Published March 2023
Whether it’s your dog’s first birthday or your cat has gone a whole day without knocking a glass off the table – knowing how to pamper your pet is a great way to show them how much you care.
Sometimes shop-bought dog treats 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
- 270g rolled oats
Then follow these steps:
- 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
If you’re wondering how to pamper your cat, 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
• A tablespoon of catnip if you’re feeling fancy
Then follow these instructions:
- 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
If you’re planning to throw a birthday party for your pet, you may want to make 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 pets in the neighbourhood.
Recipe: Personal cat cake
A meaty cake filled with chicken (or turkey!) sounds just as delicious to a cat as a chocolaty red velvet cake sounds to us humans. So go on and treat your kitty to an extra-special birthday cake.
This recipe will make a small cake that’s about 10-15cm in diameter, so make sure you have a small silicone pan suitable for cooking the cake in. Depending on your cat’s appetite, you can give them a whole cake or just half.
- 2 eggs
- 60ml olive oil
- 60g boiled and finely-chopped chicken or turkey mince
- ½ grated carrot
- 1 cup of wholemeal flour
- 1tsp baking soda
- Cat treats for decoration
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Beat together the eggs and oil in a bowl.
- Add the chicken or turkey and carrot to the mixture and keep mixing until everything is fully combined.
- Sift the flour and baking soda together into a separate bowl. Then slowly add the sifted mixture to the batter a spoonful at a time and fold it in.
- Pour the batter into a silicone mould that has been greased with oil.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes. You’ll know the cake is ready when it’s holding together and a slightly darker colour on top.
- Once out of the oven, let the cake cool completely.
- Top off the cake with dry cat treats as decoration and let your kitty get stuck in!
Recipe: Peanut butter & carrot pupcakes
Peanut butter and carrot pupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate your pooch’s birthday, or just treat them to a tasty snack.
This recipe makes six delicious pupcakes with icing. For small dogs, one cake is a good serving size, but larger dogs can have two to three cakes depending on their size and appetite. And if your dog can’t eat peanuts, replace the peanut butter with another nut butter.
For the cake:
- 1 carrot
- 110g whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp apple sauce
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
For the icing and decoration:
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 60g cream cheese or ½ a medium banana
- Handful of grated carrot
- 6 small dog treats
- Preheat your oven 170C.
- Grate the carrot and keep a couple of tablespoons aside for decoration.
- Mix together the flour and baking powder.
- Add the peanut butter, apple sauce, vanilla, honey egg and water. Mix evenly.
- Fold in the grated carrot – at this point the texture should be slightly liquid but still fairly thick.
- Fill 5-6 silicone cupcake liners about two thirds of the way with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the middle clean. Once baked, start on your icing while the cakes cool.
- Depending on your dog’s preference, beat peanut butter with cream cheese or mashed banana into icing. Ice your pupcakes once they have cooled.
- Add a final flourish by topping the cake with a sprinkle of grated carrot and a dog treat – and voila!
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 join you in a celebratory tipple. However, with a range of pet-friendly 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.
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.
Gifts for pets
Splash out on a treat dispenser to give your pet tasty rewards when you’re not home.
If your pampered pooch hates getting wet, then this is the ideal solution: an upside-down umbrella designed to keep your dog dry.
A light-up collar is ideal for pets that love to sneak around at night-time.
If your pet is on the small side, they’ll love a cosy den of their own. Fill it with toys and a blanket to make it extra homely.
More than one pet? Get them a personalised bowl, each with their name on.
Ok, this one is more a gift for you than them. A cushion with your fluffy friend’s face on it will make for a unique touch to your home.
Put together a gift hamper with your pet’s favourite treats, some new toys and a blanket that smells like you.
Splash out on a new pet grooming kit. Get some new brushes for your cat or a fresh doggy shampoo and treat your pet to their very own spa day.
Whip up some treats for your favourite furry friend – make them with love and they’ll be extra tasty.
We all look after our pets with the basics – plenty of food and water. But it’s also important to take a moment 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 what kind of day we’ve had. Whilst pampering your pets, you can also protect yourself from unexpected vet bills, should your pet come to any harm, with Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies today.