa Valley, Ca 92509  (951) 685-2430 (Police K-9 Training) 
Dog Etc.  Classes in Anaheim (714)393-0432 (CGC & Agility training)
Jump Start Dog Sports 4631 Valley View Ave., Yorba Linda, CA 92886  (714) 985-1555 (Disc & CGC training)
K-9 Companions 13703 JJ Lane, Perris, Ca 92570  (951) 780-5810 (Advanced Obedience, Agility, & Service Dog training)
K-9 Disc Thrills in Riverside (951) 288-PUPS (7877) or (951) 776-2221 (Disc dog & Agility training)
PAWS Pet Assisted Therapy in Orange County (714) 374-7738 (Therapy Dog Training)
Sirius K9 Academy 3920 Peospect Ave., Yorba Linda, Ca 92886 (714) 296-9714 or (951) 272-1364  (Advanced Obedience, Agility, & Therapy Dog training)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spot Goes Back to School- with the dog walker

Because dog daycare may not be for everyone, there are other options available for pet care.  If you work long days and want your dog to get a break somewhere in the middle, a dog walker may be the best option for you.  The dog walker can take your pup out during the day; give her a nice potty break and some exercise while relieving you of the stress and guilt you might experience when thinking about your dog being stuck at home all day. So how does one find the right dog walker for their needs?
5 Things You Should Know About Dog Walkers
1.      Where do I find a dog walker?
Finding a reputable dog walker is much easier to do these days thanks to the internet.  There are several websites that provide an ample amount of local pet sitters, dog walkers, and much more.  Each pet care provider is given the opportunity to fill out a profile complete with bio, references, availability, reviews, and a background check.  You just have to either post a job opening for pet care providers to find you, or search through the pet care providers yourself and message a couple that you might like to interview. 

2.      Does my dog walker need to be licensed, insured and bonded?
In most cities, a business license is not required until a certain amount of money has been made.  Until that mark is hit, a business is usually considered a hobby business.  Most dog walkers do dog walking as a side business or for supplemental income, so they will not likely have a business license. If a dog walker has been in business for over a year, it is more than likely he/she qualifies for a business license, and it is up to you if you prefer they have one or not.
All pet care professionals should have liability insurance, which is easy to obtain by becoming a member of one of the following pet sitter associations: PSI, PSA, or NAPPS.  A pet care professional may try to get away with not having insurance by having certain waivers in their service contracts.  Ask your dog walker if he/she is insured, and if so, by whom.  
And lastly, the truth about bonding; According to Western Surety, “A bond protects the employer from dishonest acts (theft) caused by an employee or IC (independent contractor) of the employer.  It does absolutely nothing for the pet sitting client.”  In other words, a bond is completely worthless for a sole proprietor with no employees and does nothing for you as the client. Therefore, bonding is not a necessary requirement for your dog walker or pet sitter.

3.      How do I know I can trust this person?
Be sure to pick a dog walker that has had a background check run.  Those websites mentioned previously require a background check to be run every year, so although this isn’t always failsafe, it does provide one layer of security.  Also, always meet your dog walker in person before hiring them.  See how they interact with your dog.  Ask plenty of questions to test their knowledge about dogs (and to find out more about them if you like).  What do your instincts tell you about this person? If you aren’t a good judge of character you may want to employ the help of a friend who you trust to be a good judge of character.  There is no way to completely protect yourself against a good liar, but you don’t have to hire the first dog walker you meet.  Interview a few candidates before deciding.      

4.      What sort of qualities should I look for in a dog walker?
This is a more personal question, since only you know where your priorities are and what’s important to you. Of course, you want someone reliable. You need to know they will show up as scheduled without you there to greet them.  And you want someone who has experience handling dogs and (even better) dog fights.  Your dog will be outside of your home without you which can be a liability if he gets away from the dog walker and/or starts a fight with another neighborhood dog.  In addition, it would be extremely beneficial if the dog walker knew pet first-aid and CPR in case of an emergency. 

5.      What sort of questions should I ask when interviewing dog walkers?
Only you can decide the questions that will directly answer any concerns you may have.  Some questions you may not think to ask could be:  How many dogs do you walk at a time? How do you keep control of the dog(s) while walking?  Do you know pet first-aid? What would you do in a medical emergency? Do you work weekends and holidays?  What will you do on days that you can’t get to my house or the weather doesn’t permit you to go for a walk?  You should know what answers are acceptable to you before asking them otherwise their answers won’t carry much weight when you have to make a final decision.  If the dog walker can’t answer a certain questions, such as an a back-up plan in case of bad weather, you might be able to work something out with them, such as a potty break and a little play time indoors. 

A short list of care provider websites to help start your search:
These websites are designed to meet local needs.  When you sign up you fill out a profile and put in your zip code so when you post a job opening local dog walkers will respond. Or you can just put in your zip code and browse local dog walkers yourself.

Petsit USA: 
PSA (Pet Sitter’s Associates):
PSI (Pet Sitters International): 
NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters):

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spot Goes Back to School –and Doggy Daycare

Although dog daycare has been around for over a decade now it is still a new concept to a lot of pet owners.   Most people don’t discover daycare until they need a place for boarding and find that a lot of boarding facilities offer daycare now.  Dog daycare can benefit you and your dog in many ways through socialization, exercise, and human interaction.  The majority of people use dog daycare for one of two reasons: They work long hours and hate to leave their dog home alone all day, or their dog has a LOT of energy to get out and daycare is the best option.  A socialized dog that gets the proper amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation is a better behaved dog, therefore making your life much easier at home after a long day at work.  So how does one go about finding the right daycare for their needs?
5 Things You Should Know About Dog Daycare
1.      What is Dog Daycare?
Dog daycare is just like child daycare, only, it’s for dogs.  You drop your dog off before work in the morning, let him participate in supervised play with other dogs, and then pick him up after work. 
2.      What can I expect from daycare?
All daycares will ask for current vaccinations, have you fill out an application, and have your dog go through a social interview to make sure he can handle the open-play environment.  Once he is playing with the other dogs you leave him for the day.  The facility may have web cams where you can watch him play from work, home, or while on vacation.  What your dog does at the daycare will depend on his personality (which usually changes once you’re not around).  Your dog may play all day, or he may nap all day.  Your dog may be totally filthy when you pick him up or he may be anxious to leave.  It all depends on his personality and previous experiences with other dogs.  
3.      What should I be looking for in a dog daycare?
 Most dog daycares offer the same basic services at their facility, but not all daycares are created equal.  Some facilities have indoor and outdoor play areas while others are only indoor.  Some daycares don’t have all day play, but instead they have designated playtime in assigned groups.   Just like a child’s daycare you need to do your research and find a facility that meets your top needs and expectations.  I feel the two most important things to look for in a daycare are cleanliness and a caring staff.  Dogs are naturally dirty and if a facility isn’t properly keeping up with the mess it can easily get out of hand and become a breeding ground for bacteria.  Other than daily sanitization, the staff should be constantly supervising and regularly interacting with the dogs.  Negligence only leads to disaster, which is why it is so important for staff to be correcting any ill behavior before it becomes a bigger problem.  And overall, you want staff that truly cares about dogs and their well being.  You want to feel confident that Coco will get her medication at the time she needs it or that Jake will get a nap with his favorite blanket.  These little details make all the difference when your dog is hurt or sick and needs a little extra care until you can reach them.
4.      Is my dog eligible for daycare?
Because of the nature of dog daycare, dogs are required to be current on vaccinations for Rabies, DHLPP (Distemper), and Bordetella.  Some facilities even require a fecal exam every six months.  Most facilities require your dog to be fixed after six months of age; meaning only spayed females or neutered males are allowed.  If a facility allows your unaltered dog, you should ask what a normal day will be like for him or her, to see how much playtime he/she will be participating in.  And lastly, a lot (but not all) of facilities have breed restrictions, which vary but generally apply to more aggressive breeds (i.e. German Shepherds, Pit bulls, Huskies, Bull Terriers, etc.).  
5.      Will my dog be safe at daycare?
Daycare is not for every dog or every dog owner.  Dogs can be rough and rowdy, so just like children at daycare your dog may get scratches or bruises from playing too hard.  And he will be exposed to any illnesses another dog may be carrying (especially “kennel” cough).  Again, staff should be constantly supervising play and sanitizing the facility to prevent incidents but not everything is avoidable.  It is something that comes with the territory, so if you are a paranoid pet parent then daycare may not be for you.  Also, be aware that daycare may not be structured enough for your dog, which can lead to new bad habits like fence fighting or other obsessive behaviors.
A short list of local daycares to help start your search:
Amber’s Luxury Pet Hotel, 9022 Pulsar Ct, Suite E, Corona 
Camp Ilene, 19060 State St., Corona
Camp Bow Wow Anaheim, 1431 N Daly St., Anaheim
Dogtopia of Temecula, 27629 Commerce Center Dr., Temecula
Riverwalk Pet Resort, 12111 Severn Way, Riverside
Ruff House Pet Resort, 3035 Chicago Ave., Riverside

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spot Goes Back to School- with the kids

It’s back to school time for kids in the Inland Empire.  So what does that mean for your dog?  It might mean your child is ready for a little more responsibility, like feeding and walking the dog.  It might mean no one will be home with the dog all day and you want to look into your other options such as daycare or a dog walker.  Or maybe it means your dog needs to go back to school himself for a little more training or to become a Canine Good Citizen. 
Back to school means a lot of different things to different people.  This back to school series will answer questions about dog daycares, dog walkers, and dog trainers to help you know what to look for in each.   But first, here are a couple of easy, every day activities to incorporate in your life to help teach the kids responsible pet ownership.
5 Things To Do with the Kids and the Dog
1.       Go for a walk- A daily walk is not only great for the dog’s physical and mental health but yours as well.  By setting aside time in your day to walk the dog you get a little one-on-one time with your child to talk about their day and unwind.  This forms great bonds and habits of walking the dog regularly and getting outside regularly. 
2.       Play hide and Seek- Give your child a few dog treats and have them go “hide” (start with standing in plain sight) in another room while the dog waits with you.  Have your child call the dog with a “Come” command and let your dog find him or her.  Instruct your child to give the dog one treat each time they are found.  After the dog has found your child in one location wait with your dog while your child moves to another location and repeat the activity, hiding in a new location each time.  Once the dog gets better at this game your child can start actually hiding (i.e. behind doors or under beds).  This is a great way to train the dog to come when called and have fun with your family at the same time. 
3.       Take the dog to the park- Everyone needs a break from day to day life; kids, adults, and dogs alike.  The park is a great place for everyone to get fresh air and enjoy the day.  An alternative to the neighborhood park is going to the dog park.  Going to the dog park with your children is a great way for your kids to watch the dogs interact, read their body language, learn how to interact with new dogs, and become comfortable around dogs.  Check out Carlson Dog Park in Riverside for a little different day at the dog park by trying out the agility course.  For more info and park reviews visit  
4.       Play fetch- Another great way to work on training while having fun with the family.  Having your children use basic commands such as “Fetch” and “Drop it” is another way to teach your dog to listen to your children when they give commands, teach the dog how to play with children (i.e. no nipping or jumping on them), and continually brush up on their good doggy manners while giving them the daily exercise they need.
5.       Feed the dog together- Knowing what your dog eats and what he needs to be eating is an important part of responsible dog ownership.  Just like humans, a dog’s diet affects their skin, coat, nails, eyes, weight, joints, energy level, and digestion.  A poor diet will lead to poor health and possibly further behavioral issues like depression and aggression.  Try spending family night learning about a dog’s diet, proper food portions for your dog’s size, and how to read dog food labels. Or maybe spend a family night cooking a meal for the dog or baking some dog treats.  For great recipes, check out or simply Google Dog food recipes for even more ideas.  Don’t forget, good manners can go a long way so have your dog sit and wait before giving them any food. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Loving your Senior Dog- Part 2

Its’ hard watching your faithful companion age; especially when he can no longer enjoy the simple things that he use to.  Simple things like jumping onto the bed or hunting lizards in the backyard will only become more difficult, especially if arthritis is present.  Here is a continuation of the list of things you may need to look out for as your dog ages, and ways to make him more comfortable in his senior years.
Confusion and forgetfulness- As a dog ages his mental processing slows.  Because more dogs are living to be older there are more dogs showing signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), which is a canine type of Alzheimer’s disease.  Dogs get lost more easily on walks, forget their toilet training, or even forget who they are and where they are.  Be sure your senior pet has current and correct ID tags, and consider getting him micro-chipped (if he isn’t already).
Loss of hearing- If you haven’t already done so, train your dog using hand signals as well as verbal commands.  That way when his hearing goes he will still be able to understand you.
Stress from change- Older dogs become more easily stressed from change.  Try to give your senior dog a daily routine that you can stick to. 
Mya Crane of Riverside has a fourteen year old beagle named Charlie who does not handle change well.  “Having Charlie reach his senior years while in my early twenties has not been easy on him.  Being a renter, I have had to move every year.  One of the last times we moved Charlie was so upset that he refused to get out of the car at our new place.”

Loss of balance/footing- It’s harder for senior dogs to get up and down and keep their balance.  Placing rugs on hard flooring will help him keep his footing, especially at the landing of stairs.
Raise food bowls- If your dog has to stoop to eat his food you may consider raising his food bowl so he doesn’t put extra strain on his body.
Watch weight- Too much food and too little food can make a big difference in your senior dog’s life.  Just like humans, a dog’s metabolism slows down as they get older and they are much less active.  If you don’t watch how much your dog is eating he may pack on the pounds quickly.  Too much weight will only put greater stress on the heart, joints, and organs.  On the flip side, if your dog is not eating enough he will look like a skeleton in no time.  Dogs may stop eating if they are in too much pain to chew, reach their food, or go potty.
Vet bills- Allow for increases in your vet bills, even if you have insurance.  Insurance premiums increase as a dog ages and they usually only pay a percentage of the bill.  Even if your dog is not experiencing any medical issues, you should still take him for more regular check-ups than just twice a year.   This is a time when a small issue can quickly become a big issue, so prevention is key.
Watching your furry family member come to the end of his life is not easy, in fact, it’s heart breaking.  Making him more comfortable in his senior years will make life easier on both of you.  In addition to giving him physical comforts, knowing your dog and his habits will help you notice changes as they occur.  This will also help you catch issues before they become major problems.  Ask your veterinarian for the best diet and exercise plan for your senior dog.  Every dog has unique needs, and your veterinarian should be able to tell you what to specifically look out for as your dog ages as well as the best care plan for him.  And while it is hard to watch someone you love become less capable of caring for themselves try to remember that dogs live in the moment.  Instead of focusing on the bad, try focusing on making his last years the best years. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Loving your Senior Dog- Part 1

                                                                                                                                         Lisa Scarsi Photography
We will all come to a point in our lives when we will have to rely on our loved ones to care for us, as we can no longer care for ourselves like we use to.  When you think of that time, do you want people to start forgetting about you? Do you want your family to stop caring about your comfort, mobility, and health? No one wants to be forgotten or feel unloved as they age and neither does your dog.  Sarah and Stacy are roommates in Norco.  Sarah has a thirteen year old 40 pound mutt, Old Blue, while Stacy has a 5 year old terrier mix, Princess, and a 1 year old terrier mix, Cooper. “Old Blue has kept up his youth pretty well.  He didn’t start to really slow down until he was eleven.  Since then I have really noticed how much he would rather sleep and how quickly he tires on walks.  He doesn’t jump up into the car anymore and he can’t always seem to tell where noises are coming from when I’m calling him.”
As your dog ages there will be things that will be much harder for him to accomplish.  Simple things like climbing stairs and squatting will only become more difficult, especially if arthritis is present.  Here is a list of a few things you may look out for as your dog ages and ways to make him more comfortable in his senior years.
Climbing/Jumping- The first thing to become difficult for a dog is usually climbing steps or jumping up on the couch, bed, or into the car like he use to.  Consider buying dog steps, a ramp, or lift assistance products available on the market.  You may also consider making your own.  
Joint Care- Supplements become more important as a dog ages and his joints stiffen. Glucosamine is the number one supplement pet owners give their dog for healthy joints.
Pressure off joints while sleeping- With joints becoming stiffer and arthritis kicking in, life can become pretty miserable for a senior dog.  You may consider giving your dog an orthopedic or memory foam dog bed to sleep on (that way he won’t have to try to jump on/off your bed or couch).  
Loss of ability to regulate body temperature- As dogs age they lose the ability to regulate their body temperature like they use to.  For this reason you do not want give your senior dog vigorous exercise in hot weather.  On the flip side, if the weather is cold and/or damp, consider giving him a coat to wear.  His joints will thank you too.

Massages- If your senior dog likes to sleep most of the day it can be easy to forget about him.  But he is still there and would love a little extra TLC.  Massages are beneficial to dogs in multiple ways, such as calming them, easing aching muscles, increasing immune systems, improving blood circulation, releasing stress and aiding injuries.
Sudden aggression- As older dogs start lose their sight and hearing they are startled much easier (since they don’t hear people or other animals approaching).  That combined with pain from arthritis (or any other ailment) can create an irritable dog.  Teach children to respect your older dog and give him space.  Leave him alone when he is sleeping and pet him gently when he is awake.  Don’t let small children or puppies get too wild or rough with your senior dog either; someone is bound to get hurt.
Sarah comments on having younger dogs in the house with Old Blue, and how it has its ups and its downs.  “The younger dogs definitely keep him acting younger than he is.  Some days he will pop up and run around the house like he was 1 year old again.  And other days he’s just a grumpy old man.”
To be continued….  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Save Lives: Spay and Neuter!

On a rainy day, the first week of December, 2010, a little Dachshund mix puppy was found trying to hide in the yard of a Riverside home.  The resident brought the puppy inside and then posted pictures of her around the neighborhood saying that she had been found.  No one ever claimed her, so the resident contacted Katie Chapman of Corona to ask her if she could give the puppy a new home.  The puppy was very lucky to have been found by someone willing to take care of her and find her a new home.  Not all puppies are so lucky.
Everyday dogs are getting out and roaming the streets without their owners knowing it until their dog goes missing or they find out weeks later that their female dog is pregnant. The ASPCA states that “Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country.  They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna, and frighten children.”  And while we assume most strays are unneutered males in search of a female, unspayed females tend to escape from their yards as well. (Lady and the Tramp ring any bells?)  Spay USA says that “In six years, an unspayed female and her offspring can reproduce 67,000 dogs.”  Litters of unwanted puppies are abandoned in boxes or sold in front of stores everyday across the U.S.  Even if those people make sure all the puppies find a new home, there is no guarantee that those puppies won’t be taken to the pound once they are no longer cute or manageable.  According to the Humane Society of the United States, “Seven dogs and cats are born for every one human born in the U.S. each day.  Of those, only 1 in 5 puppies and kittens stay in their original homes for their natural lifetime.  The remaining 4 are abandoned in the streets or end up at a shelter.”  
 Pet overpopulation is a serious issue in the United States.  According to ASPCA pet statistics “Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats).  Only 10% of animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered.”
If those not-so-fun facts weren’t enough to convince you, here are some of the benefits of fixing your pet:
·         Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer in females, which is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. (Spaying before her first heat offers the best protection).
·         Neutering prevents testicular cancer in males if done before six months of age.
·         Neutered males focus their energy on their human families while unneutered males tend to mark their territory and can be very aggressive.  Aggressive behavior can be avoided by neutering a male at a young age.
·         Neutered males won’t roam away from home trying to find a mate.  A free-roaming dog could become injured crossing the street into traffic or fighting with another male.  
·         Fixing your pet saves you money in a few ways- 1. Cheaper pet licensing fees,  2. No unwanted litters to care for,  3. No injuries from fights with neighborhood strays.
·         Spaying or neutering your pet helps fight pet overpopulation!
Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your dog (and cat).  There are also plenty of low-cost spay/neuter clinics across Riverside and Orange Counties. 
Riverside County Spay/Neuter Clinic – 5950 Wilderness Avenue, Riverside, Ca 92504 (951)358-7373
For a list of other Riverside veterinarian offices and clinics that provide spay/neuter services, check out this List of Participating Veterinarians Spay/Neuter Voucher Program from the County of Riverside Department of Animal Services.  (The vouchers were a part of a county program to help low-income families afford to spay/neuter their pets.)
For a more extensive list, check out the list through Spay USA- Spay  This list gives all the information you need to contact the veterinarian offices and clinics as well as their prices.  But be sure to tell them SpayCalifornia referred you to ensure you get the discounted rates.   
Practice Birth Control, not death control. Spay and neuter your pets!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Little Extra Love

Do you like to cook for your dog? Do you anyone who cooks for their dog? It could be a complete meal, just a little extra meat with their kibble, or maybe just a dog treat.  While cooking for your dog is usually a more nutritional option, not everyone has time or budget to cook for their dog, no matter how much they want to.  And the more dogs you have (or the larger they are) the more food they require, which doesn’t help the situation.  Even though you may not have the time to cook an extra meal, or the budget to buy twice as much meat, doesn’t mean you can’t show a little extra love once in a while.  And by that I mean baking, cooking, or simply freezing a couple of everyday ingredients to create a treat your dog will love.   It will also give you peace of mind knowing all the ingredients that went into the treat (and being able to pronounce their names).
Here are a couple of quick and yummy summer treats that won’t blow your budget (and can be eaten by you too).
Stacy Munoz of Riverside shares a favorite fruity frozen treat that she gives her 4 year-old Boxer, Chewie:
Ø  Mix 1 Quart fruit juice, 1 mashed banana, and ½ cup of plain yogurt thoroughly.  Pour the mix into a popsicle try and freeze overnight.
Karen Suttter of Riverside puts a spin on frozen dinner by freezing pieces of meat in broth.  This helps keep her two yellow Labs cool in the hot afternoon:
Ø  Dissolve 1 cube of chicken or beef bouillon in 1 cup of water.  Take 4 small pieces of chicken or beef and cut them into smaller pieces (about ½ inch squares).  Put the meat pieces in the dissolved bouillon mix and place the whole bowl in the freezer overnight.  The next day you will have a meat-tasting ice block that will occupy your dog for hours.
Barbara Walker of Redlands loves this simple and tasty treat that she makes for her two miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Baby:
Ø  Zap 1 cup of peanut butter in the microwave (in a microwave safe dish) until it melts.  Mix a 32 ounce container of vanilla yogurt to the melted peanut butter.  Pour the mixture into cupcake papers (full-size for larger dogs and miniature papers for smaller dogs) and place them in the freezer overnight.