You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: Thanks, Nature's Recipe®

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It's been a long time since we've allowed dog toys IN the house, but in the last year or so, we've noticed a huge incline in missing KID toys. Our Golden has always been the stuffed animal lover, but all of a sudden our Chocolate Lab decided he was going to be in on it too. Except because we haven't really had pet appropriate indoor toys, they were running to our toddlers' instead! I do mean literal running too; we would come home from work and they would bound to the kids' toy box, which houses eight square fabric bins. They always go to the center basket, and grab with their mouth whatever is on top: stuffed animals, plastic toys, dress-up shoes, ANYTHING! 

We figured it was about time that they deserved something different. Elsa our Golden is nine and Humphrey, the Lab is ten. They've welcomed each of our children home from the hospital so greatly, but well, quite frankly, we can't afford to keep buying new toys for our KIDS. Ha!

Well, also in the last several years Elsa has started to really itch and scratch at her paws. I've always known she has some slight allergies and have really wanted to explore new food options. We've been a little concerned that grain free dog foods just wasn't something we could regularly budget, so we were thrilled when a friend told us of the brand Nature's Recipe®. It is a highly affordable pet food with very high-quality ingredients AND we just discovered that Kroger, our continuous go-to grocery store, carries it! There are many options to choose from and each one contains NO artificial colors or preservatives, and is an all natural food with added vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.

My husband and I decided that while training our dogs to fetch the toys that they are ALLOWED to, we'd also hopefully better their lifestyles with a switch in food. I put together a super simple tutorial for y'all to create your own pet gift basket, and I promise, your pups are going to love it.

1. Choose a basket that is simple to your needs. We had an extra wicker one lying around, and the dogs know how to meticulously pull these from the kids' toy storage box WITHOUT destroying them--so we went with what they already knew.

2. Our dogs are Retrievers, so fetching is obviously in their nature ;) I can't tell you how long it's been since they've fetched a frisbee, but oh my goodness they were SO happy when they saw these!! At nine and ten, we are very thankful that they are still healthy and active.

3. Choose toys that you know they'll gravitate towards. Funny side story: Since she was a puppy, Elsa has always been obsessed with lamb stuffed animals. We always call them her "lambie" and she will make them last for MONTHS. My mom typically sends her one on her birthdays and Elsa will carry it around wherever she goes, resting her head on it and legit cuddling the heck out of it. Eventually she'll rip the stuffing out though, so it's been since September that she's had one. Notice the 'lambie' in this photo and just wait for the photos below. She's still obsessed.

4. Select a couple of items that are good for your dogs chew play. A little fetch, some tug-o'war... they'll be thrilled!

5. Put it all together and you have yourself (and the dog or dogs) quite the gift! 

6. This is the formula of dog food we chose to go with: lamb meal and rice recipe. This is largely due to the fact that their current food has lamb and rice involved in the ingredients so hopefully it won't taste too different to them. You'll see on the labeling that there are no corn, wheat, artificial colors or flavors and that it is high in quality protein. We chose this as the final gift basket item! 

I wish I could have gotten Humphrey (the Lab) to cooperate for some photos but he was WAY too excited and couldn't be still long enough. I've always called Elsa the model dog; sorry Humpty, I love you just the same!! 

All of the toys pictured were also found at our local Kroger, so we were able to purchase the food AND these treats all at once--win win! Nature's Recipe isn't a new product, but it IS new coming to Kroger retailers, and I want to spread the word for all my dog loving friends and family. You can follow Nature's Recipe on Facebook to stay updated on their newest recipes and coupons too!

What fun changes have been inspired by YOUR furry friend? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, and you can use the hashtag #NutritionWorthWaggingFor

See which toy Elsa gravitated towards? CALLED IT! Also: we went to the gym this evening and came back a couple hours later; Humphrey was the first to bee-line it to the basket (which we had put in the kids toy bin) and he came bounding at us full speed, with the rope ball from the photos above. I am SO happy we did this, these sweet pups absolutely deserved ALL of it.Below is where you can find Nature's Recipe dog food at Kroger stores, ours was in aisle 14 with the bird seed + dog food and as you can see, there are a lot of great options!