As Valentine's Day approaches, what better way to celebrate than by showering our four-legged friends with some extra love? There are plenty of treats to buy, but you can create heart-warming, tail-wagging delights right in your own kitchen made specifically for pups, with their favourite flavours and lots of love baked in. We’ve found some delicious, canine-friendly recipes that will make your furry friends jump for joy as your four-legged Valentine. So, pop on your apron, grab your mixing bowls, and let's spread the love with some homemade treats.
Making these at home comes with a bundle of benefits. Firstly, it provides you with control over the ingredients, ensuring that your pup indulges in only the finest and healthiest options. You get to skip the questionable additives and preservatives sometimes found in commercial treats, and add in only the things that your dog loves and gets most benefit from.
Additionally, crafting your own treats allows you to tailor recipes to your dog's specific preferences and dietary requirements. Perhaps your canine companion has allergies, sensitivities, or simply a picky palate, so make-at-home masterpieces mean you can cater to their unique tastes and health needs. It's not just about the treats; it's about the love and care you pour into each homemade morsel, making these treats priceless.
Something to consider before we get creative is making sure the ingredients are dog-friendly. It can be enticing to bake what we see as a delicious treat using chocolate, but it could play havoc with our pup’s digestion.Some ingredients to avoid are:
- Chocolate - This contains theobromine, which can be toxic to pets and is best avoided unless it is created specifically for dogs and/or other pets.
- Grapes and raisins - Although considered healthy for us, these are toxic and can cause kidney failure in some pets.
- Onions and garlic - These common savoury baking ingredients can cause damage to red blood cells and sometimes lead to anaemia.
- Xylitol - This can be found in sugar-free products and some peanut butters. Although less harmful for us, it can cause rapid insulin release and could lead to liver failure in your pooch.
- Dairy products - Many dogs are lactose intolerant and may experience digestive issues.
- Caffeine - Notably found in coffee, tea, and chocolate, it can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, and heart palpitations in your pup.
- Avocado - Deliciously healthy for us, it contains persin which isn’t harmful for humans, but it can be harmful to dogs and research is still ongoing as to whether there are any safe amounts that dogs can ingest.
- High-fat foods - Over-consumption can lead to pancreatitis, and specific safe amounts are very dependent on your dog’s diet and overall health, as well as breed and lifestyle.
- Nuts, especially macadamia nuts - Great as part of a healthy diet for many humans, but they can cause weakness, vomiting, and in some cases, hyperthermia.
- Certain fruits with pits or seeds - Fruits such as cherries, apricots, and peaches contain pits which can be a choking hazard, and some seeds contain cyanide, a rapidly poisonous natural chemical.
- Alcohol - Even small amounts can cause intoxication, leading to vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes fatalities.
As always, we advise that you consult with your vet before introducing new foods into your dog's diet and be cautious about sharing human food with your pets. Every dog is different, and what might be safe for one could be harmful to another.
Below are some delicious dog-friendly ideas to create for your fluffy Valentine:
Heart-Shaped Peanut Butter Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted peanut butter (make sure it doesn't contain xylitol)
1 cup chicken or beef broth (low-sodium)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the whole wheat flour and rolled oats.
- Stir in the peanut butter and chicken or beef broth until the mixture forms a dough.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out the biscuits.
- Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Allow them to cool completely before decorating and serving to your pup.
Sweet Potato and Banana Pupcakes
1 cup of cooked, mashed sweet potato
1 mashed ripe banana
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C and prepare a cupcake tin with paper liners.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, mashed banana, water, and honey (if using). Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sieve together the whole wheat flour and baking powder.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the pupcakes to cool before serving them to your furry friend.
If you want to decorate your biscuits or pupcakes, you can use the following dog-friendly toppings:
- Peanut butter drizzle (check the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol)
- Plain, unsweetened dairy/lactose free yogurt
- Carrot shavings, blueberries, bananas and dog-safe sprinkles
Love-Infused Frozen Yogurt Treats
1 cup plain, unsweetened dairy/lactose free yogurt
1 ripe mashed banana
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
A handful of blueberries or chopped strawberries
- In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, mashed banana, and honey (if using). Mix well until you have a smooth consistency.
- Gently fold in the chopped blueberries or strawberries. These will be the love-infused bits in your frozen treats.
- Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays or silicone moulds. You can also use paw-shaped moulds or any fun shapes your dog will like.
- Place the moulds in the freezer and let them set for at least 2-3 hours or until completely frozen.
Once frozen, pop the treats out of the moulds, and they are ready to be served. Your pup will love the cool and refreshing taste and texture of these!
If baking is a little out of your comfort zone, why not put together a DIY Doggy Valentine Gift Basket!
- Start by selecting a variety of your dog's favourite treats, ensuring they are dog-safe and suitable for their dietary needs. Include a mix of textures and flavours to keep it exciting.
- Add a personalised touch by including a cosy blanket or a special toy that your pup will love to pieces. Consider items that cater to their preferences, whether it's a squeaky plushie or a durable chew toy.
- Finally, don't forget to include a love note or Valentine card especially for your furry friend.
We also have an abundance of delicious dog-safe treats that you can include in your lovingly prepared hamper, some of our favourites include:
- Enzo’s Pet Pantry duck feet
- Life of Riley doggy doughnuts
- Soopa Pets Dental Sticks: Banana and Peanut Butter
- JR Pet Products pure venison sticks
- W’Zis Fang Chews
- Beautiful Joe’s gift pack
- Pet Hates Toys Donald Trump toy
- Green and Wild’s Sancho the Satsuma tug toy
- Furr Boost Beef, Broccoli and Blueberry drink
Just like in any relationship, love and balance are key. While these treats are delightfully delicious and full of loving intention, it’s still crucial to ensure they complement a balanced diet for your dog. Be sure to talk with your vet about your furry friend’s specific health needs and their dietary requirements before adding any new ingredients, or if you suspect they might be developing an allergy.
Creating homemade biscuits and pupcakes lets us tailor these treats to our dog’s particular tastes but also allows us to add special finishing touches, such as their favourite dog-safe topping or chewy texture. But equally as special is spending time to craft a perfect pup hamper which you know your dog will love exploring with you, and you can feel fulfilled by showering them with lovingly selected delicious delights.
May your Valentine's Day be filled with love, laughter, and lots of sloppy puppy kisses!