Many keen bakers would be disappointed if the smell of their produce was enough to make humans gag -- but Karyn Carter's baking has her customers queuing outside the door.

Featherston resident Ms Carter has founded doggytreats, specialising in home-baked dog biscuits made from free-range Wairarapa beef, chicken and pork.

Having spent the best part of last year researching the ins and outs of dog food, Ms Carter now sells her bone-shaped goodies online, and at the Carterton Farmers Market.

Her business is also now a finalist in the People's Choice category of the 2015 David Awards, a national competition celebrating small businesses.


Before starting doggytreats, Ms Carter hadn't even tried baking a cake or a batch of scones -- but, these days, she's happiest when she's in the kitchen, up to her elbows in unpleasant-smelling liver, grinding tapioca and sunflower seeds and making shapes with a cookie cutter.

"Liver has an extremely strong smell -- so I get all the dogs in the street lining up outside," she said.

"I was never much into baking, so there was a lot of trial and error involved. But now I get a real sense of satisfaction."

Ms Carter, a former event manager, arrived in Wairarapa 18 months ago, while recovering from ill health.

She said she was struck by Wairarapa residents' passion for homegrown produce -- and for dogs.

"There were dogs everywhere," she said.

"There were dogs out walking, there were dogs waiting outside the pub, there were dogs in the back of utes with a pair of gumboots.

"I thought, 'what if I could take something from the land and put it on the plate -- of man's best friend?'"


Ms Carter embarked on six months of research -- poring over books on canine nutrition from Featherston library, and scouring the internet for recipes.

She said one of the most difficult tasks was reading through information on the Ministry for Primary Industries' website, to ensure her produce complied with regulatory requirements.

But not as difficult as actually making the treats -- discovering the gluten-free flours required are temperamental at best.

"You need to add exactly the right amount of fat and protein, otherwise the biscuits don't hold together. My first batch was terrible."

But she persevered, and her treats have since received positive reviews from Wairarapa pooches and their owners.

"I had one dog just about knock over my stall trying to get to the beef-flavoured ones -- he could smell them through the packet.


"Things like that are great, as I do want to make sure they look and taste good."

She said the free farmed bacon and parmesan cheese range are the most popular with customers.

"Dogs actually do like cheese -- they have very discerning palettes."

To vote for doggytreats in the David Awards, go to