Feel Like Spoiling Your Pup? ScheckEats' Jeremy Scheck Shares His Top Doggy Date Night Tips
As a city dweller, it can be tough for Jeremy to make sure that 9-year-old rescue dog Maude gets the entertainment she needs every day, which is why he's big on dedicated doggy date nights—and Wellness Pet Food definitely helps. He recently teamed up with the brand, and we got the chance to chat with him about his love for Maude and his best bonding tips, as well as dish on Wellness Pet Food and share a yummy recipe for humans inspired by their tasty Bowl Boosters Freshly line. Keep reading to discover what he shared with us!
Sweety High: Why is it so important to set aside dedicated bonding time with your pup? Why is it extra crucial to make this time if you live somewhere without a ton of space to roam?
Jeremy Scheck: Setting aside time to bond with our dogs is very important and something I plan for every day with my own pup, Maude. I think all pet owners can attest—when our pets are happy, we're happier, too! It may sound funny, but I do feel like we are mutually synced—when she's energized and happy, I find myself feeling the same and our relationship strengthens. Finding ways to energize my relationship with Maude has been especially important after I moved to New York City. As many city residents know, apartments can be super small and tight on space which sometimes can feel crammed and chaotic. To get outside and be in a new environment, I take Maude on her daily walks and special trips to dog parks and dog-friendly farmers markets. I love to go to places in New York City where I can let Maude off her leash (like the dog park), so she gets a little freedom to sniff around her surroundings.
Every Saturday, I hit up the local farmer's market to get my fresh fruits and vegetables for the week and I always bring Maude. Not only does she get to enjoy the free treats from vendors, but she gets to socialize with other leashed dogs, and always gets to snack on the fresh produce I buy! Carrots are her favorite. Pro tip: Make sure to check your local farmer's market rules about dogs before heading there with your dog, just in case. It's so fun because she enjoys the farmers market just as much as I do—she takes after her dad and is a true foodie at heart!
SH: What are some of the best ways to connect one-on-one with a dog?
JS: I've found that one of the best ways to connect with Maude one-on-one is eating on the same plane. Getting down to eye level with Maude lets her know I'm focused on her. I try to remind myself how she must feel every day, being so far below me on the floor. We like to eat some meals this way, which Maude always gets super excited for. Recently, she's been loving the Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly Turkey and Sweet Potatoes Recipe, and I love it, too, because it supercharges Maude's kibble and helps keep her coat shiny and her energy high. She literally jumps up in excitement every time I open the bag.
@scheckeats Maude is loving the new Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly in Turkey & Sweet Potatoes on top of her kibble. It's like she is a young puppy again! @Wellness Pet Food #superchargetheirkibble ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic
SH: In what ways is letting dogs sniff their surroundings great for their bodies and minds? Is there anything to be mindful of on a sniffing adventure?
JS: Letting dogs sniff is a great way to help stimulate your dog's brain and help them get out some energy! Living in a small apartment in NYC, it's hard to give Maude the exercise she needs, so whenever I have the chance, we go for an off-leash sniffing adventure. When I take Maude on these sniffing expeditions, I'm always sure to keep a close eye on her to make sure she's not getting into anything that could be harmful.
SH: What steps can you take to make grooming time into a spa-worthy pampering event? What are some of the ways to keep them clean and healthy?
JS: Maude and I love to have our monthly sPAW nights, as we call them. I always make sure Maude is relaxed and tired first, so we usually go on a long walk beforehand. I like to start with a bath and then I bring out the nail file, brush, ear wipes and paw cream. Once she's dry, I give her a head and shoulder massage, which she always loves! I think it's important for Maude to look and feel her best, so I try to stick to this routine to keep her clean and healthy.
SH: What are some of the best places to take your dog to mingle and socialize at an event you can also enjoy?
JS: My favorite thing to do with Maude is dine outside—I call it DNO (Dog's Night Out)! I like to call ahead to make sure the restaurant's outdoor space is pet-friendly and love to enjoy my dinner with Maude curled up below the table on my feet. I do always feed Maude her Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly before we go out to dinner, so she is more well-mannered during the meal. I also bring a chew toy, so she is occupied—my favorite is WHIMZEES Brushzees for an added dose of dental health. Don't forget the water bowl, too!
Some local places that have been great for Maude include Gran Torino, Le Crocodile and Rule of Thirds.
SH: What are some of your dog's favorite types of puzzles? Why is that kind of enrichment so good for dogs?
JS: I love encouraging Maude to play with puzzles because I know it is so important for Maude's health to engage in enrichment activities together, which will continue to support our mutual healthy relationship. Maude likes the types of puzzles where she is encouraged to search for food inside different compartments, and I find that they are more interactive and keep her busy for a while. Maude is always well-behaved after she plays with this puzzle, which I love, so I try to let her play with them often!
Also read about: 13 Great Products Your Pups Will LOVE
SH: Can you share a favorite recipe for spoiling your dog with a meal that's healthy and beneficial?
My favorite meal to make for Maude is the Wellness CORE Digestive Health kibble with Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly on top. The ingredients in this combination are great for Maude and give her benefits I can see including healthy skin and coat, all-day energy, good digestion, strong teeth and bones and strong immune support. This food is packed with natural and healthy ingredients that promote a healthy gut in a highly digestible formula with prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes. With fresh ingredients, high-quality meats and healthy grains and vegetables, these new recipes energize our relationship at mealtime to support all we do together! Another plus is that the recipes are available for same-day delivery via DoorDash at PetSmart and Petco, so when I'm in a pinch (or I'm getting other groceries online), I can get Maude her food too. If you prefer to shop in-person, you can also find Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly in freezers at select PetSmart and Petco locations or online at Chewy.
As pet parents, we seek fresh, whole-food ingredients for ourselves for the same reason we want them for our dogs, and it's been a ton of fun experimenting with recipes to match what Maude is eating. I've curated a special-edition recipe inspired by Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly and am excited to share what I've been whipping up in the kitchen with Maude.
(via Wellness Pet Food)
Sharing my new fave recipe for pet parents below:
Parmigiano Risotto with Fresh Vegetables
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter (more later in the list)
- 1 shallot, diced finely
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup Arborio rice, or other risotto rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to taste (around 1/2 cup freshly grated)
- 1 tablespoon butter, cold
- Cooked seasonal vegetables to taste:
- Sweet potato
- Butternut squash
- Cut up and roast the vegetables (sweet potato, butternut squash, beets and parsnips) at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
- Add the olive oil and butter to a large skillet with high sides over medium heat; add the shallot. Cook until translucent and add the garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the Arborio rice to the shallot and garlic, and toast one to two minutes, stirring constantly, until mostly translucent.
- Add the wine, and let simmer until mostly boiled away, stirring gently.
- With the skillet on medium heat, add the warm stock one ladle at a time, stirring gently but constantly, and waiting until most of the stock is absorbed before adding more. Stop adding stock when the rice is cooked through but still al dente. Add enough stock at the end to have it become thick and brothy but not an extremely soupy viscosity.
- Turn off the heat, and add the Parmigiano reggiano, butter and vegetables; stir well for a minute or two to achieve mantecatura, a cohesive glossy finish.
- Serve with extra Parmigiano reggiano cheese and cracked black pepper.
- Pair with a side salad for an additional boost; mix baby spinach, dried cranberries, green apples, goat cheese and sliced almonds into your favorite bowl
- Add in some of the roasted butternut squash that is already prepared for added flavor and color!
Also read about: How Hot Is TOO Hot to Walk Your Dog Outside? An Expert Explains
SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
JS: When I first adopted Maude, she was very skinny, had low energy and her coat was dull. After getting on a consistent feeding pattern with Wellness Bowl Boosters Freshly, she has a pep in her step, a shiny coat and is acting like a puppy again. She doesn't miss a beat now, and I've found that our relationship is stronger because she has the energy to go on more adventures together around New York City.
Curious about which human foods are safe for dogs? Click HERE to learn more from our interview with TikTok's viral vet, Dr. Hunter Finn.