beyond the doughnut cookbook of gluten free healthy home made dog treats and meals by qualified nutritionist / Perfect cocker spaniel blog / dog blog, nutrition advice, nutrition diet tips for dogs, healthy eating for dogs, English cocker spaniel breed advice, treats, grooming and diet

Beyond the Doughnut

Well, this was unexpected… Almost too good to believe, to be honest. A feast in time of pandemic. A project to create something positive using flour in a manner of magic dust. The long-term and well-nurtured “what if” became an instant “why not” and my happy project named “Beyond the Doughnut“, the cookbook of dog treats.

Writing it felt very different to Perfect cocker spaniel. The puppy guide was conceived and written in memory of Oscar, a tribute to him. Back then this loss felt like a deep wound, still open and painful. By the time I finished the book, the wound healed somewhat… It has been sore for a long time… The book helped to face it. Right now it’s more like a scar, very visible scar that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, everything about Perfect cocker spaniel was deeply emotional. Every positive review and comment brightened up my day, any dose of negativity felt as if somebody insulted the memory of my boy (often without even reading the book or knew the subject well enough, but because they felt like it…)

Beyond the Doughnut had to be different. It needed to be sweet, beautiful and full of goodness.

I rolled up my sleeves and got cooking, pups in tow.

The initial plan was to create the recipes, write them up and then hire a professional photographer to do the imagery.

Half-way through the book I realised that styling and shooting 30 completely different recipes in a day would either kill or bankrupt me. Plus, the virus was having a ball and I refused to be invited.

Two sleepless nights later I decided to DIY everything. From cover to cover and in between.

gluten free recipe for home made easy simple gluten free dog treats by Perfect cocker spaniel from Beyond the Doughnut cookbook of dog treats and meals (C) copyrighted image

I spent hours on eBay looking for vintage props, styled and photographed the results, designed the cover, edited every page, letter and image and made it into a book.

I even created two editions…

Beyond the Doughnut, the big book of dog treats is almost as big as Perfect cocker spaniel. It comes with 30 recipe ideas for meals and treats plus scientifically-backed evidence-based information about nutrition and every ingredients I used throughout the tome.

Beyond the Doughnut: Best Bites is an adorable  book of 10 recipes taken from the main title, and comes without nutrition articles. It’s like a tester for those unsure about the big edition, or a collection of the most simple, gorgeous and very do-able treats that need very little effort. Also these 10 treats are what my pups love the most, so I know it could be used all year and please every pooch under the sun.

And it is most definitely a happy book… For the happy dogs and families who love to hug and dance in the kitchen.

Give it a go. I hope it will add a little sunshine to your day.


Photo credit: Beyond the Doughnut book cover designed by me, photo of the Bunny biscuits is style and photographed by me, taken from the Beyond the Doughnut: Best Bites little cookbook of dog treats

Perfect cocker spaniel featured in Edition Dog magazine June 2020 issue / English cocker spaniel articles & features / Natalia, Cooper & Fred as experts for Cocker spaniel feature / Perfect cocker spaniel guide to the breed, dog blog, how to groom English cocker spaniel, cocker spaniel diet, health, training, puppy tips / written by dog expert, author & canine nutritionist / (C) Natalia Ashton

As featured in Edition Dog magazine

I feel very privileged to be featured in the latest editions of Edition Dog magazine. The April 2020 issue included a photo of Fred that I’ve taken last year. It came as a total surprise and made me feel so proud as a photograher – and also very happy to see my wonderful boy smiling at me from a glossy page. It’s always been one of my favourite photos of him, so this is extra special.

Last week I also got a June copy. They featured English cocker spaniel as the breed in focus and interviewed me as an expert for the wonderful article. It was such a pleasure to chat with Paige Nicole who wrote the piece and spent time with me talking about dogs, my boys, Oscar, Perfect cocker spaniel, puppies and life in general.

If you fancy a copy, the mag is sold in shops and can also be ordered online, which is particularly useful if you’d like to grab back issues or prefer to go digital.

Photo credits: covers and pages via Edition Dog magazine, April and June 2020 issues, photos of me, Oscar, Cooper and Fred are by me, from personal collection

Children and dogs / how to introduce children to your puppy / how to teach children play with dogs / how to avoid dog biting children / first puppy advice cocker spaniel puppies / first published on Perfect cocker spaniel blog (C)

Dogs & children: avoiding problems & building the bond

Most kids love dogs. And I must admit, often they love them almost too much and it’s easy to see why. Dogs are wonderful. They love humans. They kiss. They smile. They come to you to get stroked. And when it comes to cocker spaniels… Well, that’s the top level of “irresistible” isn’t it?

Unfortunately, according to research by The Ohio State University, “nearly five million people” get bitten by dogs and kids are at higher risk than adults.

And I don’t believe that in most cases it’s the dog’s fault. In fact, I think the problem comes from parents who do not teach children how to communicate with dogs (and some parents who simply push their kids towards a dog in a park and say “oh, go stroke that nice doggy!…” without asking the owner if that’s ok and, worse, not even watching the kid during the process) This can be very traumatic for the dog and both traumatic and dangerous for the kid, isn’t it?

I think it’s a very delicate subject to touch, but if you plant to introduce a dog to your family with little children, or have a dog who isn’t particularly “into your kids”, show your child how to treat a dog.

Here are a few simple ideas:

Ask your children to treat the dog with respect and remind them that a doggy is not a fluffy toy, but a living creature.

Explain to children that they must not disturb (or touch) the dog when he is asleep, eating his meal or chewing treats.

Teach children not to take away dog’s toys or treats while the dog is enjoying them.

Show the kids how to pet the dog correctly.

Do not leave your child and the dog in a room without supervision. Dogs can react VERY fast and if you are not there, the child can get insured.

Remember that children are constantly watching you and learning from your actions, so treat the dog with love and care at all times.

Last but not least, if you are introducing a new puppy, remember to show your children how to hold and lift him correctly, explain that the puppy is like a baby and needs his sleep and rest, show your kids how to play with the puppy without injuring him, do not let your kids walk the pup unless they are grown-up enough to do it safely and responsibly.

Photo source: image by StockSnap from Pixabay