Treating Your Pets Safely

By Joan Amundsen

In a lifestyle survey conducted by Gallup, a 44 percent sample of Americans own a dog and 29 percent own a cat. And 70 percent of Americans in the survey describe themselves as “a dog person.” Gallup found that dog owners are more likely to give gifts to their dogs at the holidays than those who own cats. But why not, since most folks think of their dogs as family members and companions, not just a pet.

When we accept a dog into our family many of us become apprehensive about giving them the right food and the right amount. Most dogs can eat the same kinds of food. There are, however, certain breeds that sometimes have digestive problems and need a special diet.

A boxer currently in our family has stomach problems; his food is now cooked especially for him and frozen in meal portions that we found on

Most dogs love ice cubes, but again not all dogs tolerate the ice. If your dog can handle the cubes, try flavoring them with chicken or beef broth or frozen juices (without sugar) or even yogurt. If you find that the cubes do not agree with your dog, then just serve him cold water. Better to be safe than sorry. We mix up homemade ice cream as a very special treat. For our recipe, we use three or four cups of low or nonfat plain yogurt and a small tub of fresh strawberries, then mash the strawberries, mix with the yogurt and freeze in a container overnight.

Some foods are hazardous to your dog’s health and you need to be aware of them. The ASPCA has made a list of these foods. They include avocados, raw bread dough, chocolate, grain alcohol (drinking alcohol), grapes or raisins, hops, macadamia nuts, xylitol (a non-caloric sweetener) and any moldy food.

Rhonda Mossner of The Quilter Cook shares her recipe for Hazel’s Doggy Biscuits. The recipe was given to her many years ago by the wife of a well-known vet in the Indianapolis area.

Hazel’s Doggie Biscuit Mix

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sunflower kernels, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, and add one-fourth cup molasses, two beaten eggs, one-fourth cup milk and two tablespoons oil. You may need to drizzle in a little more milk to make the dough stiff.  On a lightly floured surface roll dough to a one-half inch thickness. Use a bone-shaped cookie cutter and cut as many biscuits as possible.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until lightly toasted. To make biscuits harder, bake the whole recipe and when the last batch is cooked, place all biscuits on the baking sheet, turn off oven and return them to oven for an hour or more until they become very dry and hard. Store biscuits in an airtight container.

It would be easier to have dog-bone shaped cookie cutters to make the biscuits. Cutters can be purchased at many places, but I especially like the variety sold on Amazon. Just do a search for dog bone cookie cutters. You’re sure to find similar ones at any pet supply store. What a delight it can be to have the grandchildren who visit over the holidays spend time making some of these delicious treats for their pets.

Dogs also love the taste of pumpkin and bananas. We use a dollop of canned pumpkin on our pet’s evening meal. Whenever he sees anyone eating a banana, he simply drools.

If you’re heading out for the holidays, there are many resorts and motels that welcome you and your pet. Check them out at

If you’re searching for more pet services, try your local Pet Smart store. They offer dog walking, training, grooming and a Doggy Day Camp.

For the ultimate in pet pampering, there’s a site where a wide variety of products are offered. I just love the toys, and all those little fancy must-have items. Packaged dog food with your pet’s name on the bag can even be purchased. You enter his name, age and a photo and you are on your way to a customized nutrition plan. Log onto

I have a feeling that we are going to see a lot of pampered pets this holiday season. Go for it. Dogs are still man’s best friend.








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