Bake your own Dog Treats: Cheese and Pumpkin Seed Biscuits

Cheese and pumpkin seed dog biscuits

Ok, I admit it, I did it again. I baked for my dog. Last time I baked dog treats I was convinced it would happen very infrequently. But this time I couldn’t resist making miniature cheese and pumpkin seed biscuits, which look like tiny almond biscuits, but are dog friendly. They went down very well with BlindDog and taste pretty good to humans too! Here’s how to make them yourself:

Ingredients

For 60 small biscuits

40g of cheddar or other cheese, finely grated

30g pumpkin seeds, chopped (plus extra to decorate)

100g spelt flour (or plain flour)

1tbs olive oil

1 egg, beaten

Egg wash (for the glaze)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Place the flour in a mixing bowl, add the pumpkin seeds and cheese and mix
  • Stir in the beaten egg and olive oil so the mixture begins to combine into a dough
  • Add a little water and mix until a smooth dough is formed
  • Lightly oil two baking trays
  • Roll out the dough onto a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin (i.e. 0.3cm or 1/8 inch)
  • Use a small cutter to cut out the biscuits (I used a bottle top) and place them on the baking tray
  • To decorate, brush the biscuits with egg wash and place a pumpkin seed in the centre of each biscuit. You could also try grating more cheese over the top
  • Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes

Do you bake for your dog? Let us know what recipes your dog enjoys in the comments.

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Best Toys for Blind Dogs: Scented Toys

In my last post I looked at toys which are great for blind dogs because they use sounds which help blind dogs follow and interact with them. Another way of helping your dog locate its toys is to use toys that have a strong smell.

1031 Old Soul Orbee GroupThere are some great scented toys on the market, such as the durable range of rubber toys by Planet Dog which are mint scented. The Orbee Tough for senior dogs is particularly good, it’s high contrast colours make it easier for partially sighted dogs to spot it and there is a place to put treats, peanut butter cream or cheese  for added interest. It’s also worth checking our the eco friendly range of vanilla scented dog toys by BecoThings.

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You can scent your dogs toys in different ways. For soft toys like plush toys or rope toys, try adding a small amount of scented extract,such as vanilla or mint to the toy. You could even add a different scent to each toy and train your dog to identify them by name.

For hard toys and squeaky toys try placing the toys in a zip-lock bag with strong smelling food such as a pig’s ear or dried liver, for several days so they absorb the smell. You can also try soaking solid toys in meat stock for a few hours. The scent will eventually wear off so you will need to refresh it every so often.

BristleBoneFinally, any toy which you can use with food will smell so enticing that any dog will want to interact with it! You could try the iconic Kong, or one of the great products from BusyBuddy which you can combine with edible chew treats.

Using these methods, there’s no reason your blind dog can’t enjoy almost all the same toys as a sighted dog. You can help your dog rediscover tug toys, chew toys and plush toys again, by following the tips above and spending time encouraging him to play again.

Best Toys for Blind Dogs: Noisy Toys

A lot of people have come to this blog looking for advice on living with a blind dog, and in particular toys that are  suitable for blind or partially sighted dogs. Most of the interactive toys that we review are suitable for blind dogs, deaf dogs and dogs with all 5 senses, and they have been tried and tested by BlindDog.

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Many owners of blind dogs are worried that they will lead limited and unhappy lives as a result of their disability, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most dogs adapt very well to having reduced vision and carry on enjoying life as they did before. Having said that, there are some ways of making it easier for your blind dog to continue playing.

chuckle500Part of the reason it can be more difficult for blind dogs to play is that they have trouble finding their toys in the first place, or they losethem part way through playing, so I have collected a list of toys which make playing easier for blind and partially sighted dogs. Another reason a dog who is newly blind or gradually going blind may lose interest in playing is that they may lose confidence and become depressed. There are plenty of ways to enrich your dog, even if he can no loner see, and by encouraging your dog to engage in play you can help him gain confidence and adapt to a world of smells, sounds, and touch.

WIGGLY-GIGGLY-JACKToys that make a noise while they are being played with can keep your dog interested and make it easier to find if it gets out of reach. Try the Wiggly Giggly range of balls, jacks and dumbbells which are motion activated and make a giggling sound (plus they don’t require batteries!). Along the same lines is the Babble Ball which comes in three different sizes and has a very sensitive motion detector, so your dog can activate the toy simply by walking past. You can choose between ‘wisecrack’ and ‘animal sound’ versions. There’s also the Busy Buddy Chuckle, which is a noise-making bone and treat dispenser in one.

Various toys and balls with bells inside are also available, which are also easy for your dog to find, but you  need to keep an eye on yourdog while playing with these toys because the bell could be swallowed if it is dislodged. There’s also this lovely rattle toy from Petsatges, again for supervised play only!

1085 Orbee-tuff Whistle BallIf your dog loves playing fetch but can no longer see the ball, this whistle ball could be the answer. It makes a whistling sound when thrown so your dog can follow its direction and is vanilla scented to help your dog locate the ball using its nose.

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Finally, try getting your dog to play with any toy with a squeaker; you can add a scent to help your dog find these toys. Movement and high pitched sound are two things which can activate a dogs prey (and play) drive, so if your dog can’t see one, give them the other. If your nerves can’t stand the sound, try this great squeaky toy from Kong – it has an off button!

For more ideas have a look at the great reviews over on www.blinddogtoys.com and look out for our post on Scented Toys.

5 Easy Ways to Give Old Dogs a New Lease of Life

Has your senior dog lost interest in playing and spending time with you? Does he sleep all day and want to turn around to go home when you take him on walks? You probably think that these are just signs of old age, that your elderly dog is slowing down as he gets older.

Age may have something to do with it, but the chances are that your dog is stuck in a rut and his inactivity is because he is bored; he could even be depressed. Age, disability and health problems might mean your dog can’t do all the things he could when he was younger, but there are still ways to make his life more interesting.

Plus, keeping your dog mentally and physically active will help keep him fit and happy for longer and could help stave off canine cognitive dysfuntion.

bb_dogwalking1. Go Somewhere New

Walking isn’t just about exercising your dog, it also gives them a chance to explore and discover new places, new smells and new people. If your dogs regular exercise is a potter in the garden or a walk round the block then you can improve their day by varying where you walk or going somewhere new at the weekend.

 

 

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2. Give him a Puzzle Feeder

You can’t get your dog to do the crossword but you can give his brain a workout by giving him treats or his meal in an interactive dog toy. Try the Buster Cube, or Nina Ottosson’s dog puzzles, or make your own out of an empty milk carton or toilet roll. For dogs who no longer play as much as they used to, toys which dispense food are a great way of getting them interested.

 

3. Teach your Old Dog New Tricks

Training doesn’t stop being important just because your dog is no longer a puppy, or because he knows the basic commands. Training is a great way to bond with your dog and keep him mentally active. Start by giving your dog a refresher course in the commands he already knows and then gradually introduce new tricks. How about teaching your dog to push the door closed? Or to balance a treat on his nose? It’s also a good idea to check that your dog can respond both to voice commands and visual signals in case he is losing his hearing or eyesight.

 

Treat game

4. Play a Game

Your dog may no longer be up for fetch and tug games, but why not teach him one of the variations on ‘find the treat’, or play hide and seek with him, or teach him to find your keys? Once you put your mind to it the possibilities for rainy day activities are endless!

 

 

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5. Try New Treats

Giving your dog treats is an easy way to make him happy, but it’s also a good way of adding some variety to his day. It’s easy to get into the habit of giving your dog the same treats at the same time of day, but why not mix things up by buying a new flavour or type of treat, or giving him small amount of human food to try? This doesn’t have to be unhealthy, lots of dogs like fruit and vegetables: try pieces of carrot or apple. Why not give your dog a frozen treat or an ice cube so they can experience a new temperature and texture? Also giving your dog something to chew on regularly can help clean his teeth, relieve stress and give his jaw some exercise. Bear in mind that older dogs have weaker jaws and teeth when looking for chews and chew toys.