Whatever the occasion – whether it’s Rover’s first birthday or Garfield has gone a whole day without knocking a glass off the table – our pets always deserve to be pampered. Sometimes dog treats from the shop just don’t cut it when you want to do something special for your pet and treat them to a little bit of luxury. That’s where our top tips for pampering your pet come in.
1. Whip up your own homemade treats
Treats are often used as a training tool for dogs, and although you’re unlikely to catch cats playing dead or rolling over for a snack, they’re partial to a treat too. Whether your pets are into tricks or not, they’re sure to feel spoilt rotten if you make your very own homemade treats for them.
The number one ingredient to avoid
First up, the one ingredient you should never include in your dog treats is chocolate. As most of us know, dogs are extremely allergic to chocolate, so anything that includes cocoa is an absolute no-no. Chocolate is the most commonly reported form of dog poisoning, so you should be extremely careful and tuck away any human treats that contain chocolate in high cupboards where your dog can’t get to them.
Recipe for homemade dog treats
Making dog treats is easier than you might think. You can whip up luxury treats with minimal effort with our recipe for no-bake dog treats. All you need is 125g plain yoghurt, 250g natural peanut butter and 270g rolled oats.
- Whisk the yoghurt and peanut butter together until it forms a paste.
- Add the oats slowly, making sure that they’re fully coated and no dry spots form. You’ll be left with a heavy mixture.
- Scoop out bite-sized pieces with a spoon and roll into balls – you should be able to make around 30.
- Put the balls on a flat tray lined with baking paper.
- Pop them in the fridge for an hour to chill and set - then it’s time for your pup to tuck in! These treats will last between 7 and 10 days when stored in the fridge.
Recipe for homemade cat treats
Whether you’re looking for kitten treats or cat snacks, making your own homemade treats is a great way to cut down on costs and treat your cat to something extra special. For this recipe, you’ll need 1 drained can of tuna in olive oil, 140g oat flour, 1 egg and a tablespoon of catnip if you fancy adding it in.
- Preheat your oven to 170˚C.
- Mix together the tuna, oat flour, egg and catnip (if using) until combined. The mixture should hold together, but if it seems too sticky or dry, add a splash of olive oil.
- Roll the dough into small balls, space them out on a lined biscuit tray, and flatten them with the back of a spoon. You should get between 30 and 40 treats from the mixture.
- Pop the tasty treats into the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until they’re dry and golden on top.
- Cool completely and store the treats in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep for 7 – 10 days, but your cats are sure to try and scoff them all well before then.
Healthy treat options
Just like their human friends, pets need to eat a balanced diet. So, while an indulgent treat is great every now and again, having some healthy treat options in your repertoire is sensible. For dogs, vegetable peelings make a cheap, natural and healthy treat that’s packed with vitamins. You can also give jacket potato skins to your dog as long as they’ve been cooked thoroughly and cooled. Plus, you get green points for reducing your food waste!
Healthy cat treats are a bit more difficult to come by because cats tend to be a little fussier than dogs. The best natural treats you can give your kitty include tinned fish, such as salmon or tuna, which has loads of nutrients for your cat, or small amounts of lean deli meat. You’ll get a feel for the types of treats that your cat loves pretty quickly, so stick to similar flavours and they’re sure to be happy.
2. Mix up some cake mixture
You’ve sent out your birthday invitations, you’ve got the party supplies, and you’re all but ready to throw a birthday party for your pet. The last thing on the to-do list is making a celebratory cake for your cat or dog. They’ll know they’re in for a delicious surprise when the cooking smells are wafting around and they start to be the envy of all the other animals in the neighbourhood.
3. Raise a glass of pet-friendly booze
When you’re celebrating a big event, there’s no better way to treat yourself than with a glass of something fizzy. Alcohol isn’t safe for dogs or cats, no matter how small the amount, so your pet can’t usually join you in a celebratory tipple. However, with a range of pet-friendly (and alcohol-free) booze options recently becoming available, your best friend can now indulge in a Friday night glass of Pawsecco, catnip wine or dog beer with you.
Kick back with a beer
Believe it or not, dog beer is best served at room temperature and poured over dry dog food. Pouring flat chicken or beef flavoured beer over your dinner might not sound particularly appetising to us humans, but it’s a delicious treat for dogs. Some of the best-known brands include Bowser, Snuffle and Woof Dog Beer, all of whom make their beer from natural, human-grade ingredients, so you know that your dog is getting a healthy treat.
Crack open a bottle of wine (or Pawsecco!)
Wine for cats and dogs is non-alcoholic as well as being non-carbonated and grape-free. This is the case because aside from alcohol being dangerous for our pets, carbonated drinks can cause animals to experience indigestion and diarrhoea. On top of that, grapes are also toxic for dogs and can cause them to have kidney failure.
So, you can crack open a bottle of still white or rosé Pawsecco for your pets and know that they’ll slurp it down without experiencing any of the problems us humans endure after a bottle of Prosecco. Pawsecco is made with natural herbs including Elderflower, Linden Blossom and Ginseng, so it smells a lot better than dog beer. You can serve it over your pet’s food or in their water bowl – whatever they prefer.
Dugs n pubs
If you just fancy a pint at the pub with man’s best friend, you can find your nearest dog-friendly pubs using the Dugs n Pubs online community and app. Dugs n Pubs was set up in Edinburgh, but it covers pubs across the whole of the UK, so you can find your nearest and friendliest pubs to sink a few beers with your pup. If you happen to live in or around Edinburgh, you can visit The Earl of Marchmont, which won Scotland’s dog-friendly pub of the year in 2016. The owners have described their pub as a “wee village pub in a city”, and they even have a special menu just for dogs which offers treats, dog beer and more.
4. Spoil them with a gift
You know you’re being truly pampered when you receive a thoughtful gift, so buying your pet a gift is the perfect way to show them you care. From putting together a dog hamper to finding an unusual gift for your cat, there are plenty of options to choose from.
We all look after our pets with the basics – plenty of food, water and a generous pet insurance cover. But it’s also important to take time out to really pamper our pets from time to time. After all, they’re the ones who are always there to put a smile on our faces, no matter how long a day we’ve had.
This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.