CINCINNATI – What pet mom or dad can resist giving their favorite pup a treat? Dog owners love sneaking food to their pets that are begging for table scraps and what may seem like a good idea at the time can, unfortunately, be deadly for dogs. Many people do not realize that dogs cannot eat certain human foods and innocent table scraps could land a precious pup at the vet with a very serious illness or worse.
Melinda Kirk Stenger has been cooking for dogs for over twenty years and she is on a mission to educate pet parents and says, “There are so many foods we eat at the dinner table that are toxic for dogs and you need to know which ones to avoid giving them. These include grapes, raisins, chocolate, and any food containing Xylitol like pre-packaged cookies and muffins or even gum.”
Melinda, who is known as the Canine Caterer, was inspired to make homemade recipes for her dog, Bella, a Jack Russell mix who had allergies to many dog food ingredients like wheat, corn and soy. Her determination to keep Bella healthy began her journey to become an expert in dog health. Melinda’s passion led her to create PetCakes® that are do-it-yourself kits to easily make healthy treats for dogs. “People think it’s too complicated and time consuming to cook for their dog, so I invented PetCakes® mixes that have NO wheat, corn or soy to make it fast and fun to give your pets healthy, homemade snacks,” she shares.
Each PetCakes® kit has everything needed to make homemade pet treats including a BPA free and re-usable bone-shaped pan for dogs (or a fish-shaped pan for cats). Just add water to the mix, pour the batter into the pan, and microwave it for less than three minutes. Melinda adds, “The birthday kits also come with a candle to add to the cake. When you cook for your animals, you bond in a fun way that creates lasting memories with them.”
PetCakes® mixes also have no added salt, sugar or preservatives. Melinda warns, “Dogs specifically should never have added salt or sugar in their food because it contributes to health issues leading to a shorter life span.”
Melinda Kirk Stenger has dedicated an entire page to a list of toxic foods in Paws & Brunch, a cookbook packed with a collection of delicious dog treat recipes inspired by human food like Woof Waffles, Canine Quiche, and even Barktown Biscuits. “Each recipe is designed with healthy, human-grade ingredients and are so easy, even kids can make them,” she says.
Melinda’s dog, Bella, is the official taste tester, mascot, and inspiration behind the recipes in her cookbook, “Bella was seriously injured in an accident and it required me to cook homemade food for her to help her recover. Cooking for her inspired me to go above and beyond and to make human looking food she’d love. When she got better, I expanded into planning extravagant birthday parties, high-end doggie brunches, and even dog weddings.”
PetCakes® are available online through Amazon or Chewy and you can follow and connect with Melinda on Instagram.