THERE were the days when giving your dog a bone was the obvious choice for a treat.
But times have moved on – and it’s now ice-cream that is getting dogs’ tails wagging.
Entrepreneur Marie Sawle, 42, from Hambledon, has invented the world’s first ‘ice-cream’ for dogs – and it’s taking the pet world by storm.
Last night Marie appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, which features a panel of tycoons who are willing to invest in a new company.
Hilary Devey and Deborah Meaden battled it out for a slice of Marie’s company, with the dog-lover finally choosing to take a £60,000 investment from Mrs Meaden. Marie’s company is called Billy and Margot after her two labradors.
Marie, of Broad Lane, explained: ‘I worked in the motor trade for 15 years.
‘I used to take Billy to work and during the summer he discovered that if he went to the ice cream van with someone he would get a 99, bar the chocolate of course.
‘He absolutely adored ice-cream. I started doing a degree in nutrition and kept saying to my colleagues “please don’t give him the ice-cream because it’s dairy and not good for him”.
‘I started to think of making something that would be better for him.’
After numerous experiments in the kitchen, Marie came up with a nutritious iced treat that was lapped up by her dogs and friends’ hounds too.
Technically, it’s not ice-cream as there is no cream.
Instead, it contains potato flour, coconut oil and flaxseed oil.
The product comes in three flavours: strawberry and apple; apple, banana and carrot; and honey and banana.
Billy died two years ago after swallowing a corn cob while out on a walk, but the product continues in his memory.
It was launched at Crufts in March and was snapped up by more than 200 stockists. Since then more than 40,000 tubs have sold.
Marie added: ‘The impression you get watching Dragons’ Den on TV contrasts dramatically with the frightening reality of walking down the stairs into a brightly-lit studio watched by umpteen camera crew and suddenly seeing five Dragons staring at you. I paused, glanced at Margot and thought – this is our big chance... here goes!’