Why should humans have all the fun? Austina Cardoso’s new initiative is all about baking delicious treats for pets! NT BUZZ chronicles Austina’s fun tale of baking with a difference
SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
Like any other pet parent, Austina Cardoso, 25, enjoys pampering her dog Patch. And on his first birthday on March 16, she knew she had to do something special for him.
“I thought to myself, doesn’t he deserve a special cake on his birthday too?” says Austina who decided to use ingredients like apple, banana, and peanut butter with a base made of wheat and cashew frosting for Patch’s cake. Happy with the outcome, Austina realised that she could do much more in terms of making tasty treats for pets and thus began her new venture.
Cakes and pastries in any regular bakery are made using all purpose flour (maida) and are full of sugar. Such baked products are usually not considered healthy for humans and definitely not for animals. Since animals have a different digestive system, they find it quite difficult to digest sugars.
“My cakes are healthy on the whole. The individual ingredients that I use to bake them are healthy and complement each other. For example, if all your ingredients have Vitamin A then make sure that you use smaller portions, as too much Vitamin A can be toxic for dogs,” says Austina, adding that developing your own recipes for animals can be a challenge as you have to ensure that you know all the derivations of your ingredients. Further, the baker has to comprehend what is best for his or her consumers.
Austina prefers to use home-made peanut butter without salt, and coconut oil while baking. Coconut oil is best for dogs as it keeps their fur healthy. She also prefers making pumpkin puree at home as the store bought puree contains sugar and spices which are harmful to dogs. “These little things make a big difference. Make sure to carefully read all the ingredients mentioned on store bought products, not only for the dog, but for you yourself too. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” she explains.
She also bakes different cookies depending on the health of her pets. If Patch’s fur is getting dry, she adds more coconut oil to the cookies. Hence, the quantity of ingredients sometimes varies on the basis of condition of her pet.
As this is more of a hobby, Austina does not usually market her innovative baking venture on social media but prefers to rely on word of mouth. “Though I used to make home-made treats for my three sweethearts (pets) for over a year, it was only when my friends came for the party that they knew about this concept and ordered a cake for their pets, following which their friends ordered,” she said. This prompted her to post about her baked treats on the social media group PETSCONNEKT. Chaitanya Malkarnekar, proprietor at Mascot Pet Store recently organised a pool party for dogs where Austina had put up her stall. “He really had my back and supported me in this new venture. I would like to sincerely thank him for this great opportunity,” she says.
And Austina is confident that she will get many more orders as dogs are treated like children in the family and their birthdays are celebrated with much aplomb. She also plans to research on ingredients best for cats to bake treats for them. She sells the cakes by the kilogram; the cookies are sold in packs of five and the cupcakes in packs of six.
Austina, a restaurateur by the day, runs ‘Hakuna Matata’ in Varca and takes orders for catering to humans too, especially for events and ceremonial functions. Her creativity is also seen in her handmade wedding decor, and planning for family events and parties.
And a pet bakery could also be in the offing, if all works out well, says Austina. “Due to my restaurant and my love for baking, I have the necessary equipments required to bake on high demand. So opening a bakery sounds like a plan,” she says.