Thursday, 19 October 2017

Beetroot & Mackerel Dog Treat Recipe

Hey! I love to whip up my own dog treats from time to time to supplement those that I purchase. With Diego, I have to use treats while out walking him as a training tool, as well as some trick training at home to keep his mind busy. This means we go through a lot of treats and I prefer to make sure these are high-quality with good foods. For this Halloween, I decided to try and make some cookies more spooky by adding orange and purple foods. For this I used Diego's favourite, carrot, as well as beetroot. It is good to add vegetables to your dog's diet because they contain many health-promoting nutrients from a natural source. Many of those nutrients are the ones that are often lacking in commercial dog foods, and natural source vitamins are much more effective than synthetic vitamins.

I chose to add beetroot, not just for it's vivid colour but beets provide a great source of fiber and are particularly rich in folate, an important B vitamin for a healthy heart and essential for normal tissue growth. Beetroots contain good amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium and more. The benefits for dogs are much the same as humans and that is why I try to put beetroots into Diego and I's lives often.

Carrot is one of Diego's favourite vegetables. He would just sit there gnawing on a carrot if he had the opportunity, and whenever he hears me cutting carrots he comes racing over. Carrots provide Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A and soluble fiber, which all helps towards great eyesight.

For this recipe you will need:

1 Mackerel Can
2 Carrots
1 Beetroot
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2c Flour

This is a guess at the rough quantities of ingredients. This was the first time making this recipe, and I found I had to add a lot more flour to make sure it was dry enough to roll out. I would suggest making sure you have a lot of flour on hand so that you can add as you see necessary. An alternative would be to add in wholegrain oats as well. I decided to skip this step though.

First off, you will need to break up the mackerel into more of a mash. I kept half of the juice from the can, but I would suggest leaving about a quarter as it made the mixture quite wet. If you have a food processor, I would use that as it makes this step so much easier. However, I just used a fork and done an efficient job.

Putting the mackerel to the side, I grated both the beetroot and carrot and kept these separate. Once again, if you had a food processor this would be better as it would give you a finer grate. This would make cutting the cookies easier.

Next, I added all the dry ingredients and eggs (leave out the beetroot and carrot) to the mackerel. Make sure to stir well. Separate the mixture into two different bowls and add beetroot to one, and carrot to the other.

Roll out each mixture next to each other. I originally was going to make the cookies half and half with the mixture, but it was too wet when I rolled it out. In the end, I mixed them together which came out with a cool marbling pattern. Once rolled out, cut out your shapes and place them on a greased baking tray.

Your oven will need to be pre-heated to 180 degrees. Place the cookies in and let cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Flip them, and cook for a remaining 5 minutes. Once cooked, put them on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Finally step is to give to your pooch and watch them enjoy. These treats are a great healthy treat to be given any time, and depending on what cookie cutter you use, they can have a lot of different uses. Keep them in the fridge, and I find they last roughly a week.

If you make these, make sure to share photos with us on Facebook and Instagram!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Dog Halloween Outfit DIY: Mummy

Hey! I am going to admit right at the start that this tutorial is a complete fail. I have tried to complete this three times and I just couldn't master it. For some reason what I assumed would be easy and look effective, became harder and less effective the more I tried. I believe I know what could have helped the look, but after trying three times I really have just thrown in the towel. I hope that at least one of you can replicate this look but actually do a great job of it!

First off, I tried to quickly whip this up one evening before going out. Never try to do something quickly before going out. However, I did successfully dye my bandages dirty looking by using tea bags. This was a super efficient way of making the bandages look old and more worn. All I did was brew a handful of teabags in a bowl of water, dunk the bandages in and let soak for ten minutes. Then I wrung them out and hung them to dry.

Second, I then decided that I could just bandage Diego quickly up once I had already had my makeup on. I invited my talented friend Keke.Novabeauty over to do my 'mummy' makeup so that Diego and I could have a 'couples costume' for Halloween. I thought it would be easy to make Diego's outfit for the photoshoot and we would head off to a creepy scene to take photos. I was wrong. We spent ten minutes making Diego look fantastic, then he took one step outside, shook and the whole costume collapsed around him. From there, we just piled bandages on him and hoped for the best since we had spent multiple hours getting me ready for the shoot.

Finally, I decided to make a coat pattern of bandages to replicate the wrapping pattern of mummies, but also make it easy for Diego to wear. This worked efficiently that he was able to move, chase the ball and pose in his new costume. Did it look like a mummy? No. Did it look like a runaway bride? Still no, but more that than a mummy. Least this was a quick method as all I had to do was super glue a bunch of bandage pieces together, with more draping off that can be tied onto Diego.

Learning curves. I should have got long rolls of bandage instead of these smaller pieces, however one tiny roll of bandage was $4.50, yet 100 of these pathetic pieces of bandage were only $1. I am never one to say no to a deal. I also should have got some nappy pins to attach the bandages to Diego. These would have been stronger than the tape that I used for the second attempt, and less crazy than my third attempt.

Sometimes I think maybe I think too highly of my DIY skills... I would love to see if you have successfully made your pooch into a mummy or zombie! Please tag me in your photos on Instagram and Facebook.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Cheap and Easy Halloween Outfits for Dogs

Halloween really seems to be sneaking up on us, not only is Friday the 13th tomorrow (another great excuse to dress up) but we are nearly half way through October already! If you are not DIY savy, low on time, or you don't want to spend too much on something your dog will hate wearing, this is the blog post for you!

Kmart. You either love this store or absolutely despise it. I am one of those people that love it, and when I go in for one thing, I walk out of the store with a lot of stuff I like but don't really need. However, on a recent trip I walked out with this awesome Pineapple Outfit for Diego. They had a range of fantastic outfits but I couldn't look past this one for Diego. It has stuffing at the back to give Diego a more shapely figure, is easy to do up 'coat style' and comes with a ridiculous hat. What more could one person want? 

Since then, I have seen dogs galore on Instagram sporting their new Halloween outfits. That is when it dawned on me that these are the perfect outfits for Halloween for those that don't want to put into too much effort. They look great, they make people giggle when they see them and the best part?! They are only $7! If you don't have a Kmart never fear, they now have an Online Store. I have given you enough time to purchase your dog an outfit before October 31st so you really have no excuses! 

I want to thank the awesome Instagram accounts that let me use their images for this blog post to model the other wicked outfits Kmart has on offer. TheDustyDingo and Gracie model the Spider and Taco outfits. Dollybearsworld models both the Spider and Pineapple outfits. Finally, LukaSpaniel is wearing the Pumpkin outfit. If you buy one please tag me in your photos on Social Media so that I can enjoy too! 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Wolves of Wellington Halloween Bandana

Hey! If you have read any of my other posts you would know I am a huge fan of Wolves of Wellington and separate from that, also Halloween. So imagine my excitement when I found out they have made a Halloween themed bandana!

This bandana is uber cute with adorable cartoon ghosts on a peach background. Diego would call the background colour 'man salmon' if he could talk because he is super masculine and doesn't like the idea of peach. I would have never chose a bandana of this colour if it wasn't Halloween themed, but since I have now seen him in it, I think we might need to branch out from his traditional blue shades.

This bandana is in the same style as their other Pay it Forward Bandanas in which it is a triangle shaped tie-up style. I love this type of bandana as it makes it super versatile, can fit a range of dogs and the dog doesn't have to be wearing a collar to wear it. With the other style of bandana where you slip the collar through the bandana I find you often get clashing colours/patterns between bandana and collar. This type you don't have that problem!

I done a full review of the other bandanas we own from Wolves of Wellington here! I think that pretty much sums up my feelings about their whole range, including this new one. I also have already received a bunch of compliments on this colour and pattern when out walking Diego. The idea of a Halloween themed bandana makes Halloween easy for everyone, and less of a task to be scary.

If you pick up a Howl-o-Ween Bandana please tag me in your photos on Social Media so that I can see your adorable pups too! Buy yours today!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Dog Halloween Outfit DIY: Mermaid

Hey! As you may know, Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, and therefore October is one of my favourite months. I like to make sure Halloween drags out for more than just the 31st so decided to bring you a whole month of Halloween festivities. First up is a DIY for a mermaid costume for your wonderful pooch. I should start this by saying that I am in no way a DIY guru, and my craftsmanship leaves quite a lot to be desired. However, because of how terrible I am it makes this tutorial super easy and I look forward to seeing your recreations!

My best friend's daughter was turning three, and because whenever I am over, Diego is with me, she made sure to invite Diego to her birthday party. Unfortunately for him, the theme was 'Mermaids and Pirate Ships' and she personally requested he be the only male to dress up as a mermaid. I couldn't really let her down as it has been quite a hard road to get her to like his presence in her house. That is when this costume was originally made, but it makes for a perfect dress up for Halloween as well. I also have a matching mermaid tail in case we wanted to do a couples outfit.

I purchased some cheap material from Pete's Emporium, and although the material from here is questionable in quality, it is perfect for little tasks like this which won't be worn very much. I found the material to be of the perfect pattern that no matter how terribly I whipped up the costume, it would still look somewhat mermaid'y. From there, you just need some cardboard (I used an old beer box. Recycling!) and something to attach it to your dog. I used Diego's Linden No-Pull Harness from Wolves of Wellington, but you could also just attach it to their collar.

The first step is to cut out the fin shape in your cardboard. This is going to give you the main shape of the outfit so depending how you want it, this is the important part. I drew one half of the fin onto a folded piece of cardboard and cut this out. This made it so that both sides of the fin would be even. If you trust your drawing and cutting skills, you can just draw the fin straight onto cardboard and cut.

From there I stuck the material to the cardboard. I didn't cut the material first because I didn't trust myself to cut it correctly, do you sense a theme here? I stuck the cardboard close to the material's edge but left a few centimetres so that I could fold this over to hide the cardboard. I used ModgePodge to secure it together, but you could also use a hot glue gun or general crafts glue.

Once this was dry I placed the cardboard fin onto where I would like it to sit on Diego and measured roughly to where his harness sits. You will want to go a few centimetres over this point and then cut. If your tail is connecting to a collar (which I am not sure how it will turn out, but I can't see it going too wrong) you obviously will need to have more material than if you have a harness. I personally wish I put Diego's fin slightly further down so that it sat a bit better with his tail so make sure you really test where the fin sits before cutting. This is also the point when you will cut the sides judging by how big your dog is, how big the fin is and if you are attaching to a harness or collar this will change. I cut mine so that it was just the correct size of Diego's body, but if you had a larger fin you may want to make it so it drapes down the dogs sides.

Where you cut the material you will now want to make a loop in the material that the harness or collar can slip into. If you have ever purchased a dog bandana it is similar to the concept of those bandana's that just slip over your dogs collar. I sewed my loop down, very poorly might I add, but once again depending how permanent you want this to be, you can use a hot glue gun. If you want you can also sew the edges to make a nicer edge, but I left mine jagged.

That's it! Easy as that! A super, simple way of turning your dog into a beautiful mermaid. Looking back I would have made the whole tail longer so that I could then put an elastic loop at the end of the fin to put Diego's tail into. This would have made it more durable while Diego walks because at it's current length it slowly falls to one side. Diego was a hit at the party, and when completing this photoshoot at the river some children absolutely adored him in his outfit. I made this the night before the party so it's a fairly easy DIY to whip up last minute and I promise your pooch will look amazing. If you do recreate this DIY please share the photos with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Interview with Daisy's Doggy Deli

Long time, no interview! I loved this series, and based on feedback, you guys did too! I have decided to bring it back so that we can all learn things about amazing, local businesses.

This month I am interviewing Suzanne who is the mastermind behind Daisy's Doggy Deli. Daisy's Doggy Deli is a dog treat company based in Auckland, New Zealand. Suzanne has made her business around creating natural, healthy treats for dogs without the use of strange ingredients or preservatives. She makes a range of meaty treats that are acceptable for raw-fed dogs to eat, as well as baked cookies. Suzanne is so behind her product, and wants to make the very best for the dogs she feeds that she even sent her products down to Massey University for them to test. They worked together to get a perfect product that lasts a decent amount of time, without the preservatives traditionally seen in dog food, as well as maintaining the top nutritional stats.

I first heard about Daisy's Doggy Deli at the start of this year when Suzanne approached me to trial some of her treats. I jumped on board, not only because Daisy was in the name, but because her natural treats and approach to dog food really inspired me. We got these treats, reviewed them and Diego loved them so much we had to get more. Since then I have re-purchased their treats a few times for Diego, but also for my mother and sister to use with their pooches. I recently purchased a new batch of treats and since I last reviewed the products, she has made them even better! The Chicken & Turmeric Sausages smell amazing, and really grabbed Diego's attention. Even I wanted to eat them and I don't eat meat! Then the beef jerky has been dried perfectly! It is a nice, thin piece of jerky that is easy to tear into smaller pieces, but is not brittle in the slightest. It is such an amazing jerky and I don't think I will ever be able to use 'pet shop' jerky again.

I asked Suzanne a few questions about Daisy, the beautiful dog behind the business, as well as learning more about Daisy's Doggy Deli...

What made you chose Daisy out of all the dogs available?
We adopted Daisy through Paws 4 Life. I was searching online for a rescue pup who was good with chickens and Daisy was being fostered on a farm with free range chickens. I took one look at her photo and fell in love. Next thing you know we’re driving down to Gordonton (near Hamilton) for our meet and greet. It was love at first sight.

How has she been since you rescued her?
I have to say Daisy is such an amazing pup. We really hit the jackpot with her. We've had a couple of homestays recently and even though she is having to share her humans, her beds, her space, her playground, she has never been anything other than completely welcoming.

She comes to farmers markets with us and tolerates humans, kids, dogs and puppies constantly coming up to her and asking for attention. Even at the end of one market a couple of months ago when a kid just came bounding up to her and man-handled her (before I could get there!) she didn't even flinch. Didn't growl or even give a warning sign of not happy.

She's smart, gentle, and so loyal and loving, and yet strong and funny and cheeky all at the same time. She'll be 2 next month but sometimes she acts like she's old before her time! People are always amazed at how calm she is... except when she's destroying stuff! Whoever dumped her and left her for dead didn't deserve her anyway.

Why did you start Daisy's Doggy Deli?
Daisy is very food orientated. We started going to obedience school and she was getting through a fair amount of treats, I just started looking at ingredients and when I couldn’t pronounce half of them I started really looking into ingredients. I also started to research raw fed diets and knew I wanted to get her off cooked dog roll and kibble. But after the switch there weren’t any raw fed dog treats available so I started making my own. And from there the Deli just grew!

What makes you stand out from other dog treat companies in New Zealand?
Good question! Perhaps my passion for good, wholesome treats that just haven’t been pumped full of chemicals? Or the ingredients I use? I will get a really nice piece of topside beef, slice it into jerky and whatever is left over is our Sunday lunch! The meat is that good! Or perhaps it’s just that I want the absolute best for Daisy, and I love sharing her treats with other pampered pooches.

If you could reduce your stock to one product, which one would you choose? 
Good question!! Can I have two answers? For my cookie range with would be the sardine oatcakes. I love making those! For my raw fed range it would be the chicken & turmeric sausages. Dogs seem to go mad for them and I just love how simple and clean and healthy they are.

Tell us about what you believe to be the main misconception in dog nutrition.
I think big dog food companies have used clever marketing tactics to sell us a range of products that our dogs just don’t need. I won’t give Daisy dental sticks for example. Any ‘treat’ that lists over 20 unpronounceable ingredients and has a shelf life of 3+ years can’t be good for our fur babies.

How do you think we can change the general populations opinion on dog nutrition?
Most of the people that I talk to are very aware of their dogs’ diets and do their very best to feed nutritional balanced meals. I think rather we need to change the dog food manufacturers’ opinions on what is acceptable to feed our dogs.

Where do you see Daisy's Doggy Deli in the next five years?
Our long term dream and goal is to move to the country, to a nice house with some land. Just a couple of acres nothing too flash! There we would run Daisy’s Farmstay where dogs can stay with us while their humans go on holiday. There would be a little shop to sell our Doggy Deli treats out of. Once we are all set up then I would like to foster rescue dogs until they find their forever home. I’d also like to set up a chicken sanctuary. I’d have to keep the two areas separate! And of course finally adopt a little sister for Daisy.

Will Daisy's little sister be another rescue?
Definitely yes. I absolutely love all dogs, but I want to do as much as I can for rescue pups who deserve the best life. I imagine once we get our foster home set up there will be a few foster fails so she might end up with more than one little sister!

What is the biggest achievement you have had since starting the Deli?
We will be one year old in October which seems to be quite an achievement in itself! There is so much to learn and there is so much hard work goes in behind the scenes which I never really appreciated until I actually started the Deli.

We are also expanding the dog sitting side of the business, which includes day stays, adventure walks and overnight stays. This is what we will build on over the next two years working towards our long term goal of the farmstay, a foster home and chicken sanctuary.

Would you change anything that you have done since starting the business?
Yes I wish hadn’t dropped my phone a million times! Because now the lens on my camera is cracked and I can’t take any decent photos whilst out and about!! Must get that fixed really.

What would you say to someone wanting to start a pet-based business?
Although it's a huge market (according to Stuff we spend $800 million a year on our dogs alone!) there are a lot of businesses out there and it pays to do your research into what people and their fur babies want and need. Also be prepared to put in *a lot* of hours... I'm almost one year in and still working 12-15 hour days, 7 days a week.