Rachael Ray-Approved Dog Treats for Birthdays

Birthdays are perfect occasions to celebrate those you love — including your furry family members, of course! So a “happy birthday” dog treat is basically a must.

The irony is, loving your pets also means you want to do what’s best for them. So the go-to human birthday treats won’t cut it. As fun as birthday cakes and other junk foods can be, they’re not any better for dogs than they are for people. And certain treats that are OK for people in moderation can be downright dangerous for dogs.

Fortunately, there are plenty of safe birthday treats for dogs that are also downright delicious to doggie taste buds. And don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you spend hours in the kitchen attempting a Pinterest-worthy creation. Rachael Ray’s team has already done the work, so you can opt for easy dog birthday treats, ready-made from Rachael-approved recipes, that feel just as special as homemade.

Look below for some of our favorite dog birthday treat ideas and tips. Enjoy!

How to Choose the Best Birthday Treats for Dogs

You want to give your dog the best every day, especially on his or her birthday. Here’s what to look for.

Consider the Presentation

Often the treats dogs find most exciting are ones with looks, smells, tastes and textures resembling the types of food you eat (even though they shouldn’t actually eat what you do). That’s why Nutrish® treats include recipes that look like real burgers, chicken pot pies, chicken and waffles, and more. (Plus, they're fun!)

Check the Ingredients

Look for natural dog treats with added vitamins and minerals. Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® treats are made with the good stuff, and no artificial flavors or meat by-products. If its’ not good enough for Rachael, it’s not in there. That's why we mean it when we say: Real Recipes. Real Ingredients. Real Good.®

Mix It Up

It’s always nice to choose treats you know your dog loves. But since birthdays are special occasions, you might want to up the excitement by throwing in a few new recipes. Nutrish offers lots of shapes and flavors to explore. After all, variety is the spice of life!

two black and white french bulldogs wearing birthday party hats at an indoor dog birthday party

More Tips for a Fun Fur Baby Birthday Party

Dog friendly birthday treats are a great start, but the sky’s the limit. Whether you keep it small or go all out is up to you. Just remember, safety first!

Skip Real Bones & Rawhide

Even on a milestone dog birthday, bone treats made from real rawhide may not be worth the risk. Splinters and pieces can sometimes break off and cause choking, injuries or blockages in the digestive track if swallowed. To play it safe, try long lasting dog chews instead.

Add Some Extra-Special Play

Party it up with fun activities that aren’t part of your normal routine. Consider a play date with some furry friends, a hike somewhere new or an extra-long game of fetch. Feeling creative? Build a dog friendly maze or obstacle course out of empty boxes, and hide a few treats inside for the birthday boy or girl to find along the way.

Cue Up the Camera

Is there any better feeling than watching your dog’s eyes light up and knowing you’re the reason? Now that’s a cherished memory in the making. So remember to snap some pics or capture some video of your sweet fur baby’s pure, unbridled joy when you serve up his or her birthday treats. Then tag us on social media so we can see the adorableness!

two terrier dogs biting on a rope in a fall outdoor setting

5 Reasons It’s Better to Buy Dog Birthday Treats Than Make Them

Still considering making your own “pupcakes” or cookies? Hey, we get it! Those Pinterest photos are awfully cute. And if you like tinkering in the kitchen, it could be kind of fun. But it’s not necessarily the best choice overall. Here’s why.

Nutrition & Safety

Even if you’re practically a pro chef, and you know exactly what will get your dog drooling, most of us aren’t canine nutrition experts. A dog’s nutritional needs are so different from a human’s, even Rachael Ray herself wouldn’t put out a dog food or treat without the input of pet experts.

Why? Many of the ingredients that are common in people food are less than ideal for dogs. At worst, some are dangerous. At best, they’re empty calories. (Check out the ASPCA’s list of people foods to avoid feeding your pet.)

Portion Control

If you make your dog a whole cake and set it in front of him or her to pose for the perfect pic, before you know it, he or she may eat that whole cake … in one sitting. Commercially made dog treats are single servings by design, so you don’t have to choose between letting your dog overindulge (and possibly get sick) or taking away what’s left and being a buzzkill.

Prioritizing Your Time

Most of us have trouble finding time to cook for ourselves, let alone our pets. (That’s why Rachael has a whole series on 30-minute meals.) Give yourself a break. High-quality store-bought dog birthday treats, like Nutrish® products, can feel just as special. And less time in the kitchen can mean more quality time with your dog, which is what he or she really wants most anyway.

Curious Canine Preferences

Some dogs can be unpredictably picky. There’s no guarantee they’ll love a homemade treat they’ve never had before, even if you did make it just for them. And nobody wants to go through all that trouble just to have the results of all their effort go to waste. Your dog will appreciate a store-bought birthday treat just as much.

Avoiding a Mess

Your doggie dessert may look beautiful as you set it down. Sadly, your dog’s lack of opposable thumbs and inability to use silverware will probably make what follows much less beautiful. If you’d rather spend your dog’s birthday playing with him or her than cleaning up trails of crumbs, opt for store-bought treats, which generally lead to little or no mess.

Popular Birthday Treats Dogs Love