Ultimate Guide to Baking Yummy Treats for Your Dog Sitting Customers
Dog sitting is a very rewarding job. But sometimes, your customers need a little help warming up to you. Not every dog is a social butterfly, and they may feel a little shy at first. Plus, if they don’t know you, they may feel a little stressed without their pawrents.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to gain your client’s love, trust, and affection. One of them is by offering yummy dog treats that you’ve baked yourself.
If you want to get your canine clients’ tails wagging, we’ve got everything you need to know about using treats to win them over.
Why You Should Bake Homemade Treats
Dogs, like humans, have favorite foods, preferences, allergies, and ingredients they’re sensitive to.
By baking treats yourself, you have full control over what goes into them and can ensure that each client will be happy and safe to eat the snacks you provide. Homemade treats also allow for a personal touch and show pet parents that you truly care for their animals.
Dog Baking Essentials
You don’t need many things to start baking your homemade dog treats.
The chances are you already have the essentials in your kitchen. Baking dog treats requires the same tools and utensils used in normal baking—metal trays and cookie cutters for biscuits, silicone molds for frozen treats, and, if you have one handy, a dehydrator for jerky.
If you aren’t a regular baker and don’t already have these things at hand, there are dog baking kits on the market to get you started. You can invest in dog-themed cookie cutters and molds, as well as dog-themed decorations and packaging to make the treats extra special.
Once you have baked the treats, storage is equally important. Many recipes produce large quantities of treats that can be stored for weeks to months. Invest in airtight containers that will preserve the crunchiness and taste of your treats.
Taking the Necessary Precautions
It's important to be cautious with what and how much dogs are eating. You should consult with each dog’s owner to find out their dietary requirements and preferences and check each recipe for possible allergens.
There are ingredients you wouldn’t normally think to reconsider, such as flour and wheat that are harmful to some dogs. You should familiarize yourself with ingredients that are known to be toxic to dogs, like chocolate, onions, and garlic. As a general rule, go for organic ingredients and avoid using artificial flavorings and sweeteners.
You should also adjust recipes so that each dog has suitable portion sizes. While dog treats can be great for supplementing their main meals and providing extra nutritional value, it can be detrimental to feed dogs too much. Some dogs are able to consume a lot of calories, as they have high metabolisms, while others gain weight quickly. Factors to consider include their age and size.
Make sure to supervise your dog sitting clients while they are consuming your homemade treats to see how they react. Also, watch out for potential choking hazards. If you have senior clients, consider baking them softer treats so they’re easier to chew.
Homemade Dog Treat Ideas
Now that you know how to get started and which precautions to take, you might be wondering which treats to prepare. There are many recipes available online, and the volume of options can be overwhelming. There are some creative and complex recipes out there, but baking dog treats doesn’t have to be difficult, nor do you need to run out and buy a million ingredients.
The following list has a diverse range of healthy dog treat options accessible to beginner bakers.
Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
Dog biscuits are a classic treat for canines. Coupled with peanut butter, a universal favorite amongst dogs, this crunchy treat will make your clients go crazy. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats, so this treat provides a lot of nutritional value.
While peanut butter is a great option, be cautious when making any peanut butter–based treats. Many sugar-free or low-sugar peanut butter brands contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Watch out for this ingredient, as it can be lethal, even in small amounts.
Dogs are naturally carnivorous, and meat-based treats will cater to their palettes and nutritional needs. You should opt for lean, healthy cuts of meat for these treats. Good options are chicken, beef, and fish. Processed meats should be avoided as they are unhealthy.
For an option high in protein, vitamins, and essential nutrients, bake liver-based treats for your clients. You’ll be surprised to find that dogs go crazy for these!
If you’re hoping to make a big batch of treats you can offer to all of your dog sitting clients, you should look into baking hypoallergenic treats, which are safe for most dogs. These are also useful to look out for if you’re catering to singular dogs, or dog owners, who have any specific allergies.
Protein allergies, which prevent dogs from eating chicken, soy, or dairy, are surprisingly common. In this case, you might want to opt for recipes that use novel proteins instead. You will also find that many recipes are peanut butter–based, which dogs and dog owners alike could be allergic to—in this case, recipes that recommend good substitutes are helpful.
Cakes for a Special Occasion
A homemade cake can be a great gift to a dog sitting customer on a special occasion—especially for a birthday, which many pet parents love to celebrate.
Baking a good dog cake might seem like a challenge, but there are plenty of easy recipes. You can even try out one of our three-ingredient dog cakes! These cakes can be simple, yet very delicious, and your dog customers are bound to feel spoiled on their special day.
You can make dog cakes with ingredients you have lying around, like dog biscuits—this can form the base of a yummy kefir cake, if you’re looking to bake a uniquely delicious treat with a recipe suitable for beginners.
Grow Your Four-Legged Fan Club
All in all, baking dog treats should be an enjoyable, stress-free activity. However, you should also know how to calculate profit margin to ensure that your dog sitting fees cover your ingredients and leave you with a little extra for your effort too.
These yummy treats can form part of your business plan, and they’re sure to make you a favorite not just with your 4-legged customers, but with their owners too!
Rocky Kanaka is an entrepreneur, pet rescue advocate and dog dad to a rescue boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a terrier mix named Zoey. He's also a pet chef and owner of The Dog Bakery, which specializes in dog birthday cakes
and fresh baked dog treats. His three dogs can't get enough of the dog cakes and treats!
Lorna Paxton Ladd is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast of The Dog Bakery. She loves spoiling her 3 rescue dogs with dog cakes
and jerky. A 15 year veteran in the pet industry, her aim is to educate pet parents on the best recipes, products, tips and tricks to optimize the human/canine bond. Her favorite product at The Dog Bakery are the customizable dog birthday cakes.