Rapids Wholesale Celebrates Love Your Pet Day

Feb 20th is "Love Your Pet Day." Rapids decided this would be a great time to introduce you to some of the Rapids pets and their humans, along with some great recipes for pet treats. These recipes will make it easy to spoil your pets, just like we do. They are family after all. Just make certain that if you cook for your pet and your goal is to completely take them off a commercial food, you need to do so with recipes that completely address your pet's nutritional needs while staying away from foods that can harm them. There is an actual science to it. If you are interested in cooking scientifically-balanced, healthy meals for your pets, you can verify the integrity of your recipes at the website Balance It.

That said, cooking up homemade treats is another way to show our best friends how much we love them. Here are some of the Rapids family pets along with their favorite treat recipes.
This beautiful Golden Retriever is Charlie. He is 2½ and loves playing chase around the house with our son, shedding and trying to sleep on you like a lap dog. He loves constant attention and wants to be friends with our cats, but they want nothing to do with him. I am Yvonne and, at the time of this post, am on just 2 weeks of working here at Rapids. I am working with Inside Sales and do web order processing.

Charlie's Peanut Butter and Coconut Oil Dog Treats

- 1 cup all natural peanut butter (xylitol-free)
- 1 cup pure unprocessed virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan on low heat until liquid. Add the cinnamon and peanut butter to the melted oil and stir until completely smooth.

Pour mixture into silicone ice cube trays.

Refrigerate until set.

Pop dog treats out of ice cube tray and store in a container in the fridge.

Charlie sees no reason to share these treats with cats!

Coconut oil is a healthy addition for your pets. It improves skin and coat health, and it has shown to be extremely helpful with dogs that suffer from eczema. It helps keep your dog's breath fresh as well. Coconut oil also been linked to preventing diabetes and heart disease, and is listed in natural care articles as helpful in flea protection for your dog.

The handsome guy in the photo is Louie! My friend is a 6½ year old rescue from the Red Lake Reservation in Northern Minnesota. His favorite activities are claiming all food left within reach (banana bread and steak off the grill) and rolling in fox poop. I am Louie's roommate, Tony Mills. I am new to the Rapids Contract and Design Team in St. Paul.

Louie's Pumpkin Dog Cookie Treats

- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons dry milk
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- Chicken broth

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use a wire whip to blend together the eggs and pumpkin.

Add the salt, parsley, dry milk, and flour and start mixing with your hands. Add just enough of the chicken broth (or plain water) to make the dough workable. It should be dry and stiff.

Use a dough roller to roll the dough out to 1/2 inches thick. Use a knife or roller pizza blade to cut into shapes.

Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes on one side, then turn over and bake for 20 minutes on the other side. Remove from sheet pan and cool before storing.

Pumpkin has some great health benefits for your dog. Since it is high in fiber and water content, pumpkin is good for correcting and preventing constipation in dogs. Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, fiber, zinc, iron, vitamin A, and potassium!

Matt Faber here, I am the Director of Sales and Business Development for Chain Restaurant Solutions at Rapids. This is Bella, a beautiful yellow Lab. The look on her face in this photo, though, is one of sadness. This picture was taken directly after the first game of the 2016 World Series and her team, the Cubs, lost. It was hard on Bella, as she is a lifelong Cubs fan! Note the "Cubs History" book in the background. Go Cubs!

Bella's favorite activity besides watching baseball with her dad is to play fetch with dad and walk trails with mommy...oh...and to play dress up with the grandkids :-). If there is one thing this smart dog knows, it is that Labradors and kids are a perfect combination. Bella apologizes to all the other labs in the world, but has to say she just does not understand their love of water!

Bella's Kibble Gravy Topper

- 2 boneless chicken thighs or 1 boneless chicken breast
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup flour
- 2 whole eggs

Directions: Put the broth and the chicken in a saucepan. (Bella knows that if you are in need of a new saucepan, Rapids Saucepans are the best).

Boil the chicken in the broth for about one half an hour then take the saucepan off the burner. Pull the chicken out of the broth and set aside.

Add the flour to the broth and whisk till there are no lumps.

Whisk the eggs first, then add them to the broth.

Cook the flour and broth over low heat until thickened.

Use a food processor to pulverize the chicken and add that back into your gravy.

Store in your refrigerator. It should keep for 1 week. Add a couple tablespoons to top off kibble at meal time.

My name is Paul, I’m the media nerd at Rapids. These are my girls June Pug and Layla. June is still a pup at about 6 months old now. Layla is a yellow Lab. Layla is a rescue so we are unsure of her exact age, but figure she must be about 6 by now. June loves to pester Layla and chew on her tail and give her nibble kisses. Layla is an expert escape artist that enjoys long runs in the park with her owners frantically racing behind her…couldn’t have anything to do with this new little sister, could it?

June Pug's Elvis Inspired Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Yogurt Dog Treat

- 2 cups plain yogurt (make sure this is xylitol-free, as this sweetener is dangerous to dogs)
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (xylitol-free as well)
- 2 tablespoons Honey
- 1 small ripe mashed banana

Directions: Melt peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds.

Place peanut butter and rest of ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth, then spoon into silicone ice cube trays.

Freeze until Firm

Pop out of tray and serve frozen to a happy dog.

Layla's Love Song Inspired Frozen Bacon Pupsicles

- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup chopped chicken meat
- 3 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 3 carrots cut into popsicle-size sticks

Directions: In a bowl, stir together the chicken stock, chicken meat, bacon crumbles, and the blueberries.

Spoon into 5 ounce Dixie cups, filling them halfway up.

Stick a carrot stick into the center. If the carrot stick will not stay up on it's own, cover the Dixie cup with foil and cut a small hole in center of foil. Now stick your carrot stick in through the foil cover.

Set in freezer until frozen.

Peel Dixie cup off pupsicle and serve to best friend.
Mandy is a 2½ year old Lab mix that we rescued about a year ago. She was incredibly skittish and scared at first, which resulted in her chewing through her leash and escaping as I was bringing her into the apartment for the first time. Thankfully, she was caught and returned to us two days later.

After a short adjustment period, Mandy is now completely in love with us and life as an inside dog (only going outside to chase squirrels and tennis balls), and is much more confident and curious (although she still needs plenty of treats and encouragement to meet new people!).

She loves decimating tennis balls and stuffed animals, going for long walks, hogging the bed, hogging the couch, hogging our attention, eating (of course!), and enthusiastically ripping off her Halloween costume.

And I am her human, Cassie. I work at Rapids as a Marketing Specialist.

Mandy's Doggie Drop Cookies

- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 tablespoon molasses

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together the rice flour, rolled oats, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, grated carrot, eggs, and molasses.

Create a well in the center of the bowl with the dry ingredients and pour in your applesauce mixture. Mix together until well combined.

Line a sheet pan with parchment or a baking mat. (If you do quite a bit of baking that requires you grease your sheet pans or line them with parchment, Mandy suggests you invest in a baking mat. It will save you money in the long run).

Use a 1 ounce scoop or a tablespoon and drop the mounds of dough onto your pan leaving an inch around each cookie.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool and store in refrigerator. Should last for 3 weeks in fridge.

Bo is a yellow Labrador retriever born 10/10/2008 near Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He was quickly adopted by a young American service member who brought him home to Cedar Rapids thinking they were going to live happily ever after; but, alas, it was not meant to be, as the young man was immediately re-deployed back overseas, leaving the young puppy with his parents. These folks already had two small dogs and never embraced having Bo as a family member. Luckily for us, they put his mug shot on the Rockwell website where it was viewed by Steve, who immediately fell in love with the cute little guy and the tail ends waggily when Bo became part of our household when he was nine months old.

Bo has a plethora of favorite activities: eating, playing ball outside, eating, playing ball inside, eating, getting in his pool, eating, going for truck rides with all the windows down on sunny days or rainy days or snowy days (the driver, me, has to be prepared to get wet and cold on the not so sunny days), eating, going to the bank drive up window for treats, playing ball, going to McDonald's on Saturday mornings for a breakfast burrito, playing ball, and oh, eating.

Bo went on his first real vacation in August to the Traverse City area of Michigan. He romped and played in a number of the beautiful, clear, warm lakes in the area.

Bo's dislikes are getting brushed and having his nails trimmed.

And no, he is NOT gray, just bleached from spending time in the sun :)

Me? Let's keep it about the pets.

Bo's German Spice Doggie Christmas Cookies

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 cup canola oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk water, molasses and oil until blended.

In a small bowl whisk remaining ingredients until blended.

Stir the ingredients of both bowls together and mix until blended. This is a very stiff dough.

On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out free form shapes with a sharp knife or pizza cutter wheel, or use cookie cutters to cut the dough.

Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. (Bo knows that when you bake lots and lots of dog treats, investing in commercial 16 gauge or 18 gauge sheet pans is a great idea).

Bake 25-30 minutes. Place on wire racks to cool.

Merrick is a rescue from the greyhound racing industry. He ran only 5 of the 6 pre-qualifying races before he was discarded as unworthy. We are so fortunate to have him join our family. How lucky we are that he was a washout on the race track because to us he is a champion that perfectly completes our family. Merrick is sweet and guileless. He loves all humans, but is a bit perplexed by the cats in the household. Merrick loves to go the dog park where he can show off his running prowess to other dogs and humans that are impressed with it. While he likes the dog park, Merrick's very favorite pastime is sleeping on a soft cozy mattress. I am Kathy, the digital marketing specialist at Rapids. Merrick is my grand-dog. He stays with me when his mom travels.

Riley is my full time best friend. She is an 8 year old Golden Doodle who just cannot decide which is more fun, retrieving in the yard or retrieving in the water. Doesn't matter if it is a ball or a Frisbee, she just wants you to keep throwing it! As long as you continue to throw it, she will bring it back over and over again!

Riley Doodle is an exceptional Frisbee dog. She can make aerial catches that would put a Border Collie or Aussie Frisbee dog to shame. Riley has her own raft in the pool that she taught herself how to climb into. I have to limit the time she spends lounging in her raft in the pool as her beautiful blond curls will turn a sickly shade of green from the chlorine.

Merrick's Marvelous KONG Stuffing

- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (xylitol-free as well)
- 1 large baked sweet potato
- 1 ripe banana

Directions: Mash the banana.

Scoop out the sweet potato insides and add to the banana.

Add the peanut butter and mix all the ingredients until a smooth creamy mixture.

Use a piece of dry kibble dog food to plug the small hole side of the KONG. Stuff the KONG with your mash and either freeze and serve, or just serve.

- A KONG stuffed with yummy food is an easy way to keep your dog busy & entertained

- A KONG can be used to slow down dogs that eat too fast.

- KONGs can help keep your dog occupied while you go to work or do chores

- KONGs give your dog a simple job to do

- They provide mental stimulation. Merrick suggests that you double the recipe and stuff 4 or 5 KONGs at one time and put them in the freezer for when your dog needs a delicious distraction.

Riley Doodle's Dandy Candy for Dogs

- 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup Motts Blueberry Delight Applesauce, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients until well mixed.

Pad dough into a ball and throw onto a floured surface.

Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick.

Place your dough on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Use a sharp knife or pizza cutting wheel to cut your dough into inch-size bites, cutting first in a vertical and then a horizontal direction to make a grid pattern.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and break into pieces. Store in refrigerator.

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