It's been a year!

It was actually almost two years ago that Casey and I were sitting at a friend's beach house in Cayucos, CA, enjoying the lovely May weather and relaxing when an idea hit us.  We had just finished a stroll on the boardwalk where this small dog-friendly town had people with their pets going from store to store, a bowl of water set out by the doors so the dogs could get a drink whenever they needed one.  Cayucos is also home to the Brown Butter Cookie Company, an amazing little shop that was started by a couple of sisters and on just about any given day you can find a line out the door of people buying these amazing, fresh cookies.  What we noticed though that was that even though the town was extremely dog friendly, there was no dog store.  Sitting back at the beach house we were talking about it a bit and threw around the idea of how fun it would be to open a store across the street for dogs with a sign that said "Well YOU got one!"  We laughed and didn't think much more about it as we went about our day.  My brain however, unbeknownst to me, put it on a back burner and let it stew.  It seems that I get my best ideas, (including some of our most popular recipes) in my sleep.  I woke up the next morning, looked at Casey and said, "We could call it Mooch's Munchies!" after our adorable black and tan doxie mix Mooch.  The tagline "They're TOTALLY PAWSOME" followed a few moments later, stated in my best surfer accent.

It was still just a fun idea as we drove back home to Las Vegas.  After all, neither of us had ever run our own brick and mortar business, had no idea how to start one and no idea on how to fund it.  Even though we liked the idea, the beach was at this point in time out of the question financially for us.  But the seed had been planted and was trying desperately to take root.

Our Boston Terrier Abby, who just turned 11, has had stomach issues for as long as we have had her, and I have cooked for her most of her life.  Mooch, who is 7, has never eaten anything but home-cooking until recently (more on that later).  I had also started making treats for them as well.  I tried different recipes to see how they would do but they either had too much fat or oil or spoiled too quickly or got crumbly and didn't hold up well.  Store treats were loaded with chemicals and preservatives and were out of the question since they exacerbated her stomach issues.  After our idea I threw myself even harder into creating recipes that would work for our dogs.  I also farmed out the results to family, friends and neighbors with dogs and asked them for feedback on the cookies and the dogs reactions.  I spent hours doing research on the different ingredients that go into dog food and treats and  was appalled by what I found.  The more we learned and talked, the more we realized that Mooch's Munchies needed to exist for the health and well being of the dogs.

In September of 2016, Casey's job circumstances got rearranged and he needed to make some decisions regarding his retirement funds.  We discovered that you can roll them over into a ROBS (Roll Over for Business Startup) retirement account.  It is complicated, but it did make it possible for us to be able to bring the dream to life!  So, in October of 2016 Mooch's Munchies Inc was founded.  As the next several months flew by we quickly got educated on licensing, permitting, equipment, marketing, research, DEMOLITION and lots of other things too numerous to mention.  We set up our online store with pictures that we took on our cell phones and of our friends and families dogs eating our treats.  We learned to use Facebook to reach potential customers and Instagram to find even more people who wanted to feed their dogs the best cookies they could find.

And so it came to be that on April 15th, 2017 (I know.....tax day) Mooch's Munchies website officially opened for business and the front doors of our shop were opened.  It only took eleven months from concept to open and we started out with 10 flavors of our gluten-free, real food dog cookies.  Each one is cut and baked by hand by a crazy couple that just wanted to see the dogs be happy, healthy and thrive.

We have continued to grow and change and evolve, and I have had to scramble to make sure that I document the path that we are taking because I know that there will come a day when no one will believe how this amazing little dog cookie company got started.  One thing that will never change is our vision.  WE will always make sure that your dog is getting the best product that we can bake.  Real food, gluten-free and chemical free, a treat that you can have confidence in when you give it to your pet.  We also want to make sure that it is an affordably priced treat.  It shouldn't break the bank to feed them well.

If you live in the Las Vegas area, please come join us and help us celebrate this amazing milestone on Sunday, April 15th from 12 noon to 6 pm.  We will be making pupcakes for the dogs, refreshments for the humans, raffles, discounts and more.  Paws On My Way Home Rescue (Mooch's Alma Mater) will be there too with lots of their adorable dogs waiting for their forever homes.  The store is located at 101 S. Rainbow Blvd. Suite 16 and we would love to meet you and your fur babies.  If you don't live in the area we haven't forgotten you!  Just shop online here at the webstore  moochsmunchies.com and use code BIRTHDAY at checkout to get 25% off of your order.  

We know there are a lot of choices out there for your pets.  If you don't choose ours, please make sure what you do choose is a good healthy one for them.

 

Love and cookies.

 

Kellie the Cookie Lady

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Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

There is a lot of excitement in the air as we ready ourselves for another Holiday Season.  You may be traveling to visit  family and friends, or they may be coming to see you.  Amid the hustle and bustle of it all we just want to remind you that it isn't business as usual for your pet either.  A little bit of preparation could mean the difference between a Happy Thanksgiving or an avoidable tragedy.

Everyone knows that dogs don't always make great culinary choices, so it is our responsibility to do it for them.  Holidays bring lots of rich foods, as well as lots of bowls of snacks sitting around on coffee and end tables.  We all also have that one family member  who insists that "a little bit won't hurt them" and is most likely going to sneak them a bite or two of a no-no food when you aren't looking.  We have a great story about our Boston Terrier Abby, who earned the nickname "Cheese-It" when at a gathering at our house our guest asked, "Is she supposed to be doing that?".  We looked and were appalled that she was nose deep in a snack bowl of the crackers, eating as fast as she could, knowing that she was in trouble for doing it but having no regrets either.  She had never done anything like that before, but for some reason dogs seem to get a new sense of ambition when there are people around that don't know the rules.  There is no reason why you can't gently remind your guests of the rules for the dog and perhaps even mention if your furbaby has tummy issues that could be triggered by a well -meaning mouthful of yummy.

If you have a dog that tends to table-surf, we would recommend giving your dog the day off in a quiet room or you will need to be vigilant and hire the kids or another couple of people to help you keep an eye out.  You can't be everywhere at once, especially if alcohol is served.  Dogs can be poisoned easily by unattended drinks and you and your dog's day can be quickly ruined by a trip to the emergency vet.

Remember that a dog's digestive tract is sensitive to a lot of things, so giving them lots of table scraps could end up with a sick pup.  Most holiday meals are loaded with butter, onions, garlic, raisins, yeast and wheat, none of which are good for dogs.  You could have a dog that would either be throwing up or having diarrhea, neither one feels good.  A bit of Pepto could help if this happens, but avoiding the situations would be better altogether.  If you want to share some of your holiday meal with the family dog, then cut up a small amount of turkey and put it on their regular food with a few (not much!) dribbles of gravy.  As for dessert, avoid giving them human treats.  Of course, we here at Mooch's Munchies offer great treats for dogs and even have come up with a Pupkin Pie option that lets them have a healthy slice along with the family.  Whatever you choose to share with your pets, make sure it will be a treat and not a trick.

One last thing to watch out for is escape artists!  Lots of people coming and going may not get the door closed as quickly as necessary.  Does your dog like to explore the neighborhood unattended?  They might easily escape undetected and get lost.  Make sure that your dog has their collar and tags on if they don't wear them daily.  It could help them find their way home again.

All of these things are important to make sure that everyone enjoys their day.  We here at Mooch's Munchies hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

 

Love and cookies,

Kellie the cookie lady

 

 

BeeJay's Journey

 

For those of you who have been following our page and the growing of our business, you know that we have a big heart for dogs of all types and sizes, but especially for dogs that are in rescue.  We collect donations in the store for On My Way Home Rescue (a 501 (c) (3) non- profit organization) based out of Henderson, Nevada.  They are also the rescue that we adopted our store’s namesake Mooch from when he was a baby.  Recently, we decided that we wanted to do more to help by fostering one of the dogs that was in their care.  We realized that it would be mutually beneficial for us to work together.  We would post pictures and video of the dog in our care to help us grow our business while at the same time helping the rescue to network more dogs. 

So, on Friday, August 11th, BeeJay came into our world and our hearts.  A beautiful black and tan, eight-year old Dachshund.  He had been given to the rescue by his parents, an older couple who were having to move to the East Coast to care for their disabled daughter and their grand-daughter.  Now before you jump on the “I would never” bandwagon, that is all I know about the situation.  I am sure there are many extenuating circumstances as to why he couldn’t go with them and I am not going to try to judge them by guessing what those might be.  I will say that he has obviously been well cared for and loved, and they made a point of finding a rescue to take him in and find him a new home rather than the pound.  I am sure after 8 years it must have been horribly hard to give him away.  Sometimes life forces you to make decisions you would never want to make.  Don’t judge until you have walked in their footsteps.

 

He has gone through a lot in the short time since he left his original family, and he is doing his best to take it all in stride.   He has had a dental treatment and neuter, gone to stay overnight with another foster family until he could come to us.  He melded in with their troupe for the night and then came to us the following day.  I am sure that must have been confusing.  Stephanie, the wonderful lady who runs the rescue brought him to us and we all sat in the floor of the family room while he got to meet another set of dogs – our doxie mix Mooch and his Boston Terrier sister Abby.  For his little smart brain, this had to have been a lot to process.  New houses, new smells, new dogs and where were his humans?  Then on Saturday two more dogs joined us for the week.  My Mother-in-law was heading out of town to see her sick brother and we are the caretakers of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan when she is away. 

 

To give him a chance to get socialized and to meet potential adopters, not just for him but for all the dogs in the rescue, he comes to the shop with us every day.  I think it helps him to have us near and to not be crated a lot.  He follows me everywhere and it isn’t just because I give him cookies.  I really think he has started bonding to us and is afraid of being left again.  I know he will have to go through this one more time when we find his forever home, but how do you explain that to that sweet little face? 

 

He gets along well with the other dogs, but is still learning what it is they do and what that means to him.  We have had a few skirmishes over the last week, but they have been minor and things are working out well.  When we have had to correct him, and tell him no! he seems to get upset and retreats a bit.  For example, last night when Casey was playing with our Boston Abby…. She growls when she plays, but it is not mean or hurtful.  BeeJay got upset and started to protect Casey from her.  We had to step in and he went back to the chair on his own and sulked.  It was as if he was saying “I was just trying to help”.  We love on him and reassure him as much as we can, but there are times that he looks up at me with those big brown eyes and I can see he is trying to figure it all out.  Is this my family now?  Where did my other family go?  Where do I fit in? 

 

Dogs remember.  When I had been away from my former Dachshund for 3 years (after my divorce), I got to see him again.  He went ballistic.  He was so happy to see me that he would just stand and shake then let out a single bark.  He wouldn’t leave my side while I was there, and afterward my ex told me that for a few months every time he would hear a woman’s voice he would get excited until he saw it wasn’t me.  It broke my heart so badly I decided I would never do that to him again and because of it I never got to see him again.  It would have been selfish of me to do that to him.

 

So, for BeeJay, we will do what we can to help this transition be as smooth for him as possible.  I know he won’t understand it all and will have to take time to adjust when he does go to his forever home.  We fell in love with him on the first night he came to us and we want to help him the best we can.  We knew it would be hard to take in a dog and love it only to turn around and let them go, but we didn’t want to foster fail on the first try and take away the chance to help other dogs find their forever home.  In the end we will all be ok, and he will settle in to his new home and live out his years being a happy spoiled boy  - hopefully by eating lots of Mooch’s Munchies (you didn’t seriously think I wouldn’t put a plug in here for what we do did you?).  He will be the first in a long line of dogs that we will be trying to help place in their permanent homes.  But just like a dog….I will always remember him.

 

Peace, love, and cookies y’all.

 

Kellie

 

Thank you for taking the time to read our posts.  We want to encourage you to try our products for your Pawsome Pets too!  As a thank you for reading this you can shop our site and enter code BEEJAY at checkout and receive a 25% off of your order.  We believe in what we do, and we believe your dog will love them.

 

Munch on this – Quality

If you read our last blog post (and we hope you did), we talked about what many of the major companies that make dog foods and treats use as ingredients in their products.  It doesn’t exactly fill you with a lot of trust, and in some cases it is downright disgusting.  While some dogs are super picky about what they will eat, we all know those dogs that will eat anything that isn’t tied down (and some things that are!).  Just because they will eat it, doesn’t mean they should.  Caring for your dog’s health should be your top priority when it comes to what they are ingesting, but that is going to come with a little extra work and research on your part.  We here at Mooch’s Munchies have done some of that research for you in this blog.

 

When we decided to start Mooch’s Munchies, we knew there was a lot of competition.  I told my husband that unless we could come up with recipes that would raise us above the rest, then there was no reason to begin.  I spent a lot of time in our kitchen working on recipes and sharing our prototype products with our friends and family and their more than willing dogs.  We made notes of the results, then we would try again.  We went in search of ingredients that we knew would be better for our canine companions than what was on the shelves in the grocery store.  The research we did took us to clean ingredients that cut out the garbage.  The first thing to go was the gluten.

 

Why gluten-free?  Well for starters, wheat is known to be a hard to digest protein for many dogs.  Did you know that wheat gluten is the protein of the wheat?  Many manufacturers use wheat as a primary ingredient in their dog foods.  It drives up the crude protein on the package, but doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog will thrive on it. The more wheat, the less actual meat they put in the food. Wheat protein is a lower quality because it lacks Lysine and other essential amino acids.   If your dog doesn't process it well, they will have uncomfortable gas and you will have a stinker on your hands.  So out went the traditional flour and in came Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour.  We love the way it bakes and tastes and only use it for ourselves at home now.  The dogs love it.   It uses sweet white rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, Tapioca Flour and Xanthan gum.  Please keep in mind it is still a flour and while we use this for our cookies, it should not be a major source of the dog’s nutrition, but it is a far more digestible flour.

 

The next thing was organics.   Let’s face it, natural is always better.  We wanted ingredients that came the way nature made them, not with extra hormones or antibiotics.  While you can find research that supports both sides of the argument for organic or not, we just don’t like taking the chance.  Just as in our own personal lives ( I am living with fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis) I have found that going to organics and being gluten free has made my joint pain go from being crippling to being mildly annoying and we both just feel better overall.  Our bodies are less bloated and inflamed, and we are less gassy.  We started this with our own dogs and have found that they as well seem to move better, be more puppy-like and no longer can clear the room with a toot.  Cooking their food is how I assure myself that they are getting the best.  It isn’t cheap by any means, but as these are our kids, we want the best for them.  That is why we use only organic eggs, which is a great protein source for the dogs.  We use organic applesauce in our Cheesy Cluckers and organic nonfat Greek yogurt in our other cookies.  People have been using yogurt to soothe tummies in sensitive dogs for a long time, however most people use a regular, flavored yogurt that has a lot more sugars in it than necessary.  All of our cookies (with the exception of the Cheesy Cluckers, Cheese Trainers and Chicken Trainers) are sweetened with organic honey.  Pumpkin is used for adding fiber to help dogs stay regular or to firm up a loose bowel and we have developed a cookie with pumpkin as well.  Our Peas and Thank-you cookies are made with organic split peas which we grind into a powder and mix with ground parsley making it a great tummy soother as well as a breath freshener.  The chicken we use is a freeze dried chicken breast.  Everything is human grade and we have tasted them all.  We have many customers with dogs that have tummy issues that are thrilled that their dogs can enjoy a treat now without the worry of a round of diarrhea or a trip to the vet.  Our own vet is really excited about these treats.

 

What you won’t find in our cookies is artificial flavors or preservatives.  We bake our cookies to a biscotti-style crunch so there is no chance of spoilage.  You can smell the quality of the cookie when you open the bag, the aroma of the banana, carob or peanut butter is there.  The dogs notice it and will beg for more.  While we make them crunchy to give them a shelf life, dogs that are older with weak or failing teeth don’t have to go without!  You can take the cookies that you will use in the next day or so and put them in a zippered bag with a slice of bread and it will soften them back up again. Only do this with the cookies that will be used soon as moist cookies will have the ability to mold.  We actually have had customers tell us they had to hide the bags on upper shelves because the dogs have gotten into and onto the cabinets to get them.  Don’t you want your dog to have the very best?  We certainly do.

 

Our cookies aren’t fancy, and you won’t find any decorated or frosted birthday cakes or cookies, but what you will find with us is a treat that your dog can enjoy every day without worry.  Please consider giving us a try.  Every cookie is hand cut and baked with the love, health, and life of your dog in mind.

 

Mooch’s Munchies……..THEY’RE TOTALLY PAWSOME!

Munch on this - Ingredients

You’ve just adopted the most adorable new puppy, or maybe even an older dog from the shelter or a rescue.  Awesome.  Now you go to the local pet store and pour over the food dishes, leashes, and collars. You pick out the perfect tag and have it engraved with the name that you muddled over in your head for days while thinking about picking up your new baby.  Gotta make sure you get some food and treats too, so you grab a bag of food that has a name you have heard before a million times in commercials or that your parents fed your childhood dog.  I mean – it’s by a company that has been making dog food for ages and it says new and improved and it has the word “Healthy” in the name.  How can I go wrong?  And those chewy bacon-flavored treats will be something they love.  All set!  Let’s head to the check out and start our happy life at home! 


Hold on!  Don’t you want to know what is in that food?  How about those treats?  This furry, face-licking, frolicking bundle of love depends on you for their meals and treats, and it is important if you want to keep them healthy for as long as possible that you pay attention to what is in their food.  Here are just some of the ingredients that are in dog food and treats that are allowed by the food and drug administration (FDA):


Wheat or Corn (including Wheat or Corn Gluten) – while both of these are capable of sustaining your pet, they do nothing to help them thrive.  They have also been known to be a source of allergens and hard to process for many dogs, giving them really uncomfortable gas which is unpleasant for both the pet and those that share the room with them.


Meat -  Now hold on!  How can you question this?  Of course, meat is good for your dog!  But what kind of animal did that come from and what part of the animal is it?  Dog food and treat manufacturers are very sneaky about how they word the ingredients that lead you to believe your dog is getting better than they are.  Unless it specifies the type of animal, “meat meal” could be just about anything – you will never know.  "The raw ingredients used in rendering are generally just leftovers of the meat, poultry and fishing industries. It is known that the temperatures used in rendering may also alter or destroy natural enzymes and proteins found in these raw ingredients. These facts indicate there is potentially wide variability in nutrient composition of the final product that ends up in pet food. In fact, the nutritional quality of by-products, meals and digests often varies dramatically from batch to batch."  (Dr. Donna Spector on Petmd.com).  So basically, you want to make sure that Fluffy is getting the good stuff, not the bones, feathers, beaks and….well, let’s just leave it at that.  You get the idea.


Flavoring -  Yep, flavoring.  Now logic would dictate that if the dog food has a specific meat as its protein source that it would not need a flavoring added to it.   It should taste like chicken, beef, or liver because that is what it is made from.  Just like your favorite lemonade drink has artificial flavoring (if you weren’t aware of that, you should be), lots of pet food manufacturers have resorted to adding flavorings because of the poor quality of the ingredients that are in the food.  And the treat industry is guilty of this as well.  Recently I went on a discovery expedition to my local store to discover just what some of the ingredients were in some very popular and trusted dog treats.  I hope you aren’t reading this over lunch.


Animal Digest -  Just about as repugnant as it sounds.  “As defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, digest is produced by the chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean animal tissue that has not undergone decomposition.”(Wikepedia).  So, what you have here, in the case of these “snappy” liver flavored treats is a flavor that came from soaking the animal meat in chemicals to create a soup that is liver flavored.  Why not just use the liver itself?  Oh yeah -  that would cost more and they must look out for the bottom line.  Trust me when I tell you that the big companies are typically not looking out for the best interest of your new companion, they are doing the minimum to avoid a lawsuit.


Propylene Glycol - Ok you ask, but what about those soft chewy treats that look like hunks of steak or chicken?  Once again, not a good idea.  What keeps those treats so soft and chewy is Propylene Glycol.  A close cousin to Ethylene Glycol which is much more toxic, it is still used in more friendly versions of anti-freeze.  Yes, you read that right.  It is used in anti-freeze.  The FDA has approved it as “generally recognized as safe” and it is used as a humectant, meaning it keeps things nice and moist.  I don’t know about you, but “generally recognized as safe” doesn’t fill me with warm fuzzy trustful feelings.  Your best bet, SKIP IT.  Your pet can live much better without soft squishy treats.  Besides, crunchy treats will also help clean their teeth.


The bottom line when it comes to pet food and treats is this.  These wonderful creatures come into our lives for such a short time already.  They count on us to provide for their well-being.  What they eat, their everyday health, and amount of exercise they get are in our hands.  For many of us they are our kids.  We go out of our way to make sure they are getting the best.  Awareness and knowledge are key in keeping them healthy.

 
We here at Mooch’s Munchies recognize and relish how special that bond with our pets are.  We have made it our mission to ensure that the products we produce are of the highest quality.  We vow to never put in fillers or glutens.  You won’t find artificial coloring or flavorings.  We use real freeze-dried chicken breast in our chicken treats.  We will never use meals or by-products.  No rendered fats in our products.  What you will find in our cookies is a high-quality treat for your dog that is made to appeal to your dog’s tastes.  Quality is not cheap, but it is worth it.  Your dog’s health will be better for it and they will live a better life because of your good choices.


Now grab some cookies, a tennis ball, your new furkid and hit the dog park!  Time’s a wastin’!

Coming Soon

Knowledge is power!  We want to let you know that we research what we put into our cookies so that your pet is getting only the very best -  a treat that not only tastes good but is good for them.  We will post what we have learned here and help to educate you on the latest information to help your dog live a full and happy life.  Come visit us often and look for updates. 

We will have more details coming soon.

 

Thanks for your visit

 

Kellie Jones and the whole Mooch's Munchies team