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

How to keep dog teeth healthy, how to brush dogs teeth, puppy advice, tips, best products for brushing dogs teeth

Let’s talk about keeping dog teeth healthy

Last night pups went to bed looking disappointed. In fact, they somewhat hesitated before they joined me. Fred went off and sat by the kitchen door staring at it… Coop, who can, at times, be utterly British in showing his emotions, just sighed.

Then, around 11 o’clock, it suddenly hit me. I forgot to brush their teeth! And so off we run to the kitchen to get our tools out and “clean our teethies”

As soon as the process was complete, pups trotted back to the bedroom and fell asleep peacefully.

It makes some people laugh, but the boys love their dental routine and always gather in the kitchen at 9 in the evening waiting for me. If I don’t appear on time, Fred gives me a quick bark as a polite and slightly impatience reminder.

To be honest, I am glad they turned out to be like this. Not only it’s a joy to brush their teeth, but it also makes me happy to see those almost pearly whites, especially Fred’s. Coop’s teeth are alright, but he had to be on certain antibiotics as a young puppy – and some meds do affect the enamel making it dark.

I got into the habit of teeth brushing long time ago. Not that I am very good at following all my routines, but I do loathe the idea of dental cleaning and general anaesthesia. I know it’s safe, but I don’t believe it’s fair on my pups to go under once every couple of years simply because I failed them at daily tooth brushing.

So we brush. Every night. And interestingly, even science is on our side. According to the research and veterinary articles, daily tooth brushing is still the best way to prevent dental problems. It helps to keep the teeth clean, maintains correct levels of good mouth bacteria and controls the bad ones, In addition, healthy teeth also reduce the risk of other illnesses and lip fold dermatitis.

Just in case you are new to this or not sure how and where to start, here are the steps I use and recommend.

Start early, from the first week you get your puppy. He needs to learn that having your finger in his mouth is totally ok. If you fail this step and the pup is much older, with his adult teeth in full glory and need of proper brushing, he may not be so cooperative if you suddenly try to include tooth brushing into his beauty routine. It’s not natural for dogs to have their teeth and mouth touched and the early introduction will make a massive difference.

For puppies, aim to get him used to the touches and contact. His teeth don’t really need thorough brushing. Use a microfibre brush first, then move onto a finger brush. At this stage you may not need any tooth paste at all. And if you do decide to use something, always check with your vet to ensure that the product is suitable for puppies.

Adult teeth should be brushed with either the finger brush or dog tooth brush.  Don’t forget the toothpaste, too. I like the enzymatic ones and have been using Logic for many years because all my dogs love the flavour and the enzymes in the paste take care of the teeth upon application, without need for the actual brushing (in case you are tired or the pup isn’t too keen on the brush)

The technique is to start by sliding your finger under the lip without actually opening pup’s mouth. If you do use the paste, let the dog smell and lick it. It may take a few days or weeks. Just be gentle, patience and keep going in tiny steps.

When the dog is happy to cooperate, apply a dot of toothpaste on the brush, lift the lip on one side, and brush moving the brush across the teeth in a circular motion. Keep the brush at a 45° angle. Pay particular attention to the back teeth and canines.

If you are unsure or feel stressed about having your pups teeth brushed, book an appointment with a nurse at your vets. It is usually free and they show you how to do everything correctly.

What about dental aids?

There are plenty of chews and chew toys on the market right now. Personally, I don’t use anything edible. Firstly, because studies didn’t show any special effects of dental chews or diets on dogs dental health when compared to daily brushing.

I am also extremely picky about ingredients that go into those chews and am yet to find the one I’d be comfortable with.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the chews must be age- and size- appropriate. Puppies mustn’t chew anything that you cannot bend. You also need to be careful with heavy chewers because they can chomp off larger pieces of chews turning them into choking hazards.

I also never use dehydrated body parts and raw hides.

My pups like their home-made crunchy biscuits, raw carrots and frozen slices of cucumber among other things.

And the bones?

The subject is controversial and I know that many people swear by raw bones. Some studies do say that the bones may reduce or prevent plaque formation. However, the same studies also say that the bones will not reduce the risk of periodontal disease and are likely to increase the risk of broken teeth, dislocated jaws and, if the dog manages to swallow a piece of bone, digestive blockages or life-threatening perforation.

And dry dog food?

There have been studies done on dogs fed moist, dry or a combination of moist and dry foods. The dogs who had dry food showed lower levels of plaque and deposits and reduced risk of periodontal disease compared to dogs from the other groups. I sense that this will be met with plenty of scepticism but I like to go with the science and I do feed kibble to my boys as a part of their diet.

As you can tell, I am a little bit obsessed with canine dental health… I talk about it, I dedicated a part of Perfect cocker spaniel to discussing ways to maintain pearly whites and I will continue reading every research and study focused on nutrition, products and techniques that would help my boys because I cannot even imagine them having pain or extractions and feeling less of a dog because of it.

Especially considering that it only takes a few minutes a day to prevent so many problems…

Diet & nutrition advice for dogs \ Can dogs eat pumpkin \ benefits of pumpkin for dogs / Perfect cocker spaniel dog blog / breed, puppy, grooming, nutrition advice for english cocker spaniels (C)

Can my dog eat… pumpkin?

Pumpkin season is one of the true joys of autumn. They are so adorable – and delicious, too.

CAN A DOG EAT PUMPKIN?

YES, absolutely!

This vegetable (though it’s actually a fruit) is a fantastic source of beta-carotene – a pigment, vitamin and antioxidant that gives pumpkin its orange colour. Beta-carotene takes care of the eye health and maintains resilient immune system. It also protects the body from free radical damage, which may reduce the risk of some cancers.

Pumpkin is also packed with B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and copper that are important for energy production and metabolism, healthy nervous system, and strong bones.

The fibre in pumpkin helps to maintain healthy digestion.

Pumpkin has also being praised for being a natural antibiotic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.

Studies also showed that including pumpkin in a diet could reduce formation of kidney stones, improve weight loss in obese dogs, protect heart and liver, and reduce dermatitis.

Always use food-grade fresh pumpkin – not the one left on a porch on a Halloween night. Always cook it before feeding to the dog and watch the quantities – 1-2 tsp per day is all a cocker needs.

 

Photo source: Matthias Böckel from Pixabay