She's a dog lover who has combined her love of dogs and love of baking into a tasty new career!
If you'd like to learn how to make homemade dog treats that are delicious and healthy, the Dog Treat Kitchen is the place to be.
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
I'm sure we're all going to enjoy baking up some of your delicious home made dog treats for our pups.
Please take a minute to introduce yourself and tell us a little about you and your website........
"Mmmm.....Can you smell that? It's fresh baked homemade dog treats!
Yes, you can make dog treats in your own kitchen with little money, time or baking experience. If you're not sure where to get started, these helpful questions and answers should help point you in the right direction. You can always find more recipes, tips and techniques on my website at Dog Treat Kitchen.com
But, maybe you're thinking, aren't the store bought treats I buy for my dog OK? Most likely they are fine for your dog. However, when you make your own, you know exactly what is in them. You also know what's not in them, like artificial colors, excess salt and sugar, and all those chemical preservatives. You can also customize the treats just for your dog. Whether that be in size, flavor or nutrition.
So what are we waiting for, let's start baking! If you still have questions after reading the interview below, be sure to ask me! Go to my Ask the Dog Treat Chef feature. I'll answer all of your dog treat questions personally" - Michelle
I know that, like me, you’ve been a dog lover since childhood and are passionate about them. Did you always know that you wanted your work life to include dogs in some way?
I never thought that I would be fortunate enough to work at what I loved. But now that I've had two experiences working with dogs, I can't see myself ever doing anything else!
Before becoming an internet entrepreneur, you and your husband operated a dog-sitting business. Can you tell us a little about that?
It was fun! We met so many dogs, cats and their loving guardians. If it wasn't for decision to move to another state, we probably would have continued.
On the other hand, it was my first business, and the first business with my husband. After it was all said and done, it made our marriage a lot stronger, but it was tough. We learned so much in those few years, not only about business, but about ourselves. One major lesson that I carry with me today is to follow your gut feeling (or heart), but only after you've researched the facts!
What gave you the idea to help dog owners make delicious home made dog treats? Are you a big on baking in general?
After our pet sitting business, I knew I wanted to continue working with dogs, I just didn't know in what capacity. I considered the veterinary field, but decided I would be too queasy to do that every day. Then I considered working in a shelter, but I don't think I have the emotional ability to see all those sweet animals waiting for their forever home. I probably would have brought them all home with me instead!
So for me, the next logical answer was to work in regards to spoiling or pampering dogs. Since I LOVE to bake, it was a natural.
With the financial situation today, many dog owners are looking for ways to reduce costs. Can baking your own dog treats really save you money? Any special tips?
Definitely! Making your own treats can not only save you money, but you can also make healthier treats and customize them to your dogs' needs or preferences. To reduce costs, stick with the simpler ingredients. For example, peanut butter is a household staple, most families already have it in their pantry. A really simple (and inexpensive) peanut butter dog treat to try is the Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Dog Biscuit recipe. It only has four ingredients, one of which is water, and dogs love them!
A second tip is to make your homemade treats a little smaller than the ones you buy at the store. Your dog will feel special getting homemade yummies, and you'll appreciate that it's the same amount of treats as before, but they'll last longer!
Who are your taste-testers for the recipes on your site? Your own dog/s? Or are your canine neighbors lucky enough to fill this role?
One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of taste-testers! Once my friends and family knew I was baking treats, dogs were popping up everywhere waiting for their very own special bag of freshly baked biscuits.
My Number 1 taste tester is a my Dad's mixed breed, Ginger (that's Gingers photo on the left) who is a very picky eater.
If she doesn't like a treat she'll simply spit it back out at you, and then wait for something else. So, if she doesn't like it, it doesn't make it to the website! :)
What are your ‘personal favorites’ when it comes to dog treat recipes, and why?
I really love the ones that are just like human treats, but formulated for a dogs' taste and needs. Like the Salmon Cakes recipe.
Not only was it fun to make, dogs love them!
Another favorite is the Trail Mix Dog Cookies recipe. This one is a little sweeter than some of the other dog treats, but not too sweet.
It is so good in fact, that I recommend you share with your dog! It may sound kinda funny at first, but if you are hiking, camping or enjoying other outdoor activities with your dog, it's advantageous to keep both of you going with the same treat!
If someone reading this interview has never made home-baked goodies for their dog before, what would you suggest they start with?
They need to start with a list of foods poisonous to dogs. Knowing what your dog should not eat is of utmost importance.
After that, I would recommend starting with the Peanut Butter recipe mentioned earlier. Or, another easy, but very rewarding treat for your dog is the Chicken Jerky Dog Treats recipe. You only need chicken breast and an oven! :) Most dogs love chicken and it's super simple to make.
Many dogs are sensitive or even allergic to certain ingredients, what sort of treats would you recommend for them? Is there such a thing as a 'hypoallergenic dog treat'?
Yes, there are treats that are hypoallergenic. One simple way of making treats for a dog that is on a special diet due to allergies is to use their own veterinarian approved dog food. You can find out more information about making a Dog Food Treat on my website, as well as ideas and recipes.
If your dog is sensitive or allergic to wheat, for example, you can simply substitute it for another type of flour. For example oat, rye or potato flour. Sometimes a simple substitution can make all the difference.
There are lots of common human foods that are dangerous, even toxic, to dogs. What are the most common ingredients which appear in cookies and treats for humans but that must be avoided when baking for dogs?
Chocolate, onions and raisins are by far the main ingredients to avoid. But there are others, check out the list of foods poisonous to dogs to learn about others. Possibly a less known ingredient to avoid is artificial sweeteners. Also, you want to control the amount of salt and sugar in your dogs diet. Typically there is the proper amount in your dogs daily food, so their treats do not need to have an excess or either salt or sugar.
I’m sure your website keeps you very busy – especially with all that baking and testing! Do you have any other up-and-coming projects in the works you’d like to share?
On a personal note, I'll be adopting a rescue Golden Retriever in the fall. My family and I just purchased a home, after years of renting, so we'll continue to make our house a home by welcoming a four legged family member! :)
I'll also be putting some of my favorite recipes in an e-book soon, but other than that I'm just enjoying all of the dog treat baking and feedback from other dog treat bakers
Thanks so much Michelle!
My mouth is watering already - and these delicious treats are meant for my dogs!
I'm sure there'll be a lot of dog owners giving your great recipes a try..... and I'm certain there will be many (many!) grateful dogs and puppies waiting to sample their owners efforts.
Best of luck with your future plans. Thanks again for sharing.
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Check out these great dog recipe books ......
To keep you going until Michelles' ebook is available, why not take a look at these dog recipe books for even more delicious homemade dog treats....