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Healthy Hearty Holiday Treats

By Liz Bradley
 While the irresistible scents of roasting turkey, warming shortbread and frothing eggnog linger in the air, so too does the perpetual worry of packing on a few too many holiday pounds. But what about the holiday weight put on by your pets? Although it tis’ the season for splurging and spoiling, when it comes to dishing out decadent pet treats, a lot of owners are barking up the wrong Christmas tree.
Rather than feed your beloved pooch treats containing unnatural preservatives and additives, which can be harmful to digestion and general nutrition, why not consider going to an all natural pet-bakery and getting some healthy gourmet goodies?
Founded by Carol Elliot in 2004, on beautiful Vancouver Island, Pet Treat Bakery creates high quality, natural ingredient, sweet treats fit for any furry friend.
To make a long story short, a little SPCA rescue dog called Spike is the reason behind Pet Treat Bakery. Spike refused to eat usual commercial treats, so one day Elliot’s daughter-in-law suggested baking for the fussy little dog. The resulting banana biscotti was wolfed down in two seconds flat.
Elliot continued baking for Spike and a few canine chums, using only wholesome chemical free ingredients, until something reminiscent of the “Twilight Bark” from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians happened. Demand for Elliot’s delicious pet savvy treats sky-rocketed and before she knew it, a bakery was born. Today, Pet Treat Bakery’s products are sold in 35 different shops and five veterinary clinics – and Spike is the company’s president. 
“A lot of junk goes into typical pet foods and treats,” says Elliot sadly. ““When you’ve got a dog or a cat, you have to look beyond the price point, as you would with your children, and take a real look at what you feed them. If you wouldn’t put it on the table for yourself, don’t put it in your dog’s bowl.”
The philosophy behind Pet Treat Bakery is threefold. Firstly, treats have to be all natural. “Peanut butter has to be just peanut butter,” Elliot insists. “No chemicals that you can’t pronounce.” Secondly, treats have to be tasty. Spike always lends a paw with this process, although sometimes a difference of opinion occurs between official taste-tester and chief baker. “I hate liver pate, but he loves it,”chuckles Elliot, who guarantees Pet Treat Bakery’s products are safe for human consumption. And finally, treats have to be affordable.
Nowadays a lot of dogs have developed environmental and wheat allergies, so Elliot has modified several recipes to suit these otherwise treat deprived pups. The sumptuous ‘Sweet Potato Pie,’ for example, is made with no grains, no eggs and no dairy, so dogs with allergies can indulge. Dehydrated beef, bison and pork liver is also allergy friendly and contains no cholesterol.
Elliot warns,, however, that although her pet products are safe for human consumption, not all human foods are safe for pets, like chocolate. Onions can also be lethal to dogs, grapes, currants and raisins harm the canine kidneys, and some dogs have trouble digesting peppers.
“People should be especially careful about giving their dogs Christmas dips with an onion base or leaving chocolates on tables this time of year,” says Elliot. She recommends instead trying your hand at making some tasty Christmas Twisters.

Emily Ho never dreamed she would start an all natural pet bakery, but while attending university a chocolate lab led her from paramedic studies to an entirely different path.
“This poor dog had every allergy in the book,” recalls Ho. “Including horrific ear infections.” When it seemed that all hope was lost and the poor fellow was going to have to be put down, Ho switched his food over to a raw diet and in just two weeks saw a significant change. “He used to have black tar leaking from his ear all the time, because of the infections,” Ho says. “But it cleared up after being on the raw food.”
A friend and Ho then came up with the idea to not only make dog treats look good, but to keep them healthy too. In 2006, Bon-A-Pet-Treat (BAPT) Bakery opened in Calgary Albeta.
Everything is made from scratch, with the freshest ingredients. “We try to keep our treats looking good, but we don’t slather things in yogurt or over do it,” says Ho, a great believer that the taste should speak for itself. Entirely vet approved, BAPT’s products bring pet feeding back to basics. “It’s a whole food concept,” reveals Ho. “People are always looking for better ways to eat for themselves, so it only makes sense that we do that for our pets too.”
BAPT offers a wide range of unique products from the oh-so popular ‘Cheese Hydrants,’ ‘Peanut Butter Banana Bones,’ and ‘Honey Apple Bears,’ to a variety of Pup-Cakes, including mud-pie, carrot and brownie flavours. BAPT also produces adorable specialty gift baskets for milestone events in a pooch’s life. For example, there’s the “Nut’s I’ve Been Neuteured,” or “Congratulations on Your New Puppy” baskets – both filled with wholesome drool worthy delicacies.
When it comes to knowing what is good for your pet and what is harmful, Ho says, “just read the label. You should know what you’re getting and what you’re giving. You should be comfortable in knowing what is in a product, that cheese is actually cheese and not some flavour filled chemical.”
BAPT creates different novelty treats for every holiday and is sure to have an abundance of stocking stuffers in store this season.

What is Rachelle Jandard’s secret to spoiling dogs rotten and keeping them healthy? Slow baking.
“Every biscuit we make is baked slowly to retain the nutrition of the ingredients,” says Jandard, owner and founder of Spoil the Dog Bakery, in Guelph, Ontario. “Most large companies can’t take the time to bake slowly and instead blast their biscuits at about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which cooks a lot of the nutrition right out of the product.”
Jandard bakes at an even 300 degrees Farhenheit, no higher, no lower. She also does not grind the flax seed she uses (an excellent source of Omega-3, which is great for the skin and coat), once again preserving as much of the fundamental nutrition and flavour as possible.
Jandard was inspired by her now nine year old dog, Moka and a desire to give her canine companion only the best, after realizing she had no idea what the majority of ingredients were in typical dog treats.
A great deal of research and trial and error later, Jandard developed a few recipes and started giving them out amongst friends. A few months later Global Pets caught a whiff of what was cooking and propositioned Jandard about wholesaling. Spoil the Dog Bakery now supplies 100 locations with hand-made gourmet, nutrition packed pet indulgences.
Spoil the Dog Bakery refuses to bake with corn, wheat, soy, salt, suger or any artificial preservatives, preferring to use as many organic ingredients as possible for increased flavour and nutrition, and to support farmers who are attempting to help the environment. The primary base in Jandard’s culinary concoctions is the humble chickpea, very high in calcium and low in calories, and safe to eat for wheat allergy sufferers.
Fashioned into cute little shapes, including stars, maple leaves, flours and donuts, these gourmet treats pack quite the nutritional punch, winning praise from veterinarians, pet owners and, of course, the pets! Spoil the Dog Bakery also cooks for the fussy felines of the world, and, as of this year, horses too!
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There are even some simple healthy snacks you can start feeding your dog today right at home. Carrots are a terrific low-calorie snack, as are apple slices. Oatmeal is easy enough to whip up and provides essential amino acids, while being a great source of fibre and iron. Even garlic can be chopped up and given as a rewarding tid-bit, to help cleanse the blood, prevent pesky fleas and boost the immune system.
So this holiday season, why not treat your pet the way you would want to be treated? With a delicious mouth-watering snack, that also happens to be good for you.
By Laura L. Benn

Duncan the Lab-Mix

Courtesy of Hopeful Hearts Rescue
 We’d like you to meet Duncan — an adorable and exuberant young man with a true zest for life and a love of snow. Approximately 15-months-old, this happy young fellow made his way to Hopeful Hearts when his time was up at an overcrowded shelter. He is an absolute dream with older children (he loves little kids too, but his large size and bouncy nature make him more suited towards a home with older children) and is a very loving boy with a huge heart to give. He’s eagerly awaiting his forever home and will be oh-so happy to see you! Click here for me information.

Saving O Tannenbaum

By Stephanie Heim
Cats climb trees so it should come as no surprise when they want to climb the only tree that’s available this time of year. Unfortunately, this just happens to be your Christmas tree decorated from top to bottom with your grandmother’s priceless antique ornaments. Instead of fighting with Kitty this year, why not try anticipating trouble before it happens. Here are some tips to make sure that you, Kitty and your family heirlooms all remain safe.

1. SPRITZ, SPRITZ, SPRITZ! 
 Claim the tree as your territory. No, this doesn’t mean chasing your cat through the house growling and hissing. Simply set up the tree and leave it undecorated for a few days. Most of the time, the cat will explore and then get bored and leave it alone. But take that time to let your cat know that the tree belongs to you. Whenever they approach it, use your handy-dandy water bottle and give Kitty a quick spritz. But note, an undecorated tree is key with the water bottle method, since you obviously don’t want to electrocute your cat.
2. CITRUS SCENTS
  To help your cat develop an aversion to the tree, leave orange peels around the bottom. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus, which can be used to your advantage. If you get tired of having dried out orange peels lying around your tree, then pick up some Bitter Apple. It’s a repellent to pets so spray the whole tree with it while it’s still undecorated. Since the apple scent dissipates quickly, you can refresh every couple of days, as long as the lights are unplugged. Keep it safe, people.
3. PINE CONES
  Maybe you want a more decorative option for keeping your cat away from those shiny baubles. So, pile pine cones under the tree, because cats absolutely hate walking on them (who knew?) Spray the pine cones with some citronella or bitter apple and the cats will stay away for good while still earning your house a spot in the Martha Stewart magazine.
4. TABASCO SAUCE
  There’s always the chance that your cat has stopped climbing the tree but continues to sit underneath it to enjoy a nosh on the lower branches. I have a cat that doesn’t even care if it’s real or fake before he starts chewing. To avoid this behaviour, just put a small dab of Tabasco sauce on the lower branches. It’ll be a spicy surprise for your furry friend and chances are will keep them from coming back for seconds.
Other helpful ways to keep your tree from crashing down include use fishing wire to secure the tree to the wall. Hang the most expensive or nicest ornaments at the top where Kitty probably won’t be able to reach them. Try using plastic ornaments at the bottom, so if they do get knocked off there’s little chance of breakage. And most importantly, despite whatever urges you might have, don’t play with your cat while you’re decorating the tree. If you make it a game, then the tree will become their playground. And for the love of cats, avoid using tinsel. It’s bad for your cats to begin with if they ingest it, and it’s shiny sparkly constitution unavoidably attracts a cat’s curious nature. Besides, tinsel is just a hassle anyway, so do yourself a favour and leave it off this year.
In my own experience, cats tend to grow out of the tree climbing. They either lose the kitten spryness or their youthful curiosity. However, cats are also creatures of habit, so once in a tree chances are they may always try at least once every year to return to the bushy branches and hide away. Even though Kitty might look gosh darn cute while he’s in there, remember hanging out in a Christmas tree can be dangerous, so follow these tips and keep him purr-fectly safe!
By Allison Vorstenbosch

Isis the White Shepherd

Photo Courtesy of Hopeful Hearts Rescue
 Introducing Isis, a gorgeous eight-year-old white shepherd! This beautiful gentle giant has had a rough life. She was picked up as a stray with a very messy coat and extremely low weight, then delivered to a pound in hopes of being adopted. However, Isis, being the sensitive soul that she is, suffered from a deep depression while waiting for a new family. Eventually rescued by Hopeful Hearts when her so-called ‘time was up,’ Isis is now thriving in foster care.
Totally tennis ball obsessed (she will carry one around for hours at a time), Isis is very devoted to her foster family and demonstrates perfect training. She is very gentle and sweet and gets along well with anything that moves. However, due to her mature age, a quieter environment would be best for this girl, who deserves a loving home in which to spend her golden years. For more information, click here.

November 2010 Pet of the Month!

Brandy the Golden Retriever is all smiles all the time, a quality that makes him one of the most lovable pooches in his Ottawa neighbourhood. He adores long walks (or better yet runs) and playing fetch is one of his all time favourite hobbies. However, being the trendy urban dog that he is, Brandy also enjoys frequent walks to the local Starbucks and waits patiently outside, licking his chops with anticipation for the bagel mom always orders with her latte. Oh yes, life is simply sweet when you’re an optimist like Brandy. Good people, good food and awesome snuggles is everything this pooch looks for in the perfect day. Congratulations Brandy! November 2010 Pet of the Month!

NICKNAMES: 
Branders, Brandy-Boy
PARENT: 
Jenny Weitzman
AGE: 
Almost 2 years!
FAVOURITE GAME: 
Anything with sticks!
FAVOURITE TREAT: 
Any king of food! (What? I’m easy to please.)
MOST MISCHIEVOUS MOMENT: 
I really really love sticks, so much so that I once tore apart an entire wicker basket in the front foyer. Such fun!
BEST TRICK: 
Rolling over…and over, and over, and over, and…man I’m dizzy.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT:
I feel out of a motor boat…and it wasn’t even motoring…le sigh.
BEST FRIEND: Yuna the Puggle! She’s a sweetie!
CATCH PHRASE: Play play play!
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If you would like to nominate your pet friend for next month’s “Pet of the Month Contest,” please email submissions to info@pawsh-magazine.com