Nothing says "I love you" to your dog more than a special treat you make yourself. Dogs have birthdays and holidays to celebrate just like people do, and baking a few canine friendly cakes or cookies to decorate with dog-friendly icing is a creative way to bring your pooch in on celebrations.
Icing is only for special occasions. Sugary or fatty spreads can give your dog a tummy ache and affect his pancreas. Keep the ingredients low fat, low sugar and low salt.
There are several items from the dairy section you can use as a base for DIY dog treat icing. Yogurt and cream cheese combined makes a base for colorful and tasty frosting. Bring 8 ounces of cream cheese to room temperature and beat with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and 2 tablespoons of honey until very smooth. Slowly add in white flour, a teaspoon at a time, until the icing is the consistency of frosting. Add one drop of food coloring, if desired. If you are spreading the frosting, you will need less flour. If you are using it as piping or to write, you will need a little more flour.
If you are baking your own biscuits, try beating some egg yolks together and painting the biscuits with the yolks during the last five minutes of baking. This will give the biscuits a nice shiny glazed look.
Dogs can't have chocolate, but you can pretend to give it to your pup with carob, a substance that looks, acts and tastes a lot like chocolate, but without the toxicity. Carob chips and carob powder are available at many health food stores and on the Internet. The chips are easy to melt in a double burner or in the microwave following the package directions. They come in a variety of colors so you don't have to add food coloring. Once melted, the product is ready to use. You can either dip biscuits in the melted chips or use a small paintbrush to apply the icing to cakes and cookies.
Dogs love peanut butter, so use it to make their treats special. Start with low-fat, low-salt peanut butter. Add an extra-ripe banana to about a cup of smooth or chunky peanut butter. Blend well until it's spreadable. Since you can't add food coloring to peanut butter with good results, embellish the icing with carob sprinkles or oatmeal.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.