[UPDATED OCTOBER 2023]
Has your dog already given you their Christmas list? If you haven’t found it yet, they’ve probably hidden it in their dog bed and they’re just waiting for the right moment to give it to you. That’ll be when you’re both cuddling up to watch a film together, rather than when they’ve just trailed fresh mud across the carpet.
And what will be on that list? Maybe they’re after a new quacking duck toy so you’ll never lose them in the house again. Just follow the squeak. Or they might be hankering after a spangly flashing LED collar to light up their winter night-time walks. Or perhaps their heart’s desire is a lime-green alligator dog chew. It takes all sorts.
Everybody loves a biscuit
Whatever else is on their Christmas list, we can guarantee that a special biscuit will get your dog’s tail wagging. And after the year we’ve had, we all deserve a treat. That’s especially true for our pooches, who’ve been there at our side through all the ups and down, always ready to lift our spirits.
We’ve found the perfect dog-friendly biscuit recipe, shared by the RSPCA. Naturally, we also decided to make a batch ourselves!
@yumove Make our dog friendly peanut butter & banana treats with us for Christmas🎄😊 #christmas #baking #dogtreats #dogbaking #cockerspaniel ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat
Ingredients for peanut and banana cookies
- 1 cup of wholewheat flour
- Half a cup of unsalted natural Xylitol-free peanut butter*
- Quarter of a cup of mashed banana
- Quarter of a cup of vegetable stock
*The peanut butter must be free of Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s highly toxic to dogs. So do check the label.
- First, preheat the oven to 180 °C. Your dog can help at this stage by choosing a nice warm spot near the oven to lie down. They might be a tiny bit in your way, but you wouldn’t want them to get chilly, would you?
- Pour the wholewheat flour into a bowl.
- Add in the Xylitol-free peanut butter.
- Add in the quarter cup of mashed banana. If the lead-up to Christmas is proving stressful, eat any leftover banana yourself. Like turkey, bananas contain tryptophan, which can help reduce anxiety.
- Add the quarter cup of vegetable stock to the bowl.
- Give it all a good old mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough.
- Sprinkle some flour on your work surface.
- Roll the mixture out with a rolling pin until it’s a quarter of an inch thick. You could ask your dog to lend a paw at this point, but they may not be entirely helpful, due to their lack of opposable thumbs. However, if you’re looking for encouragement, you can take any interested sniffs from your four-pawed friend as a sign that you’re on the right track.
- Cut out the shapes with a cookie cutter. Try biscuit cutters in the shape of bones, paw prints, snowflakes or Christmas trees.
- Place your bones / paw prints / snowflakes / Christmas trees on an ungreased baking tray.
- Bake for 18 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to cool, then call on your trusty canine tester to give their verdict. Paws up? They’d be barking mad not to love these biscuits.
Festive foods that are dangerous for dogs
Everything in this recipe is safe for dogs to eat, but at this time of year, it’s good to remind ourselves of the festive foods that are dangerous for dogs. They include:
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and raisins
Raisins, of course, are vital ingredients in Christmas cakes, mincemeat and Christmas pudding, so make sure you keep those festive delights out of reach of curious paws.
The dog who ate a whole Christmas cake
John Davies is one of the co-founders of Lintbells, the company that created YuMOVE. He has first-hand experience of the dangers of letting a dog get too close to Christmas goodies.
Several years ago, Tasha, the family’s chocolate Lab, ate an entire Christmas cake. Luckily, she was fine after a swift visit to the vet, but that incident highlights the importance of keeping your Christmas cake hidden away when you’ve got a hungry dog in the house.
Don’t let your dog near the Quality Street
Chocolate’s another ‘no no’ for dogs. This is because it contains theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao bean. It can make your dog sick, and can even be fatal.
So make sure those tins and boxes of chocolates are kept well away from your pooch over Christmas. (Just to be on the safe side, you might want to make sure you quickly eat all the green and purple ones yourself.)
More top tips for a safe Christmas
Have a look at our health guide on how to have a great festive season with your dog.
Digestive Care PLUS for Cats & Dogs
- Fast-acting, gentle and effective digestive support for cats and dogs
- Suitable for cats and dogs of any size or breed, from age 3 months and over
- It helps firm stools, and encourages healthy digestion