Homemade Easter treats for dogs are a thoughtful and unique dog gift idea. Whether you are staying with a family with pets over the holidays or if you have a tradition of exchanging Easter treats for the little ones, any dog-lover will be thrilled if you included their four-legged baby!
There are loads of options to make a tasty and not-too-unhealthy snack for your dogs. This recipe includes some delicious ingredients that dogs will love and that are also good for them. And you might even nibble the corner off one too!
These biscuits make a great gift on their own, or you could pair them with another small gift-wrapped trinket from our store. Or perhaps order one of our customisable hampers and then pop your home-made treats in when it arrives!
Dogs and Treats
Whilst we love giving our dogs treats, they will over-indulge if we let them (just like people I suppose!), and too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing.
In the UK (and likely world-wide), we have an issue with dog obesity and poor dental health. Treats should really only be given in moderation and as part of a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle. The Kennel Club recommends that treats are never more than 15% of a dog’s overall calorie intake.
Many shop-bought treats contain sugar, colourings and high levels of fat so it is always worth checking the label to see what you are buying. If you do choose to give your pet the occasional treat containing sugar, remember to give their teeth a brush!
When it comes to home-made treats, you can use your imagination with the ingredients and keep a control on the sugar content and other additives. However, you must ensure you do your research first as some foods which are perfectly safe for humans can make your dog very ill, sometimes with fatal consequences.
If your dog has any food allergies, sensitivities, medical conditions or is on any medication it is vital that you check with your veterinarian before feeding your dog any homemade treats, including this recipe. If you are unsure about the safety of any ingredients, even if your dog is in perfect health, please check with your veterinarian.
Peanut Butter, Apple, Sweet Potato, Carrot and Oat Biscuits
These delicious Easter treats for dogs can be made with or without the honey or the turmeric if necessary. I have excluded the honey and the dogs still love them but it is entirely up to you. I actually love the orange-y tinge the turmeric gives the biscuits, as well as the potential health benefits, so I have used it in the batch I just baked.
Here is a quick summary of the benefits of each of the ingredients and some of the ‘watch-outs’ for you to be aware of:
Dogs LOVE peanut butter! As with most delicious treats, you should only give it to your dog in moderation. It is high in protein, healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin and vitamin E.
When choosing peanut butter for your dogs, find one that has no other added ingredients like salt or sugar. And most importantly, ensure you do not feed your dog peanut butter containing xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetner used in food for humans but is potentially fatal if dogs eat it.
I have used Meridian crunchy peanut butter with no palm oil, no sugar and no salt added. It is available from most good supermarkets.
Apples are a great source of fibre, vitamin A and Vitamin C. My dogs will eat fresh, raw apple too (and it does help freshen the breath somewhat!). They also add some nice flavor to the treats. Apple pips contain cyanide at levels which can be dangerous for small animals, so make sure you remove the full core and pips before using the apple.
Like many fruits, apples do contain naturally occurring sugar, so beware if your dog suffers from diabetes and exclude this ingredient unless your vet tells you it is safe.
Sweet potato offers dogs a range of health benefits. And like the apples, they will love the flavour. Sweet potatoes are high in fibre which is great for digestive health. They’re also low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in your dog’s body, which is essential for your dog’s vision, growth, and muscle strength. Symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency include night blindness and poor hair and skin quality.
Carrots offer many of the same benefits as apples and sweet potatos. They are high in fibre, contain vitamin A and are low in fat and contain beta-carotene.
Coconut oil is a current favourite for people interested in healthy eating, and the good news is you can give it to your dog too. It is a fat, so as with all these ingredients, moderation is the key.
Some benefits of coconut oil can include increased energy levels, improved skin and coat conditions and aid digestion.
As mentioned earlier, you should always check with your vet if your dog has a condition, allergy or is on medication. In particular, you should avoid giving coconut oil to dogs prone to pancreatitis because of the high fat content.
Oats are a great low-calorie carbohydrate, and particularly handy for dogs with wheat and grain intolerances. They contain an omega-6 fatty acid which is great for healthy skin. It is also high in soluble fibre which can help to regulate blood glucose levels.
Always use plain, rolled oats with no flavourings or other additives.
Similar to coconut oil, turmeric is currently being hailed as a ‘super-food’ for people. And it can provide the same benefits to dogs. Despite these benefits, please do not substitute turmeric for professional veterinary treatment and advice.
Some of the benefits of turmeric for dogs that have been recorded include:
• Anti-inflammatory – great for dogs with arthritis
• Reduced risk of blood-clots
• Aids digestion and can help combat irritable bowl disease
• Some initial evidence that it may help in fighting cancer
There are loads of claims about the health-giving properties of honey. These include antimicrobial and antifungal properties and its ability to soothe ulcers and sore throats. The evidence is largely anecdotal and not necessarily backed by scientific evidence, but I will let you do your own research on this and make up your own mind.
Suffice to say that honey is safe to feed to dogs as an occasional treat and may possibly offer some health benefits.
If your dog is diabetic or obese, you could choose to leave the honey out of this recipe.
Easter Treats for Dogs Recipe
½ apple – no core or pips, chopped
150g sweet potato (about half of the one pictured)
150g of rolled oats (plain – no added sugar, salt or flavours)
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar, salt or other additives)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon turmeric Optional
½ tablespoon honey (Optional – you can add more or less according to your personal taste)
Measuring cups, spoons or scales
Baking sheet with baking parchment
Knives for chopping
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C or 200 degrees C for non-fan ovens.
Microwave or boil the sweet potato until it is soft. This takes approx. 4-5 minutes in a microwave, but check it every couple of minutes. Remove the skin and chop it up.
Boil the carrots until they are easy to chop. They don’t need to be super-soft, just soft enough that you can push a knife into them without too much effort. This should take approximately 8-10 minutes.
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until they form a dough-like consistency. If it is a bit sticky, you can add a few more oats.
Dollop small balls of the dough onto the baking sheet – approximately 1 heaped teaspoon per ‘dollop’.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Check them regularly and take them out of the oven when they are browning round the edges. They should stay fairly soft in the middle. If you want a crunchier treat, try cooking for longer but on a lower heat.
Place on a cooling rack…
Once they are cooled, test them out on your dog!
If these biscuits are a gift, then you can package them up in a tin or Kilner jar. Then decorate it with ribbons etc to make a really personalised gift!
If that is all too much for you, you could try some of our pre-made delicious, healthy dog treats by Michel Roux.
Leo and Henry tried half a treat each. Here is how they reacted…