• A meatloaf your dog will do anything for
  • Fruit-filled cookies that make great canine treats
  • Yummy summer berry ice cream for cool pooches

Whether you're rewarding your dog for a job well done, or just want to share some snacking time on the sofa with your furry friend, making your own dog treats can be rewarding and cost-effective.

Just make sure that these treats only supplement your dog's diet, advises the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA).

'An occasional home-prepared meal can be enjoyed by dog and owner alike,' says the PFMA. 'If it is 'occasional' it won't interrupt the nutritional balance of the overall feeding regime – but please be careful to avoid foods that are toxic to pets.'

A well-balanced diet, without any potentially toxic foods, will help keep your pet healthy, saving you trips to the vet and the resulting pet insurance claims.

For a unique treat that your dog will enjoy, try one of Georgina Ingham's (@CulinaryTravels) recipes below.

Photo of a slice of meat with some basil on top

Mutt-lovers' meatloaf

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time.

Cook time: 1.5 hours.

Makes: 2 meatloaves.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg minced beef, chicken or lamb
  • 250g minced chicken or lambs liver
  • 250g grated carrot
  • 250g cooked sweet potato, peeled and mashed
  • 200g oatmeal
  • 3 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Divide the mixture into two loaf pans and place in the oven.
  4. Bake for 1.5 hours.
  5. Drain any excess grease from the loaf pans and then allow the loaves to cool in the tins.
  6. Once cool, tip the meatloaves out and cut into slices.
  7. Wrap the slices in cling film and freeze in labelled bags for up to six months.

'Carrot is an excellent source of fermentable fibre and can have a positive effect on the bacteria living inside a dog's gut,' explains David Nolan, co-founder of freshly cooked dog food delivery company Butternut Box (@ButternutBox). 'Served raw they can also be great as a teeth cleaning chew.

'The minerals found within sweet potato assist with cell functions as diverse as oxygen transportation and the building of proteins,' he adds. 'We have also found it very useful for settling upset stomachs!'

A bunch of freshly baked cookies

Mixed berry canine cookies

Prep time: 30 minutes.

Cook time: 20-25 minutes.

Makes: Approx. 40 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 500g gluten-free brown bread flour
  • 225ml water
  • 150g mixed berries (defrosted if frozen) such as raspberries, strawberries or blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 egg

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Place all the ingredients except the flour in a food processor and puree until smooth. 
  3. Add the flour and pulse briefly to combine and form a dough.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out to about ½cm thickness.
  5. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place about 1cm apart on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven, in batches if necessary, for 20-25 minutes until firm. Transfer the cookies to a rack and leave to cool completely.
  7. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to seven days.

'Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals. They help to fight free radical cells within a dog's body,' observes David.

Photo of some pink coloured ice cream scoops

Summer Berry Ice Cream

Prep time: 15 minutes, plus freezing time.

Makes: one 500ml tub – approx. 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 100g rolled oats
  • 250g Greek style yogurt
  • 250g cottage cheese
  • 200g raspberries or strawberries, mashed
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 banana, peeled and diced

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together until combined
  2. Pour into a freezer-safe tub and freeze overnight.
  3. Will keep for up to three months in the freezer.

'The friendly bacteria (probiotics) found within yoghurt help to keep bad bacteria away,' says David. 'It's also a source of calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin B12, zinc and iodine.

'Be sure to remove the core and seeds of the apple as these parts can be toxic to dogs over time,' he adds.

Before baking big batches of cookies, or whipping up a whole tub of berry ice cream, ensure that your dog is not allergic or intolerant to any of the ingredients. Symptoms can range from weight loss to dermatitis – in fact, up to 20% of skin disorders in dogs are caused by allergic responses to food.