Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Dog Treat Container Ideas

For over a decade I had a ceramic dog treat container that I loved, and every time I took the lid off the dogs would come running to the kitchen for a treat. They knew that sound so well! Much to my disappointment, it recently broke. On the bright side, I now have the chance to upcycle something into a dog treat container. I also thought this would be a good time to make a few extra upcylced dog treat canisters for friends that have dogs. I figure if I start now, I can have them all done by Christmas and fill them with homemade dog treats. By putting chalkboard paint in the top and on front, I can put a dog's name, a message, or the type of treat, or even the recipe for the homemade treat, all on the canister. You could glue ribbon to the canister lid for extra decoration as well.

Here are the supplies you will need for an upcycled DIY dog treat container:
  • Old tin canister (Christmas popcorn tins can always be found at the thrift store)
  • Spray paint (try to get the most eco-friendly kind you can find)
  • Chalkboard paint 
  • Decorative ribbon (optional)
  • Chalk
  1. Spray paint the outside of the tin and the lid. (It is best to not paint where the lid and canister meet because it can make it difficult to open and close).
  2. Let the tin dry for several hours before painting on the chalkboard paint. 
  3. If doing a bone or paw print, draw the shape on the tin with a permanent marker to make painting easier.
  4. You will need to put 2-3 thin layers of chalkboard paint on the tin and be sure to have at least 30-60 minutes between application of layers. 
  5. Let the chalkboard paint dry for 24-48 hours before writing on it.
  6. Decorative ribbon can be glued on to the edge of the lid if desired.

Check out Pucycled's homemade dog treat recipes to make awesome treats to put in your upcycled canister!

If you are looking for more upcycled DIY dog treat container ideas, check out these:
Finally, don't forget to pin this project to Pinterest and follow Pupcycled's Pinterest board for more great DIY dog craft ideas!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Five Fun Activities to Try With Your Dog

Photo from Jordene Gates
One key aspect to keeping your dog healthy, both physically and mentally, is to provide adequate daily exercise and physical activity. Although dogs love routine, it is important to try new things once and awhile to keep them mentally sharp. Taking a walk in a new place or getting new toys are great,  but if you are looking for some completely NEW fun activities to try with your dog, here are five exciting adventures to explore.

  1. Visit a Nursing Home-If you have an older dog that is very calm and loves people, consider visiting a nursing home. Many nursing homes will allow pet visitors so call ahead to your local home and see about scheduling a visit. You can also look into visiting mentally ill children and adults as well. Patients with severe depression and anxiety sometimes find petting a dog soothing and relaxing. Again, this activity is best for older and very calm dogs. I have taken my 6 year old Lab/Collie mix as well as my 2 year old Lab/Collie mix to do these types of activities, although both listen to commands very well, my younger dog gets times where he starts to want to run around or at least move around the room and doesn't like to sit completely still for over 30 minutes. (NOTE: Taking your dog for a walk before doing the visit will also help them be calmer while visiting).
  2. Participate in a Pet Parade- Many parades allow pet participants, and some of the best ones are Halloween and St. Patty's Day Parades where you can dress your dog up. Whether you buy a costume or make one, you and your pet are sure to enjoy this fun activity!
  3. Go Camping With Your Dog-The first time you try this it may be best to do just one night and then the next time try two or three, until you can build up to a week. Try to camp at a location that has easy access to clean water and plenty of shade. While camping, take your dog with you on hikes, share some grilled chicken from your evening campfire, and even go for a swim in a lake. Just be sure to have identification on your dog just in case he gets loose!
  4. Attend a Doga Session Together-Learn how to exercise and relax with your dog through Doga or Doggie Yoga. Although yoga with your pets can be done at home, it really is fun to try this in a class setting so your dog can meet new people and dogs. Check out the Yoga With Your Pets post for information on starting this at home and progressing to a class. 
  5. Have a Birthday Party for Your Dog- Although other dog owners may be taken by surprise when they receive an invitation to a dog birthday party, this fun activity to try with your dog is getting more and more popular with pet owners. Be sure to have dog treats, water bowls, and plenty of toys all around for the dogs. Serve people food that is also safe for dogs, just in case the dogs get into the people area. You can also bake a dog birthday cake....there are lots of dog birthday cake recipes online; but skip the candle blowing!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seven People Foods that are Safe and Healthy for Your Dog

There are a few things that dog owners are divided on; things like dogs sleeping in beds, allowing them on the furniture, and my favorite....giving dogs people food. I have to be honest and confess, I do all of the above. Our dogs are part of our family, and they likely think they are human at times, (considering I have found them sitting on my deck chairs). Although some foods can be deadly for canines, there are many people foods that are safe and healthy for dogs. So, if you are considering letting your dog have people food, or have been unsure about foods that are safe for your dogs, here is the Pupcycled list of seven great foods to share with your dog.

  1. Apple Chunks- Diced or sliced, apples are a nice crunchy treat for your dog. Try different varieties and see what he likes best.
  2. Bananas- Next time you eat a banana, give the two ends to your dog, or mix it with a little peanut butter and plain yogurt and put into ice cube trays in the freezer for a frozen treat during the dog days of summer! (Full recipe HERE).
  3. Peanut Butter-This can be added to bananas and apples, served plain, or mixed into homemade dog treats. (See the recipe section of this blog for more ideas).
  4. Popcorn- My dogs can hear a popcorn bag a mile away and this is absolutely their favorite people food snack! Try to stick with air popped or the healthiest microwave version you can find. Excessive butter and salt is just as dangerous for dogs as it is for humans. 
  5. Carrots-I usually feed my dogs baby carrots, but larger dogs may enjoy chewing on a full size carrot as well. You can also shred carrots and put over dog food or into homemade dog treats.
  6. Chicken-Make sure if you give your dogs chicken, it is thoroughly cooked and does not have any marinade or sauce on it. I also serve my chicken to the dogs in bite size pieces.
  7. Dinner on the deck anyone?
  8. Pretzels- The mini unsalted pretzels are perfect people food treats to take on the go. When I run out of homemade treats, pretzels are my back up training treat as well.
The next time you are enjoying one of these all-natural healthy human foods, feel free to give your dog a bite as well. All of these treats also work well added to dog food at meal time, or used in place of store-bought dog treats!

Friday, May 2, 2014

How to Deal with Dog Fur in Your Washer and Dryer

If you have a dog that sheds on everything, chances are you have a washer and dryer that gets loaded with dog hair. In order to keep your washer and dryer functioning well, here are some ways to deal with dog fur in your washer and dryer.

  • Clean your washer at least every other week. If you have a front loading washer, there is a drain at the bottom which you can open and clean out the filter. When I clean mine, I get a lot of dog hair and have to dig it out of the round filter. It is a little gross but helps keep my washer running properly. It is also important to clean the inside of your washer and any seals and rings where dog hair may get stuck. If you keep the lid open frequently, you can clean your washer with a damp rag and white vinegar, (not the chemical cleaners they sell in the stores). If you close your lid a lot you may need to use some bleach when cleaning inside, due to mild and mildew possibly building up inside of the washer.
  • Your dryer's lint trap should be cleaned after every load and the lint (filled with dog fur), can be put in compost pile. Every month you should also clean the outside vent and make sure the dryer hose is in good condition. 
  • You can reduce the amount of dog hair that gets stuck in your washer and dryer by brushing your dog every day and shaking blankets outside prior to putting them in washer.
  • In the spring you can hand laundry outside to reduce the amount of  times you use your dryer and reduce the amount of dog hair that gets trapped inside of it.
If you are collecting a lot of dog hair and fur from around your home and out of your washer and dryer, check out these 5 ways to dispose of dog hair!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Earth Friendly Non-toxic Cleaning Products for Homes with Pets


My journey to a more eco-friendly lifestyle started by eliminating commercial, chemical-filled cleaners and making my own cleaners. Not only were homemade cleaners cheaper and better for the environment, they were also safer to use around my children and pets. However, over the last few years, I went back to work full-time, and my kids are busier than ever, so finding time to make all my own cleaners is sometimes difficult. Not to mention, I live in a rural area which requires me to order many of my ingredients through Amazon.com. All these things have led me to look into eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products that I can buy and have on hand for when life gets a little too busy. 
When looking for eco-friendly products, I have noticed a lot of misleading information on labels. For example, some products claim to be Earth friendly, but are made plant derived materials, which means harsh man made chemicals may be mixed in with the plant base. Then there are the plastic bottles and labels that are used, some of those are harmful to the environment, if not disposed of properly. Finally, there are the ones that have natural ingredients, but are not specific as to what those natural ingredients are, and contain 99% other ingredients. 
Fortunately, more and more smaller eco-friendly companies are emerging and finally giving us products we can fully rely on. If you are looking for already made eco-friendly non-toxic cleaning solutions to use around your pets, start looking local. Try your local farm markets or indoor flea market/craft fairs. Many times you will get products with clear labels, refillable or reusable bottles, and a real person to talk to about the product they are making. If you do not have places like this near you, the next best thing might be Etsy.  
I recently tried Karmalades cleaning products that are sold through Etsy. One thing I liked about this company is that they are located in Washington, D.C. and I know the products did not have to travel far to get to me. The product I tried was the all purpose lemon lavender spray. It came in a reusable and recyclable glass bottle with a clear label of all the ingredients used. I loved the small bottle because I could leave it in my bathroom for quick, daily, touch up cleaning of the sink, faucet and mirror. The smell was nice but not overwhelming and I knew my pets would be safe if they licked an area I cleaned. The Karmalade company is definitely a good place to start if you want pre-made eco-friendly non-toxic cleaning products. Even if you want to make some of your own cleaners, the all-purpose sprays they sell are great to keep for when you run out of time or materials to make your own products. 

If you know of other great eco-friendly non-toxic cleaners, please leave a comment below for other readers!!!

If you do have the time to make your some of your own cleaners, check out my ebook, Cleaning for a Cause. The book is filled with cleaning recipes and many of the recipes are also available on my Hubpages page.  (Proceeds from the book are donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand and other cancer prevention organizations). 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First Aid For Pets

First Aid for Pets-www.pupcycled.blogspot.com
April is Pet Health and Pet First Aid Awareness Month, so here are some great tips and links to help you keep you pet healthy!

1. For minor cuts, bumps, and insect bites, a simple pet first aid kit is all you need to help your pet. It is a good idea to create a two pet first aid kits and keep one in your home and one in your car. Here is a basic list of what your kit should include. (Check out HumaneSociety.org for other suggested first aid items for your pet).
  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Self-cling bandage
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution 
  • Tweezers
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet's size.
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Expired credit card to scrape away insect stingers
  • Corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
  • Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
  • Penlight or flashlight
  • Rubbing alcohol (to clean/sterilize thermometer or tweezers)
  • Tongue depressors
  • Towels and/or old t-shirts 
Check out the American Veterinary Medical Association website for tips on how to administer basic first aid to your pet and how to handle pet emergencies.

2. To keep your pet safe and protected at all times, ID your pet. From micro-chipping, to personalized tags and collars, identification for your pet is crucial to keeping them safe. Be sure to keep a current picture of your dog on you at all times as well. If you have a smartphone, you can save a picture of your pet next to your veterinarian's contact information in your phone.

3. In addition to regular vet check ups and shots, take daily steps to protect your pet from fleas and ticks. Both fleas and ticks can cause long term health threats to your dog, so it is important to protect your pet all year long. For all natural ways to deal with fleas and ticks, check out the Pupcycled Recipes link.

It is a good idea to brush and pet your dog every day to keep on top of their health and detect any issues as early as possible. Although the Internet offers a wealth of information, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian whenever you notice something unusual on your pet, or notice a drastic change in your pet's behavior, eating habits, or sleep patterns.

Friday, April 18, 2014

7 Super Dog Toys for Active Dogs

If you are looking for unique dog toys for your active dog, consider ordering from BartleysForDogs.com! Not only do they offer a wide variety of eco-friendly toys, but EVERY purchase you make, helps a rescue dog in need. All orders come with a code that allows you to see which dog you have helped. Here is my top seven list of super products to try out. The first two I had the opportunity try out firsthand with my three dogs and they loved them!

  1. West Paw BumiThe WestPaw Bumi offers a unique design that my medium-sized Lab/Collie mix loves. He has enjoyed hooking his paw into the curve of one end while chewing on the other. After weeks of playing with this toy, he has only managed to chew off a small bit of it. The good news is that if he does ruin the toy, the pieces can be sent back to West Paw, (Montana based eco-friendly dog toy company), and they will recycle the remaining material into new toys! The Bumi is recyclable, dishwasher safe, and floats!
  2. The Hydro Ring is great for small dogs and puppies. It can absorb water and can even be frozen. This is a great toy for dogs that love water play. 
  3. Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff StrawberryFrom Planet Dog, (another Pupcycled favorite), comes a toy that hides treats. Although I have not tried this particular version, my dogs have a ball that hides treats and absolutely love it. Bartleys offers eggplant and artichoke models for larger dogs and a raspberry one for small breeds.
  4. For dogs that love a toy to snuggle with after a hard day of playing, Bartleys has a nice selection of organic and all natural stuffed dog toys.
  5. Jax & Bones SquirrelIf you dog prefers to play with his stuffed animals, consider the rope squirrel that is made with vegetable dyes. Your pup can have fun and you don't have to worry about him chewing on a chemical filled toy.
  6. Tired of the same old Frisbee? Try the Zisc Frisbee; it comes in various sizes and it's perfect for the park or the lake.
  7. CrinkitIf you have a dog that loves to steal empty water bottles and enjoys the crunch sound, consider the Crinkit water bottle toy. Keep your dog safe while enjoying the water bottle crunch with a toy that is recyclable, washable, and BPA-free.
Finally, while shopping at Bartleys.com, don' forget to pick up some of their compostable poop bags that are made of corn-based material and use recycled packaging. So, after a long hard day of play at the park with their super toys, you can clean up after them in a more eco-friendly manner.

Before you fill your shopping cart, enter the Pupcycled gift card giveaway for your chance to win a $35 gift card to BartleysforDogs.com. It can be used on anything in their online store!!! 
Contest runs from April 22, 2014 (Earth Day) and ends on May 11, 2014 (the last day of National Pet Week). 
All you have to do to be entered in the gift card giveaway is either comment below OR leave a comment on the Facebook Pupcycled page about which Bartley product you think your dog would like. The winner will be announced on the Pupcycled Facebook Page on May 12, 2014....so be sure to like the page and check the "get notifications" so you don't miss out on all the fun!