Pampered pooches taking the biscuit

Pampering your pets doesn’t mean feeding them a dog’s dinner – thanks to a Kidderminster couple who have set up their own business baking treats for canines and cats.

Mother-of-five Kate Westcott, aged 44, and husband Martin, aged 56, appear to be barking up the right tree – as far as all creatures great and small are concerned – after setting up Katie’s Canine Kitchen, selling their own home-baked pet treats.

Their business venture has grown from their decision to cook biscuits for their own dogs and those of friends in the oven at their Kidderminster home.

Their new shop in Kidderminster’s Swan Centre looks like a bakery where you could pick up your loaves and rolls – but on closer inspection these baked treats are only for pets.

The shelves are full with all sorts of flavoured biscuits and wuffins – which are muffins for dogs. Flavours include carrot, mint sauce, liver and bacon, roast beef – and even a biscuit based on a full English breakfast.

Kate started baking dog biscuits and other pet treats as a “pocket money venture” while studying screen-writing at university.

She married Martin, a former warehouseman and father-of-four, last year after a five-year romance and they decided to join forces by setting up the business.

Now the couple, who live in Wolverhampton Road, Kidderminster, have been deluged by pet owners wanting treats for dogs, rabbits, cats and ponies.

Kate says: “Martin bakes the biscuits and we cook them in the shop. We make all types of treats including wuffins. We even make birthday cakes for pets with soft cheese to resemble icing.”

Kate said she had been keen to make wholesome food treats for her own dogs.

“We had two at the time but now only have Holly, aged about 12, who is a rescue dog and a cross between a Labrador and a Rottweiler. She tastes everything we make. If she likes it, we know other dogs will too.

“Initially we started by buying books and gaining information from the internet and have researched what dogs can and cannot eat.

“Surprisingly the carrot biscuits we make are one of our best sellers and we are doing gift bags for Christmas.

“Other favourites include turkey and cranberry, mint sauce, chicken livers, fish and parsley, liver and bacon, roast beef, black pudding, lambs liver, kidneys and wuffins complete with a sausage surprise.

“We also offer a biscuit based on a full English breakfast. “When we started we felt it was important to buy natural ingredients. Now we buy local supplies and and use free range eggs and olive oil to ensure they are healthy treats,” she adds.

“It was just a hobby and then I realised it was going really well through sales to friends and we decided to make it into a business.

“We make biscuits and treats with simple, natural ingredients such as vegetables and I think that this is what people want for their pets.

“Many people are as concerned for the health of their pet as they are themselves and see organic food as important.

“The treats suit a variety of pets and we hope that shoppers will be caught up by our enthusiasm and see the biscuits, wuffins and cakes as worth buying not only for their novelty but for their nutritional value.”

The couple have been selling at markets, farm shows such as the Three Counties Show at Malvern and at various car boots.

“We hope people will come to see what we have to offer. People with dogs will, of course, be welcomed and they can actually see what we do and the ingredients we use in the shop.”