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Bake Off is back but is your dog the next Paul Hollywoof?

The beloved Bake Off tent has returned to our screens, filling homes with the familiar titter of its title music every Tuesday. And as the season unfolds many will be inspired to put their baking skills to the test for friends and family.

But why should our four-legged friends be left out of the Bake Off fun?

As baking fever sweeps the nation once again this year, pet insurer Napo is encouraging owners to lovingly prepare their pets some home baked treats and see what the Paul Hollywoofs and Pru Leashes of the pet world think.

Napo’s expert vet, Dr Louisa Lane, shares a recipe for healthy dog treats that will show your dog you’re a Star Baker.

  • Smash up two handfuls of blackberries and mix it with:
  • ½ a teaspoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (xylitol free and ideally palm oil free)
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • Mix your ingredients together into a dough and separate it into a dozen little balls.
  • Pop the dough balls on a lined baking tray. Flatten them a little with a fork or spoon to make the biscuit shape.
  • Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350F.
  • Remove the biscuits from the oven and pop them into the fridge to cool down (or leave them on the side to cool if you prefer). Remember to store your biscuits in the fridge, and they should keep for a few days.

Hopefully this recipe has sparked some inspiration and don’t forget if you’re baking for yourself and your human friends, be careful with common baking ingredients such as chocolate, raisons and bread dough, which are harmful to pets, potentially leaving them with a soggy bottom – or worse.

Want to know more? Read on for Dr Louisa Lane’s guide on foods to watch out for when cooking with your furry assistant in tow.

Bread dough

Bread dough needs to be left in a warm place to rise before it can be baked. Some bakers choose to leave their dough by a heater or radiator but with pets around this probably isn’t the best idea.

If your pet manages to snaffle a bite of bread dough containing active yeast, its stomach will serve as the perfect place for the dough to ferment and rise, resulting in an uncomfortable distended stomach and some flatulence. But the real concern comes from the ethanol that is released when the yeast ferments, which can lead to ethanol toxicosis – toxic levels of ethanol in the bloodstream. As a result, raw dough ingestion can cause alcohol toxicosis and you should call your vet immediately if your pet demonstrates any of the following symptoms after eating raw bread dough:

  • Weakness
  • Unsteady, drunken gait
  • Hypothermia
  • Seizures
  • Coma

For a great rise without dog drama or cat catastrophe, leave your dough to rise in the oven on a very low heat.


If you’re decorating your cake to be a showstopper, be sure to keep icing and modelling fondant out of your pet’s reach.

Though a small amount of icing is unlikely to do your pet any serious harm, a large chunk of fondant icing can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, retching and serious stomach upset.

Some modelling fondant can also set to become very hard and could be a dangerous choking hazard for your pet.

Jumping on the bandwagon for fashionably ‘naked’ cakes with minimalist decoration is a great way to create gorgeous bakes which don’t need the ‘icing on the cake’.


If you’re raising egg whites over your head while testing your meringue mix make sure to keep raw egg mixtures out of reach of your pets.

As is the case with humans, it can be extremely dangerous for pets to eat raw eggs due to a potential risk of contracting salmonella.

Harmful bacteria in contaminated eggs spreads salmonella, which can result in nasty gastrointestinal diseases in your pet, ranging from mild nausea and abdominal discomfort to profuse vomiting and bloody diarrhoea and for pets with a compromised immune system, these bacteria cause an even bigger risk.

With the rise in veganism, eggless cakes are becoming increasingly popular so why not drop the eggs all together, otherwise keep the mix out of paws’ reach!


It’s best to keep a close eye on any baked goods containing raisins, grapes, sultanas, or currants. From hot cross buns to Christmas cake – these bakes are bad news for pets and unfortunately any ingestion warrants a veterinary visit.

There is a genuine and serious risk of developing an acute kidney injury (AKI) after ingesting even a small number of grapes/raisins/currents, and in some cases ingestion can be fatal. Unfortunately, there isn’t an ‘amount’ that can be seemed safe to eat, because even a small portion, especially to a smaller dog, can be fatal so be sure to keep dried fruit goodies tucked away in a well-sealed container and look out for runaway raisons during the baking process too.


As temperatures rise in the tent, Chocolate Week usually proves challenging for the Bake-Off contestants, but safe baking with pets doesn’t have to be a difficulty.

Chocolate and chocolatey treats are best kept in the fridge or cupboard, away from curious pets. For an extra deterrent Tupperware or tins can add an extra layer of safety for high security treats.

Chocolate is toxic to a lot of animals because it contains theobromine and caffeine. Toxicity is dependent on the type of chocolate, the amount that was ingested and the size of dog who snacked on it! The type of chocolate is important because certain types contain more theobromine than others. White or milk chocolate contains the lowest amount of caffeine and theobromine, whist dark and cooking chocolate contains the highest levels.

Signs of chocolate toxicity includes vomiting and diarrhoea, cause by the high sugar content, but the most serious impact is on the central nervous system and heart, where pets can seizure or even go into heart failure.

If your dog eats chocolate, you must call your vet as soon as possible – never make your dog vomit to undo the effects of chocolate poisoning, simply keeping these iffy ingredients out of sight and reach of your pets is the best way to avoid any issues whilst you bring the spirit of the Bake Off tent to your home.

Napo knows pets eating things they shouldn’t is one of the most common claims on pet insurance and can cost between £1,200-£2,000 to treat. Luckily, insurance is there to help pay for unexpected vet bills and expert vets can offer help and guidance if your pet gets into any kind of sticky situation.

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