Shopping Local at the Dane County Farmer's Market in Madison, Wisconsin for your Pet Cat and/or Dog
Raise your hand if you love Farmer’s Market season? 🙋
The Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, Wisconsin is the largest producer-only Farmers’ Market in the country. It runs on the capitol square on Saturday mornings from mid-April to early-to-mid-November. Most of us humans go there to indulge in fresh squeaky cheese curds, Stella’s spicy cheese bread, maple syrup, honey, and of course locally-grown fresh and organic produce.
Despite the fact that dogs aren’t allowed on the square during the market (BOO!), did you know that there are plenty of products for sale there that you can get for your pet cat or dog? Of course I am the person that buys a single tiny air plant and then a bounty for my spoiled furballs, but if you want to support your local farmers and producers by shopping for your pet, you totally can!
You’ve seen it at the grocery store and pet store, so of course you can get it at the Farmer’s Market. Even though cats are obligate carnivores, they have adapted to having some grass in their diet. Their wild ancestors likely ingested some foliage after hunting and consuming their prey on the ground. Cat grass has fiber, niacin, and B vitamins. If your cat terrorizes your house plants (please check and make sure they aren’t poisonous) the cat grass can also distract them.
We all know about cat weed! I’ve seen it available fresh cut, potted, and dried at the Farmer’s Market. Eowyn is the part of 40% of cats that is affected by catnip, so of course our main reason for getting it is for filling toys and letting her be silly. However, catnip carries the same benefits as cat grass! In fact, it has been shown to relieve anxiety, calm restless sleep, detox the body, and many more benefits for humans. It definitely is a good herb to keep around.
Raw Bones for Dogs
Some bones are safe for dogs to have. Always make sure the bones are raw, as cooked or smoked bones can become brittle and break apart into splinters becoming a choking or digestive hazard. Weight-bearing bones can be too dense, and poultry bones are fine as long as they are appropriately sized for your dog. We typically see many vendors with raw bones for sale!
Elk Livers & Hearts for Dogs
Our favorite jerky vendor also loves dogs! They have Elk hearts and livers for sale at $5 a lb. They are fresh and vacuum sealed, and all you have to do is cut it up and add to their kibble or raw to add some rich flavor and protein that your dog will love. You can get these at Gooch’s Farms’ stand.
Antler Chews for Dogs
We all know how much dogs love to chew! Elk antlers have proven to be a great alternative to questionable chews such as rawhide and Nylabones. Antlers are also a great long-lasting chew for dogs who seem to get through toys quickly. These were also available at Gooch’s.
Did you know that carrots are good for dogs? They are low calorie and high in vitamins and fiber! The nice thing about dogs is that if they are food-motivated, then they are plenty happy to eat their vegetables, unlike many humans. Break these up into appropriately sized bites for your dog and they work great as a snack or reward.
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are also low calorie and high in fiber. We usually always have sweet potatoes at our house, so Bullett usually is gifted some treats as we prepare our meals. We feed raw, but we’ve also made these easy treats from sweet potato. Avoid regular potatoes in your dog’s diet, though.
Not to sound like a broken record, but pumpkin is good for your pets in the same way that sweet potatoes and carrots are. Both Bullett and Eowyn enjoy it, whether it be on their kibble or frozen in a kong or a treat. I personally cannot get enough of pumpkin year-round, so it’s nice to share a favorite with my furry creatures.
Located on the corner of King and Main streets just off the square is the most pet-friendly booth, called Buddies Bites. They sell all sorts of products such as bath products, apparel, and our favorite--treats! The treats are fresh and use all-natural ingredients. Because they are fresh and chewy, they need to be kept in the fridge. Our pets can’t get enough of them!
The Saturday Farmer’s Market starts at 6:15am and runs until 1:45 pm. The market this year (2018) is happening now until November 10. One of our favorite summertime activities is walking down to the market, grabbing a “magic coffee” from Graze, and picking out some fresh produce to enjoy with a meal. It’s a real treat, and it’s nice it’s something we can share with our furry family members while supporting local farmers and producers.
The Girl in the Unicorn Pajamas (and Bullett and Eowyn, too!)