Small unique dog gift idea
Homemade dog treats are a thoughtful and unique dog gift idea. There are loads of options to make a tasty and not-too-unhealthy snack for your dogs.
But what could be more unique than a jar of delicious biscuits that can actually be shared by the dog and his person?
I will share a recipe for just such a biscuit!
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!
Dog and Treats
There are a few things to be aware of when it comes to dog treats.
In the UK (and it probably isn’t specific to the UK), 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, Banana and Oat Biscuits
This delicious unique dog gift idea can be made with or without the honey or the turmeric if necessary. I find that one tablespoon of honey is perfect for my taste but if you have a slightly sweeter tooth you may wish to add more. Or you could stick with 1 tablespoon for the recipe and spread them with honey before you serve them to people!
A quick summary of the benefits of each of the ingredients and any ‘watch-outs’ for you to be aware of:
Bananas are safe for dogs to eat but they do contain natural sugar, so should only be given in moderation. Bananas contain potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fibre and copper. They are low in sodium and cholesterol.
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.
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. Oats 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.
Recipe for a unique dog gift idea
I’m married to an American and we have ‘cup’ measures which I used to make these treats. I have provided rough ‘translations’ into British measures!
3 ripe bananas
3 cups (approx. 300g) of rolled oats (plain – no added sugar, salt or flavours)
¼ cup (approx. 3 1/3 tablespoons) crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar, salt or other additives)
¼ cup (approx. 3 1/3 tablespoons) coconut oil (melted)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon honey (you can add more or less according to your personal taste)
Cookie cutters (I have used Christmas-themed shapes, but you can adapt depending on the occasion)
Measuring cups or scales
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C or 190 degrees C for non-fan ovens.
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.
Form the ‘dough’ into a ball on a clean surface. You could dust with flour if you want to and if wheat isn’t an issue, but I chose not to and had no problems with it sticking.
Roll out to around ¼ – 1/3 inch thick
Using cookie cutters, cut out individual biscuits until you have used up all the dough
Bake on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment for approximately 12 – 16 minutes. Check them regularly and take them out of the oven when they are browning round the edges
Place on a cooling rack…
Make a cup of tea, invite the dog onto the sofa and enjoy a biscuit each!
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.
Henry and Leo give these treats the thumbs up! And so did my husband (although he did cover his with honey!)