Baking for people is great fun and we totally understand why you wouldn’t want your dog to feel left out. But making cake that’s safe for your dog? Not so straight-forward. Some of the common ingredients we use are potentially dangerous for our pooches so you need to be really careful about what you use and how you use it.
So how can you make a safe cake for your dog? We’ve put together our top tips to make sure you can treat your dog to a cake and still keep them healthy and happy!
Does my dog need a cake?
The short answer is no, your dog doesn’t need cake. Something that’s a calorie rich treat for us will have an even greater impact on your dog’s waistline. Our 2019 PAW report showed UK vets estimated that 46% of dogs seen in practice each week are overweight or obese and 15% of owners said they fed scraps as one of their dog’s main type of food - so obesity and feeding scraps/ human food can be real issues for our pets.
Lots of owners like to give their dog something a bit special as an occasional treat and although your dog might not understand what a cake is, most of them enjoy a treat just as much as we do. Making doggy cake is popular as people can use ingredients they have round the house instead of needing to buy lots of new ingredients just for your dog. But giving your dog too many treats or cake can be adding a lot of extra calories that they don’t need especially if they struggle with their weight already, and in a lot of cases some extra fuss and attention would make them a lot happier than a treat!
The most important thing to remember is to give your dog treats that are safe and healthy for them and to keep an eye on their weight and body condition score (and that applies whether your dog gets cake or not!).
How much cake can my dog have?
A dog portion of cake is much smaller than a human portion. Most people will want to give cake as a one off special treat, so we’ve worked out some easy suggested portion sizes for your dog.
A treat portion should be around 30kcal for a dog who weighs less than 10kg, and around 60kcal for a dog who weighs more than 10kg. We recommend this is the maximum amount that should be given daily, though of course none of us should be eating cake every day! To compare that to human cupcakes (which are typically around 200 calories), your dog’s portion of cake could need to be six times smaller than yours!
When you’re giving your dog snacks or treats, remember to reduce the amount of food they get that day in their meals to make up for the extra calories, in the same way that we might have a smaller breakfast if we know we’re having a big meal at lunchtime. If you’re giving your dog the above amount of calories in a snack, for an average, healthy dog we’d recommend reducing their daily amount of food by about 10%.
Another thing to remember when thinking about making a cake for your dog is that they shouldn’t eat a whole cake or batch in one go (much as they might want to!). Why not think about making small cupcakes that you can freeze in portion sizes and use them spread out at different times over a couple of months as a special treat?
Is it safe to give my dog a human cake?
Not all human cake is safe for your dog. Aside from the fact that many human cakes are very high in calories, they may also contain ingredients that could be dangerous for your dog. Some human food can be toxic to them, for example chocolate, sultanas, raisins, macadamia nuts, salt and xylitol (an artificial sweetener commonly used in things like peanut butter).
Other ingredients we use all the time can also give your dog a tummy upset, especially if your dog has too much of them at one time. Any sudden change in food can give your dog diarrhoea, so giving your dog a human cake could do more harm than good (especially if it contains a lot of milk products or is high in fat). So do your research carefully and try to stick to only giving your dog food that you’re sure is dog safe.
What ingredients are safe to use in dog cake?
There are a couple of great ways to make sure your dog’s cake only uses safe ingredients. One sure-fire way to make sure their cake is completely safe make them with dog food as the only ingredient. This is also a really easy way to give your dog cake without needing to get new ingredients or bake! Why not try adding water to some of their food (wet or dry) and then freezing it in a silicone cupcake case?
If you’d like to bake something using a recipe, try to stick to ingredients that are known to be safe for dogs. Ingredients like eggs, bananas and carrots are commonly used in baking and are also safe for your pooch. You could also think about using other healthy fresh fruits such as apples, mango and blueberries, or even try vegetables such as broccoli to add a bit of extra flavour. We’ve put a simple recipe together below to help get you started!
How to make doggy safe honey and banana cakes
Our recipe for honey and banana cakes is safe for your dog (and for people for that matter!) and can be frozen for your pooch to enjoy as healthy sized portions over several months.
- 100g baking spread or coconut oil (if using coconut oil, you’ll need to melt this first)
- 40g honey
- 1-2 bananas, peeled and mashed
- 2 egg
- 150g plain flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
Recipe makes 30 cakes for dog less that 10kg or 15 cakes for a dog more than 10kg.
Takes 25 minutes to prepare and 15-20 minutes to cook.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan oven/gas mark 4.
- Mix coconut oil or baking spread with honey. Add eggs and mix until pale.*
- Add mashed banana and mix again.
- Sift in flour (and add cinnamon if you’re using). Fold through the wet ingredients.
- Divide into mini cake cases/ silicone baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until springy and golden.
- Allow to cool fully before removing from tray. These cakes will keep for up to three days in an airtight container or can be frozen for up to three months.
*If you’re looking for a fluffier bake and have a little more time than we did, you can follow this method instead:
- Separate eggs into whites and yolks.
- Whisk egg whites with half of the honey until in stiff peaks.
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining honey and baking spread or coconut oil until smooth, then add mashed bananas, egg yolks and sift in the flour, mixing well.
- Gently fold in the egg white mix.
- Divide into cake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.