Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homemade Jerky Treats for Dogs

With all the bad press that store bought jerky treats have gotten, you may be feeling a little discouraged, not to mention a little uneasy, thinking that your dog may be getting sick from store bought treats.  But don’t give up hope just yet.  You don’t have to stop giving him treats altogether.  Simply go to the store and buy some Chicken breast fillets to make jerky treats at home.  

What you’ll need:
·         Chicken Breast Fillets (the number of fillets depends on how many treats you want to make)
·         A Baking sheet
·         Non-stick spray
·         And an Oven

What you’ll need to do:
1.       Preheat the oven to 200˚F.
2.       Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
3.       Rinse off the chicken breast and remove any fat.
4.       Slice the chicken with the grain (to help make the jerky chewier).  The slices should be about 1/8” to ¼” thickness.
5.       Place the strips on the baking sheet.
6.       Bake for approximately 2 hours.  – Despite variances you may experience when baking, your finished chicken should be firm and dry, not soft or spongy. Don’t be afraid to cook the jerky a little longer, making it extra dry and firm (which is much better than underdone).
7.       Remove from the oven and place the chicken on a wire rack until completely cool.
8.       Once cooled, cut strips into bite sized pieces.

How to keep:
You may find your dog loving these delicious jerky treats so much that it’s hard to keep then in stock. But if you find you have some leftovers, these treats can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 8 months.   

Find this recipe and more at

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Deadly Truth About Treats

Do you know what is inside the treats you feed your pet?  Making the assumption that a treat is safe for your pet just because it is produced by a reputable company can be a deadly mistake. 
The treats under fire most recently are Jerky treats, specifically those made in China.  Jerky treats made from sweet potatoes, chicken, duck, and dried fruit have caused sickness in a reported 3,600 dogs and 10 cats across the U.S. since 2007.  Despite extensive testing and inspections of Chinese factories, the FDA has been unable to pin-point the responsible ingredient or contaminant in these jerky treats.  As a result, the FDA has made no recalls on Chinese dog treats.  They have only issued warnings to consumers in the years when they received hundreds of complaints (like in the years 2008, 2009, and 2011).
The jerky treats cause a disease that affects the kidneys.  The symptoms start with an increase in thirst and increase in urination, then a decrease in appetite followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually total kidney failure.  While some dogs have recovered due to a quick reaction from their owner, many owners don’t even realize what is happening to their dog until it’s too late.  

Ways to Avoid Dangerous Treats
1. Read the label 

While consumers have been warned to steer clear of products made in China, some labels can be deceiving.  You may quickly scan the back of a bag and read “Manufactured in the USA” but if you read more closely you will see that that only means the treats were packaged in the USA and in fine print it will read “Made in China”.   You should also read what the ingredients include and check for expiration dates.
2. Check the Recall Lists

While the FDA has been “unable” to recall such jerky treats, some responsible companies have voluntarily recalled their own treats.   As such, in 2013, Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats were voluntarily recalled, along with Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers.  This proves that a brand name does not guarantee quality or safety, so pet owners should be vigilant about what they feed their dog.  Stay alert and regularly check the FDA recall list.

3. Keep it Fresh

While jerky treats can cause your dog to become sick right out of the bag, other foods and treats can become a problem over time.  For this reason, be sure to wash your dog’s food and water bowl daily.  Use clean utensils when preparing their food.  Store kibble in a cool, dry place.  Keep opened cans of food in the refrigerator, but only for a few days – watch out for mold and expiration dates.

4. Alternative Treats

There are alternatives to store-bought treats that will help give you piece of mind.  You can give your dog banana chips, pieces of apple, carrots, and dozens of other healthy human snacks that you can enjoy with them.  If you still want an extra special treat for your dog without the worry of “where did this come from?” you can easily make dog treats at home.   (Check out the article Homemade Jerky Treats for Dogs).

5. Be Watchful and Ready

Always keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s behavior, especially if you are trying a new food or treat.  If he/she starts vomiting, has diarrhea or becomes lethargic, stop feeding the food/ treats and take your dog to the vet.  Keep the packaging and any leftover food/treat incase you need to file a complaint. 

Spread the word to your friends and family with dogs so they too can avoid dangerous dog products.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

22nd Annual Walk with the Animals

This Saturday, March 15th, 2014, is the 22nd Annual Walk with the Animals.  This yearly walk is put on by the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside, to help raise much needed funds to support their animal-saving efforts.

“Over the past 5 years we’ve placed more than 6,000 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in forever homes,” Says the pet adoption center; but like most non-profit animal shelters, it takes a lot of community support to make that possible.

If you are not a big walker or marathon runner, don’t worry because this event will literally be a walk in the park.  The full amount of the walk is 1.3 miles around scenic Lake Evans at Fairmount Park in Riverside.  Participants can walk at their own pace with no time pressure, so you can bring your whole family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone you meet on the way to the event for that matter. 

Even if you can’t physically be present at the walk, you can help by donating online.  In fact, all participants are encouraged to raise money for the cause.  The top fundraisers will win prizes, like an ipad, along with a commemorative brick to be installed at the pet adoption center’s Celebration Walkway.

Participants are asked to only bring healthy pets to the walk that are friendly toward dogs, other animals, and people.  All pets must be kept on a 6 foot leash (or shorter) and kept under control at all times.  For the safety of all pets, please be sure your participating pet is current on vaccinations (such as Rabies), wearing their license and ID tags, and are over the age of 4 months.

You can pre-register online at to reserve your free t-shirt and goodie bag. You can also visit that site to create your personal fundraising page or create a Dog Pack (a group of 5 or more participants).   If you don’t pre-register in time you can still register on-site the day of the event.  Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. followed by a continental breakfast and the start of the walk at 9:00 a.m. K-9 demonstrations will take place after the walk, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Enjoy some fresh air with your dog and everyone you know this weekend at the Fairmount Park in Riverside.  For more information check out or call 951-688-4340 ext. 313.      

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reasons to Go Green in March


March is the month of Saint Patrick’s Day, National Wildlife Week, Poison Prevention, and the start of Spring, which makes it the perfect month to go green!  Being green can mean different things to different people, so for that reason, we wanted to share different ways to go green this month with your pup.  

Celebrate St. Patty’s Day with your pup
There are all sorts of fun things you can do with your pup on or around St. Patty’s day.  Of course you and you pooch can sport a spot of green in your outfits that day.  But what’s the fun in getting dressed up when you’ve got no place to go?  Well, you can go out to lunch and enjoy the beautiful weather on the patio of an Irish Bar & Grill.  Or, you can go for a walk to help raise funds for a local shelter (by participating in the Walk with the Animals fundraiser on Saturday the 15th – Check out for more info).

Do a bit of spring cleaning
This is the time of year when the house gets cleaned from top to bottom.  You may be one of those people who dusts the whole house, cleans all the windows, vacuums every nook and cranny, and polishes the silver.  One area that often gets over looked is the dog’s belongings.  When was the last time you cleaned the dog’s bed, leash, bowls, or toys?  Everything the dog sleeps on collects dust, dirt and dander so it needs a good cleaning at least once every 3 months.  Dog leashes and collars are exposed to everyday life which can get messy.  While you may not consider them dirty because they never touch the ground, oils from your hands and your dog’s skin and coat will naturally attract dust and dirt. Dog bowls can be cleaned every day if you want to ensure your dog’s health (especially if your dog eats wet or homemade food), but at the very least try to clean them once a month (only recommended if your dog eats kibble). The same goes for water bowls, as things do grow in water.  And your dog’s toys are most likely covered in dog spit which means bacteria is growing.  That bacteria gets on your hands every time you touch the toy, not to mention, the bacteria causes toys to smell.  All in all, keeping the things in your dog’s life clean will help prevent your dog from getting sick.  And a healthy dog is a happy dog.     

Keep an eye out for wildlife in your backyard  
While critters and wildlife creatures can be a nuisance at times, we should remember that as our cities grow, their natural habitats shrink, leaving these animals little choice but to adapt to our suburban world; and that means making a new home in our backyard.  Most dogs love to hunt. They don’t always catch their prey but they sure do try. This month, make an extra effort to protect the wildlife in your yard.  If you see a bird’s nest that is low enough to the ground where your dog can reach it by jumping, keep your dog away from that tree until the baby birds have learned to fly.  If you stumble upon a nest of bunnies in an overgrown shrub, temporarily fence the area off so that your dogs won’t disturb them.  Remember, wildlife needs our love and compassion just as much as dogs and cats do.

Switch to organic cleaners (safer for your pets and the environment)

March is Poison Prevention Month and since many household cleaning products have toxic chemicals, we encourage you to stop using these products, especially around your pets.  While there are some cleaning products on the market that are made from natural ingredients and do not contain chemicals, there are less expensive household products that will get the job done just as well, if not better.  Baking soda is a great substitute for scouring cleaners.  It will work great on the tub, sink, and even the kitchen floor.  Its deodorizing capabilities make it a great carpet sprinkle to remove pet odors as well. Borax is a naturally-occurring mineral that can be safely used as a laundry detergent, a scrub for tiles, and it will even kill fleas (it can be used as a carpet sprinkle as well).  Vinegar and water makes a great cleaning solution for bathrooms, kitchens, and windows.  It will also clean rust stains. Vinegar and Dawn (dish soap) cleaning solution makes a great degreaser. For more natural cleaning solutions check out Calveras Humane Society website.