6 handcrafted dog treats from area businesses

While food for people gets most of the attention in Madison, humans aren’t the only species around here with access to top-quality treats. From bites made with 100% meat to a cupcake made specifically for pups, plus items with aesthetically pleasing packaging — you’ll find specialty dog ​​treats are everywhere. These spots have all you need to make your canine’s day.

Bloom Bake Shop
Annemarie Maitri, owner of Bloom Bake Shop, is a “major dog lover.” Maitri has two rescue dogs, Kala and Beignet, and she says many customers come by Bloom with their pups every day. At first Maitri would treat dog visitors to a special “Bag O’ Dog Biscuits,” which became a popular holiday gift. In a natural evolution for the normally human-focused bakery, Maitri decided to create “pupcakes” for the dogs as well. Pupcakes are a pet-friendly take on cupcakes that include organic peanut butter, applesauce and pumpkin puree, plus peanut butter and cream cheese frosting. Maitri says her dogs love them, as does just about any other furry friend who visits the shop. “They have become so popular, we recently had to increase production and offer them every day,” Maitri says. “It truly makes all of us at Bloom so happy to expand our customers to four-legged friends, too.” 1851 Monroe St., 608-628-2249, bloombakeshop.com

The Crazy Dog Mom
Amanda Ballweg first became a “crazy dog ​​mom” in 2010 when she adopted Kiara, a Siberian husky with piercing blue eyes. Over the years, Ballweg learned more about the importance of feeding dogs a fresh, raw diet. Unfortunately, Kiara died suddenly in October 2019, and Ballweg eventually adopted two new puppies. She wanted to give them the best of everything and started preparing raw food for them when they turned 1. She soon realized it was also difficult to find treats with beneficial ingredients, so she made her own. Ballweg later began to give the treats to friends and family. “I knew then I needed to share [the treats] with other dog owners, so their dogs could also benefit from healthy treats,” Ballweg says. Ballweg bought and created Wisconsin’s first-ever dog treat truck — setting up at local outdoor events and dog parks. Her treats, which are called Excite Bites, include salmon jerky, beef liver bites and turkey snacks, and they are all made without preservatives or additives. Ballweg also sells clothing and accessories, with 10% of purchases going to local animal shelters. “Those dogs may have had a rough start in life or are just currently going through a rough patch in life, but either way they deserve to be treated well,” Ballweg says. thecrazydogmom.com

Gracie’s Doggie Delights
If you’ve been looking for dog treats that contain only meat, Watertown-based Gracie’s Doggie Delights is a great option. Gracie Jagler, a woman with Down syndrome and the daughter of Wisconsin State Sen. John Jagler, started her business in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. Gracie Jagler founded the company because the Jaglers couldn’t find a job they would enjoy, be challenged by and thrive in. She always loved her three rescued miniature schnauzers, so when she got the opportunity to start her own business focused on pets, she couldn’t pass it up. The treats are made of USDA-inspected meat and freeze-dried by the family’s butcher. Gracie Jagler and the family package the treats in their home. Treats include delicacies such as beef liver, chicken hearts and chicken breast. She also sells other items like hand-poured candles, coffee, natural paw balm, T-shirts and water bowls. Her family says she loves using the machine to seal packages and even includes a hand-signed thank-you note with each order. If you’ve purchased a bag of her treats, the Jaglers encourage you to post a picture of your pup on Gracie Jagler’s Facebook page to be a part of the “G-Dog” family that stretches to every state and several countries. 920-262-9747, graciesdoggiedelights.com

Photo by Youa Awasthi

Lil Pix Dog Treats
One Morris family member is an up-and-coming entrepreneur, though she might be a little younger than you’d expect. Claira Morris baked dog treats for years before starting her business, Lil Pix Dog Treats, in late 2020, when she was just 9 years old. Her two varieties of treats, Lily Pumpkin Treats and Pixie Peanut Butter Treats — named after the family dog ​​(Lily) and a family friend’s dog who has since died (Pixie) — are made from all-natural ingredients. “I like how whenever we even pull out the dog treat ingredients, Lily will come running, even if she’s asleep,” Morris says. “She loves our treats and I love baking.” Morris has sold more than 600 bags of dog treats since offering them at the McFarland Farmers’ Market last summer. Lil Pix will be also available at the McFarland House Cafe and through a porch pickup system at the family’s home. facebook.com/lil.pix.dog.treats

Mandy’s Farmacy
Mandy Shipler started making beef-flavored CBD treats after her older dog was in pain from surgeries. She realized some CBD companies had fake or bad products, and she wanted to make sure anyone who wanted these products could safely and confidently buy them. “I have a huge passion for natural healing with good ingredients; that’s always No. 1 for us,” Shipler says. She believes her dog benefits greatly from the treats, including through reduced pain and restored mobility. The dog treats could also help with anxiety, seizures, digestion and nausea — along with offering potential anti-tumor and diabetes-mitigating benefits. “We all should support our animals’ mental and physical well-being,” Shipler says. “Your furry friends deserve the absolute best.” 608-609-6690, mandysfarmacy.com

Petphoria started after Grace Wang couldn’t find giftable, high-quality dog ​​treats in luxurious packaging for her own dog, Beni, or others. Wang’s treats are made with natural ingredients sourced and made in America, with packaging more reminiscent of fancy ice cream than dog treats. “It’s all about branding and aesthetics for me,” Wang says. “I also wanted our dog treats to look luxurious on anyone’s counter.” Petphoria’s treat flavors pull inspiration from human favorites but offer their own twist, like Chicken Nugs, Pup-Kin Spice and Sweet and Sour Pork. There are also more classic flavors like Peanut Barker, a crunchy treat with chia seeds, peanut butter and dried coconut. Wang also makes bandanas and bow ties for furry friends and scrunchies and apparel for their owners. “Seeing the community love and gravitate toward our products has been a pure joy,” says Wang. “It’s so lovely connecting with everyone and being able to share a piece of Beni and I.” 608-400-4077, shoppetphoria.com

Nathan Denzin is a Madison Magazine editorial intern and factchecker.

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