Treats, dog treats cookbook, biscuits, ice-creams, cakes to make at home / Gluten-free recipes for dogs / Baking for dogs / Dog food recipes created by nutritionist and approved by vets (C) Natalia Ashton

No tricks, just TREATS

Something happened two weeks ago. Something that meant a lot to me.

I published Treats – my second and much-treasured cookbook for dogs. I know I should probably be cool and content, but this recipe book was such a joy, such a heartwarming venture, that I wish I could sing about it from the roof tops.

Treats was a natural progression of Beyond the Doughnut. Same concept, different ideas. The Doughnut was all about meals and treats directly inspired by some of the famous staples to allow dog parents make a meal or treat that looked like human food but was definitely dog-friendly and safe.

Treats were purely about treats. Treats that are easy to prepare. Treats as we see them when we think of our dogs. Treats in a form of biscuits. Lots and lots of different biscuits. Treats for summer because it’s lovely to have some ice-creams a pup can enjoy. Treats for holiday celebrations and birthday parties because “party without a cake is just a meeting”.

Treats, biscuits, ice-creams, cakes and baked by Natalia Ashton (C) The ultimate dog treats cookbook / over 30 recipes including gluten-free recipes for dogs and puppies of all ages by canine nutritionist. Home cooking and baking ideas for dogs.
(C) by Natalia Ashton, taken from Treats, the ultimate dog treats cookbook

I looked for inspiration in my boys’ eyes… places we visited… flowers and seasons… Even books. I spent hours in the kitchen, inventing, cooking, testing over and over again. I got into food styling because everything had to be beautiful, tell a story, put a smile on my readers’ faces. And I fell in love with my camera for helping me to capture my ideas. I became a small animal nutritionist, food stylist and photographer in one. It was a huge challenge to take on, but life is dull without challenges.

And once I was done with the images, I designed the text pages to compliment the photos, take you away daydreaming with me. Even if for a second. It was a one-woman project that instilled me with happiness… and anxiety for the unknown future of my paper baby…

This book makes me buzz. It makes me want to dance.

Do get a copy. I know you and your pup will adore it.

Available on amazon worldwide as paperback, hardback (selected countries only) and Kindle


Image credit: cover and pages design by me, illustration of the dog by Xenia Voronicheva, food styling and photography by me, photo of me, Cooper and Fred by Elizabeth Clarke

Can dogs eat apples? Benefits of apples in dog diet. How to include apples in dog's diet. Nutrition tips from canine nutritionist. Healthy treats for dogs and puppies

Can my dog eat… apples?

You know what I find really interesting about the “apple to my eye” phrase? Not its actual meaning of devotion towards somebody especial, but the facts that this beautiful fruit can actually support eye health. Yet the crown of “vision food” is always given to carrots. 

We will get to this a few sentences later. But for now I have a question of the day for you…

DOES YOUR COCKER LIKE APPLES?

The simple, crispy and beautiful fruits are coming in season right now, and I really wanted to bring your attention to them as a reminder that dogs can definitely eat apples – and it will be beneficial for them.

Apples contain vitamin A that takes care of healthy eyes as well as helps to maintain beautiful coat and skin. 

They are a source of vitamin C to support immunity and reduce the risk of allergies. Vitamin C is also important for collagen production and taking part in maintaining tissues and joints.

Apples also provide B vitamins important for energy, resilience to stress, proper metabolism and even skin and coat health, plus vitamin K essential for formation of blood clots, enzyme production and transport of calcium to the bones.

The fruit is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and boron. Think strong bones, muscle and nerve cells functions, and DNA synthesis.

Fibre is another reason to include a little apple in the dog’s diet. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. They not only clear out the toxins from the digestive tract and help it work like clockwork (insoluble fibre), but also feed friendly gut bacteria (soluble fibre such as pectin). 

Research showed that high antioxidant levels in apples prevented growth of cancer cells and reduced cholesterol in both human and animal studies.

REMEMBER before feeding apples to your spaniel that…

… 1-2 thin (2-3mm in thickness) slices are all your dog needs – always start with a bite of two as an introduction

… too much fruit can cause bloating, gas and diarrhoea (so stick with the rule above)

… you can use raw apple slices, grated apple (about 1-2 tsp) or 100% apple pure (1-2 tsp per day for a cocker) 

… apple puree & grated apple are great on lickimats

… always core the apples to remove the middle bit, stalk and seeds

… never let the dog eat spoiled apple or the ones found on the ground (unless they are perfectly nice and have been washed before feeding to the pups)

I am so in love with this fruit, I already talked about it in Beyond the Doughnut where I shared nutrition trivia and recipes. And my upcoming cookbook will have even more ideas. Because apples really are worth it. 


Photo credit: apples by Mircea Ploscar via Pixabay

Probiotics and probiotics in dog diet, importance of friendly bacteria for canine health. Does my dog need supplements? How to add probiotics and probiotics to dog diet? Advice from canine nutritionist and dog nutrition coach. Perfect cocker spaniel. Blog about English cocker spaniels, grooming, training, diet, puppy care, behaviour and more

A simple way to keep your dog healthy for longer

Want to keep your dog healthy for longer? Here’s another diet secret that you need to know…

Aging changes many things including the gut – it may become thicker and less able to move and absorb food efficiency. It can also change the levels of good and bad bacteria that help to control inflammation, reduce the risk of many illnesses, support strong immunity and even have effects on behavior (Pilla et al, 2020, Baum, 2007, Masuoka et al, 2017, Mondo et al 2020)

How can you help? Use age-appropriate diets that contain probiotics (good bacteria) and, importantly, PREBIOTICS (they feed the good bacteria)

In the test study dogs fed commercial food with probiotics not only showed improved levels of good bacteria, but also much lower levels of inflammation markers (known as C-reactive protein). The dog from the non-prebiotic group had high levels of C-reactive protein), higher levels on bad bacteria and lower levels of good bacteria.

So besides checking if your dog food is age-appropriate and complete, look for FOS, MOS and probiotics on the product label.

Do not be tempted to DIY with supplements. It is not a good idea to experiment with pre- and probiotics unless you were specifically prescribed them by your vet.

Do include food sources of pre- and probiotics alongside the main diet as treats (10% or less of your dog’s daily intake) – natural yoghurt, kefir, dandelion leaves, apples and oats (my Beyond the doughnut cookbook has some yummy oat-based recipes)


Photo credit: bacteria by Gert Altmann via Pixabay