If you’ve been following along, I make my dog Bella a birthday treat every year to celebrate her gotcha day. I can’t believe I adopted her 10 years ago. It’s wild to think I’ve had her for almost 1/3 of my life. Dogs are truly the best! You can read about her adoption story here.
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This year we are celebrating Bella’s 14-ish Birthday and 10 whole years together!!
Truth be told, I didn’t think we would make it to this birthday after a ruff, unhealthy year. Bella has already been on multiple medications a day for several years due to focal seizures, but in June of 2022 she underwent an awful Vestibular episode.
I truly thought I was going to have to put her down.
Luckily multiple vets told me it could be a long recovery, but it’s possible she could fully recover AND THAT SHE DID!!
Bella’s Symptoms & Vestibular Recovery:
She suffered from a severe head tilt (pictured below), loss of mobility (walking), loss of appetite, and extreme dizziness (rapid eye movements). After two weeks of hand feeding her a bland diet and carrying her to and from the yard, she made almost a full recovery.
Bella’s episode was related to a terrible inner ear infection which resulted in full hearing loss, but otherwise she is doing quite well given the ruff spell. It took about month for her head tilt to go away, although she rocked her tilt and looked cute. I hope no one encounters this with their dogs, but if you do, please know there’s hope for a full recovery!
Vestibular resources that helped me:
- Facebook Group: Vestibular Syndrome in Pets Support Group – I can’t say enough about this group. There are thousands of people in this group that are there to support at every stage of your pets recovery. People are constantly sharing resources that helped them or things to avoid.
- Talking about it on my Right Back Spatula Instagram account and sharing recovery updates. A handful of followers also had pets go through a similar experience, which built many new connections. I have a highlight saved on my account that shares many more details about our experience.
- Unfortunately Bella’s episode happened on a weekend when our normal veterinary office wasn’t open. MedVet did her initial treatment, but I took her to my vet for the first available appointment. Don’t be afraid to get multiple opinions, especially since there are many different causes for a vestibular episode.
Onto happier news…
Needless to say, this gotcha day was extra special so she deserved another year of homemade treats. And let me tell you, these homemade dog pretzels were Bella approved. Check out the reel on my IG to see some raw footage of her stalking the kitchen before, during, and after making these treats. Her cousin, Steve, the golden retriever, approved too. Now let’s get to the cuter, healthier photos where this sweet grey face is thriving!
What you’ll need to make your own dog pretzels:
- oat flour
- old fashioned oats
- unsweetened applesauce
- pumpkin puree
Tips for making these dog pretzels:
- Baking time may vary based on the equipment used. I tested this recipe with my Breville Air Fryer and my traditional built-in oven. The pretzels were done in the air fryer after 25 minutes, but took 35 minutes in my normal oven. Bake until tops of pretzels are golden brown.
- Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week.
If you’re looking for more information on dog-safe foods, check out Bella’s 11th Bday blog post where I give some more options based on certified sources.
- 2½ cups oat flour
- 1¼ cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs divided (1 in mixture, 1 for egg wash)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. (1)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add oat flour, old fashioned oats, applesauce, pumpkin puree, and 1 egg to a bowl. Mix until fully combined. Dough should be somewhat sticky, but not tacky. If your dough is sticking to your hands, add 1 tbsp extra flour. If your dough is falling apart, add 1 extra tbsp of applesauce or pumpkin puree.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon. Roll into 12" pieces. Form a "U" shape and then fold down twisting into a pretzel shape. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough.
- Whisk remaining egg and brush on top of pretzels before baking.
- Bake for 25 minutes in air fryer or 30-35minutes in oven until the tops of the pretzels are golden brown.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
You may also love:
- Bella’s 10th Birthday Cake
- Bella’s 11th Birthday charTREATerie Board
- Bella’s 12th Birthday Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Yogurt
- Bella’s 13th Birthday Homemade Pumpkin Waffles
I’d love to hear from you once you get the chance to make this recipe. Leave a comment below with your review or any modifications you made! And don’t forget to tag @rightbackspatula on Instagram if you take any pictures!