I have three Beagle girls. After losing one of my beagles a few years back and being told off by my vet to over feed my pooches, I started looking at dog food and treats in general. I actually put most of the fatty treats into the bin back then and started to only feed my beagle girls “good” food. Because, just like humans, the doggy’s have exactly the same issues. Hick up, Heart burn, sickness, tummy ache, dry skin etc etc etc. Now, I am suffering from Hashimoto myself, which is an auto immune disease and I know that “clean” eating will make you feel a lot better, reducing the symptoms. So the same really applies to dogs.
Yes, of course we can buy the “cheaper” fatty foods and just fill the bowls and have them scoff away their food. Just to keep them quiet. But you are not doing your pooches and yourself over time a favour. Your pooches will get fat and unhealthy, will develop bad skin, gain weight and might have other serious issues developing over time, which leads to you having to go to the vet and end up with huge bills.
Food is the key – There is so much information out there, you just need to keep educating yourself and try things out. Find what is right for you and your dogs. Having three pooches, they of course have different demands so it’s a bit trickier to find a good balance that suits them all without having to customize too much.
So in this blog I wanted to share with you the stuffing I fill the rubber KONG toys with. I originally started with just mashed sweet potato with Greek yogurt but I recently improved the recipe a little to keep things exciting for the pooches. The recipe as follows for a total of 21 KONGs which will last me 3 and half days:
3 large sweet potatoes
1 ripe banana
500 g Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. milled linseed (optional)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp. good peanut or almond butter
Peel, chop and boil the sweet potato for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain the excess water and leave to cool. Peel the ripe banana, cut into slices and add to the pot with the sweet potatoes. Add all remaining ingredients and mash it all together until you have a nice and smooth thick paste.
Now the fun part: I usually add a few bits of kibble to the bottom of the KONGs; I then fill all the mash into a large freezer bag cutting off a small corner of the bag and pipe the mash into the KONGs. Just for fun, I am sticking a rawhide chew stick right into the core of the KONG. To make things last a little longer, I put the stuffed KONGs into freezer bags, simply to avoid freeze burn, and put it all into the freezer. Job done, prepared for several days and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Isn’t that great? I totally love being organized in such way.
Once ready you can surprise your pooches with the delicious and healthy treat and mine usually need 30 – 45 minutes to get through the KONG. Since it’s frozen, they need of course longer. But they fairly enjoy it and never get tired of them.
Now, mine are getting the stuffed KONGs twice a day. First one when I leave the house in the morning and then again once they come back from day care to bridge the time until I get back home at night. If you feel that might be too much, well, I adjusted their food portions instead to ensure that they still have a good balance without getting overfed.
Now, you probably think, that’s a lot of effort, but I can tell you that by changing the dog’s diets and use healthy options, I actually managed to cure all of their little issues. My oldest girl had very bad skin issues that all went away over a short period of time without having to get medicine from the vet. We also managed to reduce her weight. She lost a total of 5 kilos in 1 year. That of course is not just the KONGs but also the meal time changes and good exercise. My middle one, she is 3, had bad heart burn, that as well, I managed to cure just by changing the food and adding healthy options to her diet. We of course still make sure the vet takes a good look at them, but for sure I never received any more telling offs but rather praise for looking after the dogs.
Just one final note on the peanut butter: I recently read a report that peanut butter in supermarkets now often contains Xylitol. Please make sure you check the ingredients first before you mash anything up or give to your dog as a treat. Xylitol is highly toxic for dogs even in very small amounts. Make sure you buy “good” peanut butter which is not full of E-numbers but rather has natural ingredients only. You also find this in chewing gums. So make sure the pooches don’t pick up any gums on your daily walks.
I usually buy Pip and Nut or Natures Best. They are very common in most of the larger supermarkets.
Below a couple of interesting links for you to explore: