Sardine oatcakes

by | Dec 6, 2012 | 100 comments


The original sardine oatcake recipe. 

This is personally my favourite recipe on my blog.  If you are in need of super high-value treats – you just found them!  Your dog will love these oatcakes, they are tasty, healthy, smell great, and just so easy to make!  And from preparation to cooking time they take less than one hour! When I was thinking about what I could cook to make a dog food recipe to make at home I thought about making doggy flapjacks then found that oatcakes were even easier to make and the perfect treat recipe to use fish!  I’ve taken these out with me several times when I’ve been dog walking and they are great for getting the attention of a dog who’s mind wanders when out for a walk! Very simple to make, all you need is 6 ingredients you probably already have and a biscuit cutter.

The dough is more like paper mache than biscuit dough.  So alternatively you can use a silicone mould instead of a biscuit cutter.

For a more traditional looking oatcake replace 1 quarter of your rolled oats with pinhead oatmeal – but not necessary.


  • 2 tins of sardines in oil (2x120g)
  • 1 crushed garlic clove (or 1 small teaspoon of crushed garlic.  No powder)
  • 60g (1/3 cup) of wholemeal flour
  • 300g (1 1/3 cups) of oats
  • 150ml Chicken broth (homemade is best)
  • 1 egg


broth in a jug

Make around 150ml (1/4 pint) of stock.  Chicken will do.  If using cubes get the low salt ones.

sardines in a mixing bowl

Add the two tins of sardines to a bowl (including the oil)!

mashed sardines

Mash the sardines thoroughly with a fork!

mashed sardines and garlic

Add 1 crushed garlic clove or 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic


Add an egg

oatcake ingedients in a bowl

Add the 300g (10oz) of oats and 60g (2oz) of wholemeal flour

adding broth to mixing bowl

Add a little of broth to bowl.  To start with try adding 1/3 of your broth.

sardine oatcake dough ball

Mix ingredients with your hands and make a dough ball!  Too dry?  Add more broth.  Too wet?  Add some flour or oatmeal.

rolled out oatcake dough

Roll out and cut out biscuits!

freshly baked sardine oatcakes

Place dog biscuits on baking tray and place into a preheated oven at 190°C (370°F) for around 20-25 mins.

oatcakes on cooling rack

Yum, that’s them cooked and they smell great!

4 dogs sitting for a treat

If you’ve made these before, you will know what to expect

How to store

As a general guide if meat protein is present in recipe then it will last around 3 to 5 days stored in a cool place.  If it has second class protein in it eg. cheese, lentils, eggs, etc, then they will store for about 10 days in a cool place. You can use cake tins lined with baking paper – greaseproof. If there is no meat or second class proteins present then it will last around 3 weeks before they go soft like human biscuits.

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raw pig ears

By Jamie Shanks

BDWS is owned and run by me, Jamie Shanks. I’ve been a professional dog walker since 2010. When I’m not walking dogs, I’m usually at home entertaining my three dogs and attending to five hens and my vegetable garden. 


  1. Hi i love the ideas of these biscuits and also the other alternatives that have been suggested. Im just wondering thou, is yeast and cheese not good for them? have been told by my vet not to give either?

  2. Hi
    I just wondered if you’ve tried the sardine oatcakes with gluten free flour?

    • No yet, but I’m sure it would work jut a well

    • Yes. Gluten free flour works as a like for like replacement

  3. Great liver cake recipe. I cut mine while warm and then popped it back in the oven until the pieces were dry and crunchy. No need to freeze if they last that long! My dog trainer recommends brewers yeast as a flea deterrent – could that be added to the mix do you think?

  4. Liver cake is an absolute winner. Sardine biscuits I found a bit crumbly. Added an egg and some cheese to second batch and they were much better
    Husband tried liver cake and I ate the biscuits which I thought pretty good myself :~)

  5. I was searching for a recipe that contained ingredients I have to hand and this is one of the few ones I have found. I just made it and me and Molly the Dog like it. Will be feeding it to husband later and will report back on the state of his coat…. I will complain to Carol if his coat isn’t shiney 🙂

    • Hey Sue!

      Glad you like it. This is one of my faves!


  6. Hello Jamie – I have just made your Sardine Oakcakes and Tyson our West Highland Terrier who has loads of allergies so can only be fed on our food consisting of salmon, rice, and veg – followed me around whilst cooking and was even crying for them – so gone down well thank you.

    • Hey Karen, thanks for letting me know, I’m glad Tyson likes them. Yeah, the westies are really prone to allergies, I know 4 and they all suffer from it.

  7. Just a quick query – how long will the biscuits keep in an airtight box or in a bag? Thanks

    • I make 1/2 a batch and in an airtight container they last weeks unless the dogs get at the container (which has happened) in which case they last seconds

  8. garlic is bad for dogs, i just looked it up.

    • Use garlic powder that’s fine but not fresh garlic

  9. Hi can you tell me if the oatcakes and also the liver biscuits are ok for dogs with epilepsy.
    Thank you

  10. I made the liver cake to start with. Charlie loved it and so do all his friends. Sardine biscuit’s are also a good training treat and so easy to make. My husband has tried all the treats I have made for Charlie. He now has a lovely shiny coat. I regularly make these treats and made little doggy bags for Charlie’s 1st birthday. His friends want him to have birthdays every week.

    • Hi Carol! yeah these sardine oatcakes are my fav treat of all and they are easy and that does matter. Glad your dog and his friends like them!

    • Ha Ha Ha that reads as if your Husband now has a lovely shiny coat

  11. Thanks Liz (March 12th) for the banana tip. Both my dogs LOVE these & I will be trying the banana version. I’ve made them with sardines in oil often they also work Very well with sardines in tomato too (I add a smidgen of oil)

    Jamie, your recipes are Fantastic, Desperately want to try the Pig head recipe but apparently I’m not allowed to buy the head (several butchers have said the same)

  12. its about the sardine oatcakes do you have to freeze them will they not keep in the fridge and can you substitute tuna for sardines they don’t agree with the dog

    • Hi Margaret!

      I’ve never remotely stored any of the dog treats long enough to know how long they last so I just recommend storing them in the freezer. The dryer they are the longer they will last. Tuna will work fine.

  13. Can I use plain flour with added oats? Because I can’t find any wholemeal flour.

    • Yeah that’ll be fine.

  14. Thank you for your recipes. Made these and the liver treats for my Beagle Bonnie. She loves them and recalls were amazing on our walk today

    • Hi Debbie. Glad to hear it! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  15. thank you, thank you, thank you – love the recipes on your site and have shared them with lots of my doggy friends. This one is a particular favourite of mine even if it does smell the house out (especially if your burn a batch – oops :)) have also tried the cheese biscuits and the ginger ones. Going to bake the Liver cake tonight and see how that goes.

    I volunteer at a rescue center and some of the dogs are really fussy about shop bought treats however i always come away with an empty bag when i take these in to them. I always have to make sure i keep some back for my own pooch seeing as she has had to smell them cooking!

    I bought a selection of mini cookie cutters so get well over a hundred out of a batch with means they go further with the dogs.

    Love the fact that you can freeze them as well.

    Thanks x

  16. Great recipe Jamie, I would recommend making this a thin biscuit to be broken into smaller pieces (unless of course you have a really small pastry cutter)
    I’m using these to replace P@H brand Mini Bones which are OK but yours knock them out!
    Dexter our 9 month old Irish Water Spaniel is drooling for them by the bucket full, gonna gently try his sensitive stomach on a few Liver ones next
    Thanks, Phill

  17. We have a 3 month old golden doodle who has teeth like a piranha. I like to give him a special treat at bedtime to make his gums feel better. I bought puppy teething treats, but I am having a hard time finding them made in the U.S.A. So I decided to try to duplicate them. Not possible. However, I have found that this site has lots of substitutes, and it will certainly help my pocketbook. I met a woman in the pet shop who had what appeared to be an adult golden doodle. I asked her when he stopped mouthing, and told her someone had told me it would happen at 4 months. She almost fell on the floor laughing. Her golden doodle is 2 and still mouths. So I need these treats.

    • Hey, I just read my email, and frankly I think I was pretty insulting without intending to be. I did not stop to think this website was from the U.K. We lived there for a year up in Durham, and frankly I have never seen people so careful about food. Even Eric, the gardener, told me that it was against the law to use anything that was opposed to organic in his gardens. I went to the store to buy from non-quick-cooking oats, and I went to the discount store. There is a wonderful one of these at the bottom of the hill in Durham. Anyway, I wound up buying a 5-pound container of the oats because that was the only size the non-quick ones came in. I will be using these for a long time or making a lot of cookies.

  18. Hiya, made these for our older dogs, they love them! Have a new pup on the way was just wondering at what age we could start giving her these?

    • Hi Charlotte

      These biscuits will be fine for pup, but cause it a ‘new food’ to pup give small bits to begin with.


  19. Made a batch of these today for my cocker pup as the vet advised some extra bran. Really easy to make and Cotto loves them…thanks for the great recipe

    • Thanks Evelyn. This is my fave recipe!

  20. I made these for Milo our Springer Spaniel and he LOVES them! I omitted the garlic as spaniels have super sensitive stomachs, and used an apple corer to cut the biscuits instead of a cookie cutter – was a bit time consuming but the end result paid off.

    I highly recommend this recipe, costing only 95p per batch (which is massive) you won’t find a more cost effective way to treat your dog with the peace of mind of knowing exactly what’s in it!

    • HI Kait!

      Thanks for the comment! I walk a ‘Milo’ but he is a Golden Retriever!

  21. Hi Jamie just wanted to say that your website for dog biscuits has to be the best around. My lurcher has auto immune disorder which means she can’t eat meat or meat derivatives but she can have fish. These sardines oatcakes are one of her favourites so thanks again for the recipe. For general interest I freeze mine and just put half a dozen in her biscuit tin at a time.

    • Thanks Kate. This is my favourite biscuit recipe!

  22. Garlic is BAD for dogs and should not be in their food.

    • I spoke to my vet about this the other day and she said that garlic is an issue for cats but not so much for dogs. I think one garlic clove in a batch of 30 or so biscuits is not going to be a problem but you don’t want to be feeding your dog loads. The article Jamie linked to seems pretty sensible guidance.

    • Hi Kate,

      I’ve spoke to a few vets about garlic and they’ve all been in favour of it. Helps keeps ticks and fleas away too. Thanks for your comment.

  23. Hi Jamie,

    Just wanted to let you know your recipes are great.

    My lab loves the sardine oatcakes and the Tuna cake.

    I did try the banana bombs but couldn’t get them to work.

    Liver cake next.

    Once again thanks for sharing your great recipes.

  24. Am so glad I found this website – have made the sardine oatcakes for my 4 year old staffy who was following me around the kitchen whilst I was making them!! Anyway they have been wolfed down so thanks for sharing

    • Hi Sue!

      Thanks for your lovely comments! Sardine oatcakes are one of my fav treats! All dogs love them!

  25. I am going to try these but also some berry ones as my dogs love cranberries and bluberries, will try with bananas, apple and herbs do many different varieties with the basic ingredients. Watch out dogs and cats, Mummy is going to be baking.

  26. Going to try these with the silver hake I have. Garlic is not toxic to dogs if you feed it by the guidelines. Too much and it can make them sick, look up the studies and the amounts online as there is a chart for it. I will let you know how mine go 🙂 looks like a good recipe to try!

  27. This recipe works well with bananas instead of sardines, I used four bananas but three would probably be enough & I didn’t need any water. My lab Tess loves both versions.

    • Thanks Liz! Sounds like a great idea!

  28. hi, just made these and all my 3 dogs loved them, is there a limit to how many they should be fed a day? I only ask because of the garlic in them, as it states on the link that in moderation garlic is okay? or as only one clove is used in the whole mix this is the moderation?? god, think i’m even confusing myself lol, Thanks for the recipes you are fantastic 🙂

    • Hi Lisa and thanks. Just use as you would with any treat. Don’t worry about the garlic. Garlic is good.

    • Thank you 🙂

  29. Oh my, oh my… just checked out this recipe. These have to be next, they have to be next… Where’s Bernice? Where’s Bernice? Can she make these next? eh? eh? Sardines… that’s fish right? I loves fish… I really loves fish… I’ll give her a paw, that’ll work…

    Jamie I’ll keep you posted, need to go and work my magic. Wish me luck ;*)

  30. I’ve made the sardine oat cakes several times. My dogs love them. However, since they have no preservatives, they have molded for me after 6 or 7 days. So I just freeze or refrigerate them.

    • Thanks Bev. I’ve never had them longer than 2 days so had no idea about their life.

  31. Hi Jamie,

    Do you have to debone the fishir will it soften enough with cooking?


    • these are canned sardines, so yeah they are deboned, they may have whisker like bones but they’re ok.

  32. Hi Jamie, just made these sardine oatcakes for my Boxer, Mylo as I heard he loved the one you let him try during the week! The mixture has produced a full tin of biscuits and Mylo loves them! What a success! I will be trying more recipes soon! Thanks

    • I’m glad he liked it, I’ve not met a dog that didn’t like them! That day I met Mylo I had taken all the biscuits I made the night before with me and by the end of the day they had all been scoffed up!

  33. Just made these , amazing , so simply to do and my dogs just adore them : ) Thank you

    • Thanks Jen! Glad you like them!

  34. Hi, can i ask if i can change the sardine fish to salmon fish? Coz in my country the sardins are not fresh and there are usually mix with other sauce in tin. 😀

    • Hi Monica! Yeah, Salmon is fine!

  35. Made these for my dog today. Simple to make, smell awful baking, but he LOVES them. Thanks.

    • Thanks for your comments Wendy! This is one of my favourite recipes!

  36. Have made your wonderful liver biscuits already a favourite with my dog and the cats love them too. Trying the sardine cookies today already have a audience 2 cats 1 boxador puppy waiting. Thank you for your recipies

    • Thanks Lynne!

      The liver biscuits are a lot of work but great! I love these sardine biscuits cause they are so simple and delicious!

    • Success !!!!! They have gone down a treat with both cats and Bertie my lovely boxador puppy. Shall be making these again gonna try the banana bombs next.

    • I’m glad to hear that Lynn!

  37. hi, I made the peanut butter and banana bombs for my 2 fcr dogs last week. Went down v well! From the photos here it looks like you don’t drain the sardines of their oil? Is that right? Thanks

    • Hi Janet! I’m glad your dogs liked the banana bombs! Regarding the sardines I do add the oil to the recipe as the oil is good and helps keep the dough moist. Your dogs will love these!

  38. just made these for my old yorkie and two chihauhuas pups they all love them, the pups are sitting infront of me wanting more lol x

    • Hi Jill! Thanks that means a lot! This recipe doesn’t seem as popular as the liver cake or other treats but I think they are well worth making!

  39. These sound great but I thought garlic was poisonous for dogs?

  40. Lovely how long do they keep?! x

    • Hey Gemma! They should last a good couple of weeks or more if stored correctly, otherwise freeze them if you want longer life!

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