As Valentine’s Day approaches, you’re probably thinking of romance, stars, perforated paper bunny cards, too-hot cinnamon hearts and the various secret admirers you are sure to have doting on you with a treat or two.
Or perhaps you are thinking, “Ugh, I’d rather cuddle with my puppy.” For the not-so-romantic folks out there, a dog won’t look hopefully, then desperately, and finally disdainfully into your eyes when the evening doesn’t end in a gondola ride, 5-star restaurant and a romantic marriage proposal. Won’t happen. Prolonged eye contact totally freaks dogs out.
You also don’t have to share your dessert with a dog (and probably shouldn’t). This is great because dessert is the best part about Valentine’s Day and all that stuff conveniently makes dogs sick. So you get your tempting chocolate cake all to yourself. Perfect!
But you still want to make a little something for fun that both of you can enjoy. What’s a good treat option?
Here are a few treat recipes that are safe for your furry valentine (and wouldn’t be bad for their human parents)!
- Plain organic Greek yogurt
- Natural peanut butter
- A paw print or bone-shaped tray (really any ice tray will do)
Spoon a small amount of peanut butter into the base of the ice tray. You can heat up the peanut butter first to make it easier (and not so messy) to spoon in. The more you add, the thicker the top layer on the treats will appear. You can play around with different amounts to get varying final results. Next up, dollop heaping spoonfuls of the yogurt to cover the peanut butter in each mold. Press yogurt down into the molds using the back of your spoon to make sure they’re packed. This will help seal the peanut butter and yogurt together in the final treat. You can even gently “drop” the tray a few times in order to encourage further settling. If you have excess yogurt in any of the molds, gently scoop away until level with mold and pop into the freezer for at least 4 hours. Once frozen, remove tray and pop out individual frozen treats — voila!
And for anyone wondering — while we made these for use as pet treats, they could easily make for a protein-packed people treat. Sweeten them up by tossing a few in a bowl with drizzled honey!
- 1 large sweet potato
- Pre heat oven to 300 degrees
- Cut sweet potato lengthwise, about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick.
- Bake on a cookie sheet for 25 minutes and flip over and bake for another 25 minutes longer. Some will shrivel up, but your dog will love them!
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
- 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup oats
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (for frosting)
Combine all of the ingredients except for the smooth peanut butter in a mixing bowl to form a workable dough. The end-consistency should be slightly sticky but not overly wet. You should be able to work the dough into a nice ball. Add more flour or water as needed to adjust consistency while mixing. Roll out the dough onto a clean and floured surface to desired thickness. The treats don’t expand much while baking, so they will remain pretty true to size. Use cookie cutters to cut out treat shapes from the dough — we have a favorite bone cutter we always use to make larger treats, then use a smaller shape, like a heart or circle to make a bunch of smaller ones for everyday spoiling. Arrange the cookies onto sheet pans, and bake for at least 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes for harder treats — just keep an eye that they don’t brown too much. Remove and allow to cool.
To make the frosting, heat up the 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter to get a runny and melt-y consistency that will be easier to work with. There a couple ways we can decorate with this peanut butter “frosting” — dipping and drizzling!
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup molasses
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix in the oil, molasses, and 1/2 cup water; let sit for 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick. Cut out the cookies with bone-shaped cookie cutters. Transfer to the prepared sheet. Bake about 20 minutes until firm.
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cups apple sauce
- 1 egg
- 4 tbspn honey
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbspn baking powder
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup chopped apples (about 1 apple)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl mix water, apple sauce, vanilla, egg, and honey together with a whisk.
- Combine whole wheat flour and baking powder and stir into wet ingredients.
- Fold in chopped apples.
- Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins.
- Bake for 35 minutes; let cool.
These are great for large dogs! For smaller ones, break these up to use over several days.
As with all treats, it’s best to let your pups enjoy while under your supervision. Different dogs react differently to ingredients, so keep a running list of your pup’s allergies, avoiding those ingredients when making homemade treats. Similarly, dogs tolerate hot and cold treat temperatures differently, you know your dog best!