Healthy Dog Treat Recipes to Try at Home

Healthy dog treats, dog looking up at homemade biscuit

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. But, amidst all the coronavirus craziness, we at Strut the Pup know at least one thing to be true: social distancing isn’t so bad when you’ve got a furry friend to keep you company. And what better use of all this new-found spare time than to treat your pet to something special?

Just like with human food, homemade dog food offers dog owners control over every ingredient, ensuring pups only consume the healthiest bits and bites possible. With that in mind, we’ve collected a few of our favorite healthy dog treat recipes — all using ingredients you either already have at home, or can easily find in stores today. (No toilet paper required!)

On the list of stay-home activities both you and your pup can enjoy, baking dog treats is a close second … behind taking your dog on a walk, of course. So grab your aprons, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get cookin’!

Mega Healthy Dog Biscuits

Mega Healthy Dog Biscuits by the Daring Gourmet in bowl

Kimberly Killebrew from the cooking blog The Daring Gourmet has outdone herself with these homemade dog treats — they are, in fact, “mega healthy” for your fur-baby.

Each ingredient in these healthy dog biscuits seems to have something to offer: whole grains to help grow good gut bacteria and regulate bowel movements, unsalted seeds for added protein, olive oil to promote healthy skin and coat, fish oil to relieve allergies and joint pain … it’s even been suggested that cinnamon improves a dog’s brain function.

As with all things, it’s important to remember that each of these ingredients is only healthy in moderation. So be sure to use these dog treats as exactly that — a treat, and not an all-the-time sort of thing.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 high quality fish oil capsules
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • ½ to ¾ cup water



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the water, squeezing the fish oil from the capsules into the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir the mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Slowly add the water, starting with ½ cup and add more as needed. You want a thick dough that holds together without being too sticky. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to ¼ inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out biscuits and place them on a lined cookie sheet. Gather up the scraps of dough, roll it out again, and cut out the remaining biscuits.
  4. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the biscuits are golden and hard. Let cool completely and keep stored in an airtight container. Will keep for several days.


Find the original recipe here:

Homemade Chicken Jerky Chews

Chicken jerky dog chews recipe by The Bark Magazine

Often the primary source of protein among dog food labels, cooked chicken not only keeps dogs full, but it also builds lean muscle mass, promotes healthy, shiny coats, and supports bone health to boot. In fact, some special doggie diets suggest serving skinless, boneless chicken in place of traditional dog kibble altogether.

Outside of these chews being high in protein, we love this dog treat recipe because it sparks a conversation about dog-friendly seasonings. The three herbs mentioned (parsley, rosemary, and sage) are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and chock-full of antioxidants — the perfect opportunity to spice up your dog’s diet!

Disclaimer: Be sure to use spices in small doses, and double-check the effect on doggos with special conditions, like epilepsy or calcium oxalate stones.

Required Tools

  • Dehydrator (but it’s possible to make these chews in the oven, too!)



  • 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Your choice of dog-friendly seasonings: parsley, rosemary, sage (preferably fresh and chopped very fine)



  1. Rinse the chicken breasts and remove any fat, which slows down the dehydrating process and will shorten the jerky’s shelf life.
  2. Slice the chicken into strips about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick; slicing with the grain will make the jerky even chewier.
  3. Coat the strips with oil and seasonings.
  4. Place the strips on the dehydrator tray, spacing them evenly; make sure they do not touch. The drying process depends on adequate airflow between the strips.
  5. Put the tray in the dehydrator, turn it on and set the temperature for 140 degrees.


It will probably take between 3 and 12 hours for the strips to fully dry, depending on how thick you cut them and the exact temperature of your dehydrator. After the first hour, start checking the strips on an hourly basis. To determine the dryness level, remove one strip from the dehydrator, cut into it with a sharp knife and examine the inside. When the meat is completely dried, you won’t see any moisture and it will be the same color throughout. If it needs more time, put it back in for another hour. As it gets closer to being finished, check every half hour.

When your chicken jerky is done, store it in air-tight containers; zip-lock bags work great for this. Refrigerate the containers for an even longer shelf life.


Original recipe here:

Simple Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats

Yorkshire terrier licking frozen yogurt dog treat in cone
Frozen yogurt from recipe not pictured.

Full disclosure: while these homemade dog treats definitely have something to offer, these yogurt treats are mayyyybe not the healthiest. As summer rolls around, however, we wanted to include an easy dog treat that can help your pup cool off!

Similar to humans, dogs aren’t really made to digest lactose once they’re grown. But, also similar to humans, the probiotic properties in plain Greek yogurt can support your dog’s digestive health. The recipe says flavored yogurt is okay, but we’d recommend sticking to the plain stuff to keep sugar levels in check and avoid any yogurts sweetened with xylitol, an artificial sweetener toxic to dogs. Double-check the peanut butter for xylitol, too!

One thing we especially love about this recipe? The banana! Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium — all reasons leading some veterinarians to recommend bananas as dog treats instead of manufactured alternatives.


  • 4 cups yogurt (plain and non-fat)
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed



  1. Melt peanut butter in microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. Place all of the ingredients into a blender, mixer or food processor and mix well (until smooth).
  3. Pour into ice cube trays or Popsicle trays.
  4. Freeze until firm.
  5. Pop out of the tray (you’ll need a knife) and let your dog enjoy this frozen treat!


Original recipe here:

Superfood Gravy

Silver gravy boat

Mmm … gravy. A staple during the holidays, gravy adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to any dish. And — while the gravy we use for our mashed potatoes isn’t exactly beneficial to our health — this simple homemade dog gravy offers several healthy ingredients: ground turkey as a source of lean protein, frozen peas to support eye, skin, and heart health, and nutrient-rich liver to aid in all kinds of necessary functions.

Though the recipe doesn’t specify which type of oil to use, we recommend using olive oil to promote a healthy coat (and avoid GMOs found in some canola oils). Throw a dash of some of those dog-friendly seasonings in there, and you’ve got yourself a tasty addition to your pup’s next meal!


  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 lb (approx 500 g) ground turkey
  • 4 oz (100 g) liver
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups water



  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the ground turkey and liver.
  2. Once the meats are browned, add the frozen peas then pour in 3 cups of water. Put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly then place the mixture in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. It may still look a bit grainy once you have done this, but your dog won’t mind! Frozen in an ice-cube tray, this gravy will keep for up to two months. Warm to room temperature before feeding.


Original recipe here:

Homemade Dog Treats, Healthy in Moderation

Watch out for too much of a good thing! When feeding your dog, it’s important to refer back to these three rules:

  • Thought: Think about how each ingredient will affect your unique dog, especially for those with special conditions. We recommend asking your veterinarian before introducing your dog to new foods and ingredients, just in case.
  • Moderation: Only share food with your dog in moderation — save it for special occasions!
  • Balance: Consider how the food you’re sharing fits into your dog’s well-balanced diet.

Stay safe out there, friends!

Black dog licking lips, lying on sofa

Sharing Holiday Foods With Your Dog

French bulldog with pumpkins and dog eating in fall

The season of giving is right around the corner — and who better to give presents to than man’s best friend?

As we inch closer to Thanksgiving, we’re reminded that one of the finest gifts you can give this holiday season is the gift of a home-cooked meal. But before you start doling out leftover holiday treats, it’s important to remember that dogs can’t safely eat everything we can. The no-gos for doggos may surprise you!

Leftover Foods You Should NOT Feed Your Dog

For various reasons, dog owners should think twice about sharing their table scraps with their pups. From a behavioral standpoint, sharing leftover food with your dog may lead to some bad habits, like whining or begging every time you sit down to eat. On the flipside, sharing with your dog can add some diversity to their diet, ensuring they get all the vitamins and minerals they need to live a healthy lifestyle.

When it comes to giving dogs leftovers, Strut the Pup recommends abiding by three principles: thought, moderation, and balance. The first principle refers to whether or not you’ve thought about the contents of the food you’re sharing — and how it’ll affect your dog.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some ingredients commonly found in holiday foods that you should not share with your dog.

Raisins, which dogs should not eat


Stuffing with golden raisins and walnuts is a delicious addition to a Thanksgiving feast, but maybe not to your dog’s bowl. Raisins — and grapes, for that matter — are highly toxic to dogs, and no amount has been proven safe for dogs to ingest.

Onions & Garlic

Garlic and onion are two classic ingredients responsible for giving your Thanksgiving turkey rich, savory flavor. While sharing some turkey cuts with your dog is okay, do your best to remove any onion or garlic; garlic in particular is incredibly toxic to dogs, causing anemia and a whole handful of scary side effects.

A red onion, which are toxic to dogs
Assorted nuts in shape of turkey, including macadamia nuts & almonds, which are bad for dogs

Macadamia Nuts

A crunchy complement to anything from green beans to cookies, macadamia nuts are a versatile nut often found in holiday meals. Unfortunately, macadamia nuts also contain an unknown ingredient that’s toxic to dogs, as well as a large amount of fat that can lead to pancreatitis. (P.S. almonds are also not good for dogs!)


One of the perfect fall spices, nutmeg does not sit well in man’s best friend’s stomach. The spice, often found in holiday baked goods, contains myristicin, which is toxic to dogs in large amounts. Cinnamon should also be limited, so be careful while baking!

Pile of whole nutmegs, which are toxic to dogs
Shards of dark chocolate, which is toxic to dogs


Most people know that chocolate is harmful to dogs, but with the chocolate goodies making their way into our homes around the holidays, we just wanted to reiterate. All kinds of chocolate — even white chocolate — contain theobromine, which can overstimulate your dog’s nervous system and cause serious neurological effects.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute found mostly in gum, candy, Jell-O, and certain baked goods. While it might be a sweet treat for us, xylitol can cause a drop in your dog’s blood sugar or, in more severe cases, liver failure. Double-check the contents of your holiday desserts just in case your pooch snags some off the table!

Gingerbread cookies with frosting containing xylitol, which dogs should not eat

Holiday Foods That Dogs Love

It’s not fair to just name the dangerous foods — there are lots of holiday foods that can support your dog’s health, too! When adding something special to your furry friend’s food bowl, consider the following:


Best served plain and skinless to avoid garlic or other risky seasonings, turkey is a great source of lean protein for your pup. Don’t forget to check for bones, which can tear up a dog’s digestive system!


Canned pumpkin — not to be confused with canned pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar and spices that are bad for dogs — is a great source of fiber for your dog, and can even soothe a dog’s upset stomach. A fall favorite for you and your pooch!

Sweet Potatoes

Similar to pumpkin, cooked and mashed sweet potatoes have lots of fiber and beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps your pet fight off illnesses and infections. As cold season rears its stuffy-nosed head for both you and your pet, it’s nice to do what you can to keep all your family members healthy

Green Beans

Green beans are not only another low-calorie source of fiber, but they’re also loaded with other important vitamins and minerals, like iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Try giving these to your dog before you cook them (or put them in a casserole) for the most benefit!

Labradoodle sits patiently in front of a holiday wreath before Christmas

Happy Howlidays from Strut the Pup!

When feeding your dog human food, just remember our three tips:

  • Thought: Think about the contents of what you’re giving them, especially the spices and seasonings you cooked with.
  • Moderation: Only share food with your dog in moderation — save it for special occasions!
  • Balance: Consider how the food you’re sharing fits into your dog’s well-balanced diet.

With this list and our tips in mind, you and your pooch are sure to have a holiday season that’s merry and bright!

Pet Sitters & Pet Separation Anxiety

Cute black dog looks up at pet sitter at home in Seattle, two others sleep on bed

Leaving your dog at home can be stressful for pup and owner alike. Nobody likes saying goodbye to their best friend, even if it’s just for an eight-hour workday!

As the dog days of summer continue and calendar dates inch closer to the holidays, however, seasonal travel plans (spanning longer than a single workday) start to materialize — which means now might be the best time to start preparing your pooch for some alone time. If your dog demonstrates signs of pet separation anxiety, read on for symptoms, causes, and Strut the Pup-approved ways to ease a worried dog’s nerves.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs


Separation anxiety is most often diagnosed in dogs, and it goes beyond a so-long whine or the occasional misplaced shoe — anxiety in dogs is indicative of real distress and emotional discomfort. True separation anxiety is caused by distrust, often stemming from a change in guardianship, schedule, residence, or household membership.

If your dog demonstrates a few of these symptoms of separation anxiety on a regular basis, then it’s possible they’re dealing with stress when left at home alone:

  • Having an accident inside … after they’re housebroken
    If your pup still has accidents when you’re around, then it’s unlikely anxiety is causing their accidents while you’re away; they’re probably just not fully potty-trained yet! If they’re already housebroken, however, accidents in the house could be a cause for concern.
  • Lots of barks or howls
    Mournful yips upon an owner’s departure is normal, but if you get reports of your dog making unreasonable amounts of noise while you’re away, your dog might be stressed out by themselves.
  • Chewing, digging or frantic scratching
    No one likes to come home to a mess — as aggravating as chewed objects, scratched door frames or damaged furniture is after a long day, pet owners have to consider the cause of this doggy destruction before taking immediate action. Destructive behavior can lead to self-harm, including broken teeth, raw paws, or damaged nails, so it’s especially important to confront the underlying issue.
  • Nervous, obsessive pacing
    If your pup starts to pace in a fixed pattern when you look like you’re about to leave, it might mean they have some unsettled nerves.
  • Escape attempts
    Unfortunately, this isn’t Homeward Bound — if your dog is attempting to escape regularly, it’s more worrisome than it is heroic or heartwarming.
  • Noticeably abnormal panting or drooling
    Oftentimes, when a pet is dealing with separation anxiety, they exhibit symptoms when you start your morning routine or show signs that you’re about to leave, like putting on your shoes or coat. Keep an eye out for out-of-character panting or excessive drooling when you make moves toward the door.

Is It Actually Separation Anxiety, Though?

Like with most issues, diagnosis is the first step in dealing with pet-owner separation anxiety. One important thing to note, however, is that separation anxiety isn’t the only cause of the behaviors listed above. Inadequate or incomplete training, other medical issues, or reactions to medications are all examples of other things that can cause your pup to act out when you’re not home. Be sure to check in with your vet or trainer about the behavior if you’re unsure.

There are also environmental elements that could cause your dog to exhibit some of the symptoms listed above. Your dog could be howling and barking, for example, because they’re frustrated, territorial, or seeking attention — barking is a dog’s primary means of communication, so there are a number of possible triggers unrelated to separation anxiety. Make sure you leave your pooch in a safe place with plenty of room to roam.

Senior beagle looks out window at pet sitter with Kong toy in mouth

Lastly, because dogs also need mental stimulation during the day, it’s possible for a dog to get bored while their human is away. If your dog doesn’t appear to be nervous or anxious when you leave but they still show some of these behaviors when you’re gone, they might not have enough to do to keep themselves occupied. Be sure to leave them toys and space to play so they don’t get restless while home alone!

Solutions for Pet Separation Anxiety


Improper training may be the cause for bad behavior in some cases, but proper training is the solution in most. Slowly, consistently teaching your dog to believe you’ll return home to him at the end of the day is key. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Limit the amount of time they’re alone
    For more severe cases, it’s important to limit the amount of time your dog is left alone. It’s great if you work close to home and are able to check in on your pooch during your lunch break — but if not, hiring a dog walker to make daily visits is also a good solution. Your dog will appreciate the reminder that they’re not alone, as well as the opportunity to get some fresh air and midday exercise in.
  • Teach them that being separated is okay
    Try a technique called counterconditioning: leave them a special treat each time you leave that calms their nerves. Treats that entertain dogs for longer amounts of time, like food-filled toys or durable chew toys, not only act as a distraction, but they’re also something your dog can look forward to while you’re away. Just make sure you take the toy back each night after you return!
  • Tone down the greetings
    Don’t make a big deal out of a small thing! Hellos and goodbyes should be calm and collected, showing your dog that they’re no biggie. A small pat on the head, or even a delayed greeting once you get home, should do the trick.
  • Exercise
    A tired, content pup is more likely to rest during the day. Regular exercise (maybe even before you leave for the day) can help your dog settle down when you’re gone.

Dog Sitters & Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Dog sitter scratches a black dog's tummy on a cozy couch

Professional dog walkers and overnight pet sitters like the ones on the Strut the Pup team are experts in reinforcing good behaviors while you’re away — even if that only means keeping your pup busy with fun things to do! Oftentimes, pets with separation anxiety appreciate any company, especially the company of a trusted pet sitter.

Like humans, a healthy lifestyle for dogs includes regular exercise and socialization, and it’s important that your pup satisfies these needs at all times — especially while you’re at the office, taking an overnight trip, or on an extended vacation. Separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue that many dog owners deal with, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. If you’ve tried to nip these anxiety-induced behaviors in the bud before to no avail, our certified Trainer/Behaviorist would be happy to offer extra help. With some expertise and a little bit of patience, your pet will start feeling comfortable alone in no time!

Should You Feed Your Dog Your Leftover Food?

dog walking eating leftovers

People have mixed feelings about feeding scraps and leftovers to dogs. Some even detest the very thought of it, insisting that it is damaging to their dog’s health. On the other hand, there are people who have always given their leftovers to their pooches without seeing any health problems. And like anything you can find research supporting each and every opinion… If both parties have a ground to base their arguments on, what is really at heart of these differences?

There are three words we keep in mind when thinking about leftovers – thought, moderation, and balance.

Yes, you can give leftovers to your dog – but in moderation, and provided that your dog’s diet is balanced. Moreover, this is assuming you have thought about the types of foods are known to not do well for dogs.

For example, some clear ‘No No’s include:

  • Foods sweetened with Xylitol like baked goods and some diet foods, can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure.
  • Avocados, while tasty, can be poisonous to your dogs if eaten too much.
  • Onions and garlic can kill your dog’s red blood cells leading to anemia. Not good!
  • Even a small amount of raisins or grapes can make a dog sick and lead to kidney failure.
  • Everyone knows about no chocolate right? It can cause a dog to vomit and have diarrhea. It can also cause heart problems, tremors, seizures, and yes – death.

You should not feed your dog with ONLY leftovers, because your leftover food (as good as it may be in your opinion) probably does not provide all the nutrients that your dog requires. In fact, it may contain too much of a particular substance that can be harmful for your dog – for example, fat. SO make sure that yur dog is getting their nutritious balanced diet first, then think about the potential of leftovers in moderation.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well it should be. This may be why opponents vehemently stand against feeding scraps and leftovers to dogs – it is just too risky!

Given all this, if you are ready to be thoughtful and mindful then you can go ahead by all means and give your dog some good tasting leftovers like lean cooked meat; some fresh fruits like watermelon and apples; vegetables like carrots and yes even zucchini.

Remember: Thought, Moderation, and Balance.

Have fun!

If you’d like to learn more about pet care or obedience training, give us a call today!

Why a Visit to the Off-Leash Park is Great for Your Dog

Why a Visit to the Off-Leash Park is Great for Your Dog

off leash dog park

Imagine being cooped up all day in a room or even a house…with no bathroom breaks, no exercise, no social interaction or stimulus. Hard, isn’t it?

And yet, many dog owners leave their dogs in a closed space for long periods of time, each day, every day of the week. In fact, some go as far as to leave them in a crate for long periods of time. Dog owners forget that our dogs, like us, need time and space to breathe freely and romp about. Time to interact socially and get some exercise. Dogs that are constantly cooped up, are socially inept (training and behavioral issues, etc), dispirited, and often even unhealthy.

This, of course, is not the majority, but it still happens too often. If you are going to be away for hours at a time, and on a regular basis, you should arrange for your dog to get some fresh air, exercise, a potty break, and social interaction by other means. While you are away at work, find a reliable and trustworthy way to have this done.

Dog walks in the outdoor fresh air are a great activity to change up the routine of being cooped up. And there is nothing like going to the off-leash park!

Dogs should be allowed to experience freedom from the leash if they are to be happy and active – which is how our dogs are meant to be! Off-leash dog parks are a great option that lets your best friend experience life to the fullest from all aspects!

  • More freedom: While dog walking gives your dog a taste of the outdoors, a well-earned potty break, and exercise, your friend is still tethered to a leash and limited in the exploring and/or social interactions they can have. In an off-leash dog park, your dog gets the full freedom to run around and frolic about as he/she wishes to! Exercise is enhanced. Social encounters with other dogs are enriched, and opportunities like swimming become a new experience and treat.
  • More friends: Let’s not forget that dogs are descendants of wolves – pack animals. And although this nature of theirs has become somewhat muted over the course of their evolution, a little time enjoying the company of other dogs can actually boost your dog’s spirit a lot. With each visit to the off-leash dog park, your dog will make more friends, which is something that is just as important to dogs as it is to humans. Moreover, your dog will learn what fun they have at the park and actually look forward to it, just like you look forward to fun social interactions.
  • More fit: Dogs that are allowed to have a good time in an off-leash dog park tend to be healthier and fitter. The running, jumping and playing that they engage in helps to tone their muscles and keep their body as it should be. Dogs that are not given much opportunity to enjoy life this way have a higher likelihood of becoming obese with all the health side effects that come with that.
  • Better mental health: Dogs, just like humans, can also suffer from mental health issues such as depression. This is most commonly seen in dogs that are constantly tethered or cooped up, without having much opportunity to play and have fun. Off-leash dog parks are excellent for a positive state of mind.

Please note, that if you are going to take your dog to the off-leash park (or have them taken by a professional), there are some things you should make sure of:

  • Verify that your dog has all his/her shots and that they are valid.
  • Make sure they are licensed with the city or state and have their tags visible.
  • Make sure they have good recall i.e. when you call them to come to you, they will – this is important from both a safety and health perspective.
  • Make sure you dog is social and will not look for or get into fights with other dogs. That is not good for anyone and ruins the experience.

To conclude – get out there and have fun. Both your dog and you will enjoy it!

For more information or help as it relates to off-leash park and/or dog walking, give us a call.

Dogs and Our Immune System

dog health

Does having a dog at home help our immune system or is this a myth?

A growing number of people are now opting to have a dog at home, thanks to an ever-increasing body of studies that suggests having a dog at home actually helps improve the immune system. In the past, dogs were considered by some as harmful for health, especially when there is a baby at home, leading families to either abandon their furry friends or to wait to have one until the children are older. Researchers are clarifying and suggesting otherwise, and a lot of dog-loving homes everywhere can heave a big sigh of relief!

How does the immune system work?

 When you join a gym, your muscle tissues get torn because of the extra strain. The tissues then repair themselves to become stronger than before, to offer greater resistance to the strain of the workouts. The immune system gets stronger in a similar manner. Exposure to common pathogens may make you sick initially, but resistant over time. The immune system learns to develop appropriate antibodies to resist the pathogens in order to avoid future bouts of illness. It is this, and not constant use of sanitizers and chemicals, that make you resistant to illnesses.

And that is how dogs help you!

 Adorable though they may be, pooches are fond of getting dirty, licking, eating strange things, and more. However, the pathogens that dogs introduce are neither fatal nor benign and are simple enough for your body to develop resistance to. Having a dog at home when you have children can be great for their immune system, as their immune system gets ‘exercised’ at a young age. Naturally, this helps them to grow into healthy adults, immune to most common pathogens that can otherwise make you sick.

Stay healthy and have fun!

If you’d like to learn more about pet care or obedience training so you can keep a dog in your home, give us a call today!

Overnight Away Without Your Dog? Get A Dog Sitter

You have planned your dream vacation, or a trip to visit friends & family, a high school reunion…or a business trip. But, there’s an issue.  You have a pet dog you to need to care for while you are away.

dog overnight sitter

You start thinking of how to take care of your dog and be able to go worry-free.  You come up with two alternatives:  1) the obvious boarding your dog in a kennel, or 2) leaving the dog with a pet sitter who comes into your home. You now have to pick out which is the better of these two alternatives.

Since both alternatives give you the freedom to get away from home and have your dog taken care of, the consideration of what is “best for you” becomes less relevant. Therefore, the focus of your decision is really about what is best for your beloved dog.

Alternative #1 is definitely doable. There are quite a number of kennels in the area at which dogs can be boarded. From local establishments, to chain kennels.  Prices vary and conditions vary. For the most part the average kennel experience includes large periods of time in a cage of some sort and some ‘outside time’.  Some of the higher quality spots have a lot more outdoor time than others, and dogs stay in rooms rather than in a cage.

With that said, in all of these, the dog finds itself in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar smells, unfamiliar neighboring dogs, and more.  There is barking, crying, the potential fighting, all of which have the risk of creating unwanted stress for your dog. Moreover, you don’t know who the other dogs are, how they are cared for, etc. Are they bringing in unwanted diseases? Kennel cough? Worms?  Will these affect your dog? In these locations your dog will also be one of many. The better the place, the lower the ratio of caregiver to dogs, but they are still one of a group, getting only partial attention.

Alternative #2, keeping your dog in your home is staring to sound more appealing. Your dog stays in your (and of course his/her) own comfortable and familiar home. No fear, no anxiety, no stress. Just another great night in their great life. The sitter is fully focused on your dog, and your dog only. No other distractions. And since you know the health of your dog, and you know your home, there is no new health risks that are introduced while you are away.

An in-home overnight sitting for your dog has a care giver spend the night at your home, allowing for quality time with your dog and a real presence at your home. During the stay, the pet sitter can also perform general home checks, pick up newspapers and mail, change lighting around the house, and ensure all doors and windows are locked and secure. In essence you are getting a dog-sitter and home-sitter in one. And while you may think that hiring an in-home sitter is much more expensive than a kennel – think again, you may be surprised. After all, an in home sitter has no real estate costs to cover like a kennel does.

But before you let someone into your home and to care for your dog, here are some tips on things you may want to look for:

First, make sure you know who you are letting into your home. Is it a person doing this as a part-time gig, hoping to earn a few extra dollars, or is it a trained professional focused on caring for your pet as their daily job. Make sure to go with a company that stands behind its services, and doesn’t just ‘farm out’ your needs to a contractor over whom they have no quality control or assurances to you. Ask to interview the company leader and the proposed sitter.  Make sure to ask:

  • Who will be taking care of my pet?
  • Are they experienced? What type of pet care training have they done?
  • Is this their main job and focus or a ‘supplemental income’ gig?
  • If your pet gets hurt accidentally, does the sitter have any formal pet first aid and CPR training?
  • If your sitter gets sick and suddenly can’t complete the job, is there backup? Another equally qualified sitter that can fill in?
  • Is the sitter themselves fully licensed and insured with commercial insurance in case anything happens to them while on the job in your home, or is that risk on you?

Some of these questions may sound scary, but they are important and not outrageous to be asking. After all, this person will be staying in your home, caring for your beloved pet.

By the way, if you are thinking about asking a neighbor to do this or a friend’s child since that might seem to be cheaper, make sure you are comfortable with the answer to the ‘what if’ question. What if something goes wrong – Will they know what to do? are they insured? are they trained in first aid?

To conclude, if you have a professionally trained dog sitter staying at your home with you dog while you are away, you will be caring for your dog, your home, and enabling you to take that trip at ease with no concerns.

Have fun and safe travels!

If you’d like to learn more about our overnight home stays and dog sitting, please give us a call!


Dog Owners: Here’s How to Avoid the Dreaded “Separation Anxiety” While You’re at Work or Away

Dog Separation Anxiety
Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Andrew Branc

Dog Owners: Here’s How to Avoid the Dreaded “Separation Anxiety” While You’re at Work or Away – a guest article by Jessica Brody at

Whenever you hug someone you really love, your brain is flooded with a powerful feel-good hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” because it is the reason we feel a close connection whenever we look into the eyes of our pets. We humans get a strong dose of oxytocin when gazing into our dogs’ eyes – and, as it turns out, our dogs also feel the effects of the love hormone whenever they make eye contact with us.

Naturally, it can be tempting to tell ourselves that behaviors like separation anxiety are actually a sign of love. On the contrary, neuroscientists believe a dog’s separation anxiety is just another bad behavior, which is driven by a lack of trust but can be curbed with proper training.

To eliminate separation anxiety, you can start by helping your dog adjust to your long work days. This involves slowly, consistently teaching your dog to believe you’ll return home to him at the end of the day.

Here’s how…

Start by preparing your home for your pet. Make sure your pet has a safe space with plenty of food, water and toys to keep him or her busy while you’re away. Extra toys will entertain your dog, whether he is truly suffering from separation anxiety or is simply bored. It’s important to understand that this is an adjustment period and that your dog may be nervous or fearful at first, especially if this is a recently-adopted dog who is adjusting to new surroundings. Check out these tips to help prepare your home for your new puppy.

If you have a flexible work schedule and live close to the office, it might be helpful to run home and check on your dog throughout the day. If you’re unable to take these types of pet care breaks during your workday, you might want to consider hiring a professional to help you.

Even if you don’t work long hours, a professional dog walking service can be helpful with separation anxiety, and with providing your dog a well-deserved break. Exercise, fresh air, and the ability to relieve themselves, are important aspects of a healthy life. Dog walkers help ensure your dog is being looked after properly, and reduce your dog’s feelings of anxiety, abandonment and loneliness.

 Since you are working a good portion of the week, it is important to utilize your free time on the nights and weekends for properly bonding with your pet. Find a dog-friendly park to practice obedience training. You could also socialize your dog by taking him with you to a pet store, a Starbucks drive through (your dog will love the “puppy latte”), or a dog-friendly local restaurant. These will provide bonding opportunities and allow you to reinforce good behaviors with treats.

Although we can’t tell you how to keep yourself from having separation anxiety (that’s a completely different article for another day!) the words of advice listed above are a great first step to easing your dog’s separation anxiety. Remember, separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue that many dog owners have to deal with – but it doesn’t have to be permanent. With patience and consistency, you can end it for good.

If you’d like to learn more about our overnight home stays and dog sitting, please give us a call!

Visiting Friends … With Your Pooch

Tips and Things to Think About When Taking Your Dog With

dog walker

Many of us view our dogs as an integral part of the family and enjoy taking them with us on our daily routines be it taking them to work, shopping, or to a restaurant. But what about when we go visit friends or other people?

Not everyone feels the same way we do, especially in their homes. So as dog owners we may want to take a few steps to ensure that our visit is a good one, and that includes caring about those that invited us over.

If you intend on taking your dog with you to a friend’s home, especially if there are other people invited as well, be considerate and think about potential issues. i.e. to other guests that were invited over, it may have not been clear that a furry animal would be sitting next to them. As a dog owner you should be considerate of the fact that some guests may be allergic to dogs. Others may be bothered by the fact that fur could fly into their drink or cover their clothes. But more times than not, the concern is simply disruption to one’s experience – not everyone is used to, or even likes, a furry animal staring at them and running between their feet all evening.

A few tips on what we as dog owners should do when thinking of taking our pooch with us to visit friends:

– First and foremost, don’t assume. Ask your friend in advance if it is ok and appropriate to bring your pet with you. There may be children present, allergies, cats, and more that you are not aware of, and brining Fluffy with you could create unneeded embarrassment and trouble. If you are not sure if invited, ask. Better to be told no or yes in advance than face an unpleasant circumstance.

– Before walking in make sure your dog has ‘done its business’ so that accidents don’t happen in the house. With that said, no matter how good Fido is, prepare for the worst. Be ready for some potty accidents. Some dogs like to mark new territory or simply will feel the urge to go in a new environment. Come ready for cleanup so that you don’t have to start asking for cleaning supplies.

– Make sure to bring your leash with you. If they have a yard, it may not be fenced.

– Try to find a seat away from the crowd and place your dog at the far side of the room away from others. If the house is crowded, either look for another place or ask the people you will be sitting next to if it is ok that you sit or stand there with you dog.

– Have your dog lay down and make sure to always be in control of the leash so that there are no surprise run offs or tripping.

– Don’t feed your dog in the house. You can always get a ‘doggie bag’ (pun intended), and give them leftovers later.

– And please … don’t tie your dog outside to a pole while you go in and have fun. That is unfair to your pet and can create both a noise and safety hazard outside.

– Having a tag with your name and phone number is also not a bad idea, just in case Poodles gets lost in an unknown neighborhood.

– Even if Pooky is invited over, don’t assume that having them at the dinner table is acceptable. Not everyone is used to, or likes, having pet hair or pet breath around them while they eat. Best is to assume they are not invited to the dinner table and leave them in another location in the house. By the way if you have a crate or bed where they feel comfortable staying, that is a good idea as it will present a known safe place for them in the overall new area.

Have fun!!

If you’d like to learn more about obedience training and pet care, send us a message or give us a call!

Strut The Pup quoted in PawCulture’s 8 Pet-Friendly Restaurant Chains

8 Pet-Friendly Restaurant Chains – Celebrate patio season with your pup in tow. By: Teresa Traverse at Paw Culture

dog restaurant

In this coverage of 8 national chains that are “pet-friendly”, Paw Culture peppers with tips from Strut The Pup:

  • When bringing your dog to a restaurant, call ahead to ensure that it is indeed pet friendly before you leave home. And make sure to be mindful of other diners.  “Many of us view our dogs as an integral part of the family and enjoy taking them with us when we go out to eat,” says Einat Ganzarski, owner of Seattle-based dog walking company Strut The Pup who dines out with her dog about twice per week. “But not everyone feels the same way, especially in a place of dining. As dog owners, we may want to take a few steps to ensure that our experience is a good one and that includes caring about those sitting around us.”
  • When bringing your dog to a restaurant, make sure to pack water and provide potty breaks before, during and after your meal to prevent accidents from happening, Ganzarski says.
  • When it comes to finding a place to sit, Ganzarski recommends finding seats away from the crowd and placing your dog at the far side of the table away from others. “If the restaurant is crowded, either look for another place or ask the people you will be sitting next to if it is okay that you sit there with you dog,” she says.
  • When you’re with your dog on a patio, “have your dog lay down, and make sure to always be in control of the leash so that there are no surprise run offs,” says Ganzarski.
  • While you’re eating, keep your dog near you and be sure to attend their needs. “Don’t tie your dog outside to a pole while you go in and eat. That is unfair to your pet and can create both a noise and safety hazard outside,” says Ganzarski.

Click here to read the full story online