If the truth be told, we're not exactly barkers for baking. In the main our attempts result in a sore tummy from too much ‘taste testing’, a finished product that is more hit than miss and a kitchen that looks like the Tasmanian Devil has just torn through it. However, we are barkers for spoiling Basil Barkarama so it was time to dust off the pinny and give this baking malarkey another shot.
Attempting to make a healthy (and safe) dog cake from scratch felt like a lofty ambition so first attempt at a doggy bake-off we opted for the aptly named 'Bake a Cake for your Dog' kit from the Little Barker Bakery. In exchange for our online order, we were sent a neat little package containing instructions, a special bakers one-use tray, dry mix ingredients including wheat and gluten free flour, finest Madagascan vanilla and gluten free raising agents for the cake base, plus organic carob and coconut mix to make the topping. The package also contained three little biscuit stars to decorate the cake so all we needed to add was an egg, oil, a little bit of butter and a hot oven and et voila our dog-cake creation was made!
Our verdict: cute packaging, idiot-proof instructions, simple yet effective recipe (Basil went nuts for it) and a great price point in comparison to buying all the ingredients separately for the sporadic baker like us. Lesson learnt – food styling and its photography is an art form we are yet to master so apologies for the somewhat dodgy pics. Thumbs up!
Basil's verdict: scored highly in my ‘om nom nom’ ratings and why doesn’t she give me a slice with every meal? When do I get another one? Paws up!
The Little Barker Bakery offers a range of natural biscuit and cake dog treats made from high grade, human foods using organic and wholefood ingredients wherever possible - all of which receive a strict quality control test from their chief taster Darcey the Labradoodle. To view their range or to purchase the ‘Bake a Cake for your Dog’ kit, visit Thelittlebarker.co.uk. Get social with them too @TheLittleBarker on Twitter (v. lovely Tweeters) and Little Barker Bakery on Facebook.
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Our furry friend and freaky featurette star Anubis the Barkless Dog is guest posting for Barkarama (with the help of her dog-mum) to give her ‘Woof Guide’ to Pedigree Tea at The Princess Of Wales in North London’s fashionable Primrose Hill.
If you live in London and like to take your dog with you everywhere, chances are you have at some point or other been disappointed by the lack of genuinely dog-friendly pubs and restaurants in town. The Princess of Wales in Primrose Hill goes a long way to make up for it. If, like my Basenji Anubis, your dog likes the finer things in life, you are both in for a real treat – literally.
Simply put, the Princess’s ‘Pedigree Tea’ menu is high tea for dogs and humans. Anubis and I, along with Anubis’s BFF Dizzy (above) and her human, were shown to a quiet table a little bit to the side of the main room. The dogs sat on the chairs and benches with us (though we made sure to cover the seats with coats and blankets); I don’t know if this is common practice but the staff certainly didn’t flinch. While the humans were served the traditional assortment of scones, sandwiches and brownies, Dizzy and Anubis were each offered, and on the table too, - a ‘dog-a-ccino’ made from easy-to-digest, approved dog-friendly milk and a plate with a large bone-shaped cookie and a pretty pupcake.
Anubis wolfed it all down in what seemed to be the best 30 seconds of her life; next time I’ll know to feed her bit by bit rather than let her grab the food herself! Once done, she sat contented, eyes half-closed, ready for a digestive nap, while I finished my tea. The Princess of Wales is just a short stroll from the dog-friendly greens of Primrose Hill, and from the small but well-stocked Primrose Hill Pets store. The perfect area for a lovely and oh-so-civilised doggie afternoon – you might even spot a few local celebrities out with their pooches on your travels too.
Pedigree Tea at the Princess of Wales is served Monday to Saturday from 3.30pm to 5.30pm priced at £38 for two people including a dog. There’s a £5 supplement to upgrade to receive a glass of Champagne and strawberries. Pre-booking is essential on 020 7722 0354 and Pedigree Tea must be mentioned at the time of your reservation. The Princess of Wales is located at 22 Chalcot Road, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8LL. To see more of Anubis the Basenji, visit her Facebook page at Facebook.com/AnubisTheBarklessDog
We first saw this plate of 'green' at Discover Dogs last year and thought ‘what a great idea!’ The Green Interactive Feeder from Company Of Animals is a clever way to mentally stimulate your dog therefore, helping to reduce any unruly behaviour born out of boredom such as excessive barking or typical doggy destruction – hands up who’s lost a pair of shoes to their pooch?
Designed to look like a patch of grass, simply scatter your dog’s food allowance across the green and watch him work for his biscuits, as he has to push the food out between the blades of grass with their snout. As well as providing essential mental stimulation, the green also prolongs eating time to help reduce the risk of vomiting, gagging, gas, belching and potentially fatal 'bloat' disease so it's great for dogs who wolf down their dinner at record speed.
Unfortunately this isn't a product we can purchase for Basil, as his squishy face would prevent him from being able to get to the goods, which is a shame given his 'gas' issues. However, we didn’t walk away from their stand empty handed. We purchased a Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Brick game, which we will be unleashing on Basil this weekend.
A one size fits all design, the Green Interactive Feeder is made of hard plastic (without phthalates), is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and is dishwasher safe. Get yours for £25 from Companyofanimals.co.uk
Take one stocking – and not just any old stocking, a beautiful luxury one by Mutts & Hounds bearing a beautiful Doxie print. Then fill generously with goodies to delight your four-legged bestie including a dogkerchief (Basil can’t get enough of them), a snowball (not the alcoholic type of course), snout balm to soothe a crusty winter nose, snowflake collar for their Christmas Day walk and gold star treats for those good girl/good boy moments.
Mutts & Hounds Dachshund Stocking, £30, PetsPyjamas.com
Liquorice Allsorts Dog Bandana, £4 upwards, PuddyPooch.co.uk
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snowball, £14.95, HairOfTheDogLondon.com
Snout Balm, £6.99, DogsTrustproducts.com
Snowflake dog collar, £10.95 upwards, DitsyPet.co.uk
Gold Star Dog Treats, £13.50, MungoandMaud.com
We’re already familiar with the surprise gift box subscription concept – a work pal receives an exquisitely packaged Glossy Box at her desk each month jam-packed with beauty and make-up must-haves much to my envy. Since bringing home Basil we’ve received not one but two packages of a similar nature but instead of the latest lipstick or anti-wrinkle cream, both boxes feature treats, toys and training aids for the dog and a few handy products for owners. Genius! And we think that bagging your little Barker one of his own is just the ticket for a pawfect Christmas gift!
First to arrive – Pooch Pack who launched just a month ago. Priced at £16.95 for a six-month subscription or £19.99 as a one-off, our pack contained handmade bone-shaped biscuits from Doggie Patisserie, which Basil seems to absolutely love and they smell delish, Papaya fruit and Sweet Potato chews from Soopa Pets, a Bionic Biotic canine health supplement from Pooch and Mutt, a small bottle of Scruffy Chops Rhubarking Mad Shampoo packed with natural minerals of course, a Doggee Poo Bag holder and Basil’s favourite – the Dublin Dog Roxxter, a big orange rubber Kong-type toy, which smells of vanilla. The box contents were a little more treat/food-related than we’d perhaps expected but it’s their first one so we imagine that this will change over time and it’s also down to what motivates your mutt. The box contents can also be adapted to suit your dog’s individual size, and should you favour one of the products within the pack, there’s a product card providing contact details for the supplier so you can purchase direct yourself.
Next up – Fings For Fido (such a fun name). We were lucky enough to receive one of their Big Boy boxes (see Basil posing above with all his new ‘fings’), which featured none less than eight items including a Puppy Kong Goodie Bone, a hilarious squeaky dog lips toy, a clicker training aid (he needs it) and a treat bag to name but a few. Not just any old tatt makes a Fings For Fido box – they are committed to providing the best products from the most reputable companies – all which are sourced because for their optimum benefit to the hygiene, health and mental well being of the dog. The Big Box is priced at £29.99 as a one-off or £23.99 if you sign up to a monthly subscription. The regular box weighs in at £19.99 and £16.99 respectively and contains up to six items.
As we have seen with similar concepts in the US both companies also give back to animal charities. Pooch Pack donates a portion of their profits to rescue and welfare organisations across the UK whereas Fings For Fido donates 10% from the profit of every box to support Hounds for Heroes. Bravo ‘dog-boxers’! It’s not hard to see why these gift boxes are a great idea – you get more for your money than if you were to purchase each item individually, you get to try before you buy and there’s always something new to keep your dog entertained, fed, motivated and well groomed.
While not fashioned on the same model as the monthly gift box concept, we also like the look of hound hampers and gift boxes from Woof Woof Hampers, who recently won a Pawesome Award for their services to dogs and their owners. Available read made or individually designed at a variety of price points, why not their Teddy Hamper (£38.00) for a fun Christmas gift, which features a traditional stocking to package up the items along with festive themed chews, treats and toys all beautifully packaged in a wicker hamper, which can double as a handy doggy travel case for dogs on the go.
For more information on the products featured and to order visit: