Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vegan Dog Biscuit Recipe

Recipe ingredients:
Applesauce, pureed carrots, blackstrap molasses, oat bran, rolled oats, wheat germ, flour, coarse ground cornmeal, flaxseeds that come mixed with little dried blueberries, and anise seed.

Mix up the applesauce, carrot puree, and molasses. Add in the dry ingredients, saving the flour for last. You just want to incorporate the flour (whole wheat or even rice flour is just fine) just enough so the dough is rollable. Roll out on a mixture of the corn meal and flour. Cut with biscuit cutter, or do what I do for clicker-trainer sized treats. Roll out your sheet, placed on buttered pan, and cut with a dough cutter into tiny bite-sizes. (Great for little dogs). Bake at 325 until firm. (20-30 minutes) I like really small treats, because I do clicker train. I also like to use a small dog bone cutter and make thin little crackers, easy to break into pieces, 1 or 2 just perfect for a little clicker session.

Nope, no measurements.

No measurements, because if you are going to go to the trouble to make homemade nutritious treats for your dog, I think you have to make them by smell and texture, because that's what is fun for your dog.

And, it's a time honored tradition that dogs get leftovers, so you use what you have. Pears getting too soft? Mush 'em, use them instead of the applesauce, you get the idea. Use whole foods to start with, shun the onions and garlic (although I might add garlic powder) and see what you can come up with. Peanut butter is good (I prefer smooth, no anything added, because chunky gets in the way of the cutters).

I'm not a vegan, so why do I make vegan dog treats? I have different recipes for dog treats, and most are not vegan, or even vegetarian. I do have friends who are vegan, and although most of my vegan friends do not expect their dogs to also be vegan, I think it's good to have options. The dogs just like what smells, feels, and tastes good, and Ellie approves of her vegan treats.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dog vs Cat, the saga continues

Bring it...........................It's a draw.

In the ongoing saga of helping our high energy young play-with-me-all-the-time Ellie and our please-leave-me-the-@#$%!-alone older cats, we make progress; two steps forward, and only one step back.

Some mornings are pretty quiet, each in their own corner. Some mornings, not so much, and one or the other might have to retire elsewhere. But, progress gets made.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Doggies can be Vata deranged too...

Today Ellie is lying comfortably by the side of my chair, and I'm casually shaping her quiet, relaxed, and occasionally attentive to me behavior. This is the Ellie we've come to know, energetic, but more able to self-manage with a little positive reinforcement. Thank goodness!

Ellie had a challenging couple of days. Her Wild Child was as wild as when we first brought her home. On Friday night, like a tired toddler, she couldn't seem to manage her energy and seemed relieved when we told her to just go to bed. Saturday, we took off for a 3 mile urban hike to one of our local roadside Mexican food stands. On her previous visit here, she curled up under the table, 'smiled' at patrons, eagerly interacted with children before we left, and just generally had a good time. Yesterday though, she could not concentrate on her walking, and at one point backed up into a low ledge and fell over.

I'm used to her being fully engaged with her environment, but this was different. There was lack of focus, lack of interest even, coupled with a kind of frenetic movement. While she would still wag her tail at the children, it was clear she was not interested in any prolonged interactions. This was actually the first time I had seen her prefer that children not engage with her - she usually eagerly engages with children.

Vata derangement is a term from Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda approaches well being through the activity of the doshas, which can be considered as 'types' with a physical, mental, and energetic manifestation. Vata is characterized by air and movement. Although I haven't read Ellie's pulse (that would be something an accomplished Ayurvedic animal expert would do), I'm pretty sure that Ellie is Vata through and through: Movement makes her happy, contented even, she's quick, she's sharp, she's light-boned with expressive eyes.

Too much movement, uncontained, unmanaged, unfocused are signs of a Vata derangement. If it can happen in people, why not in dogs? I got to thinking how there is a kind of expectation that our dogs are always on top of their game, always 'at their best'. But what if they just are having a bad day? If we could grant that, sometimes, they are just not going to be dog-thinking clearly, maybe we'd have fewer dogs that need rescue.

Ellie is back to her usual delightful Vata self today.