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While we’re feasting on turkey, potatoes, pie, and punch, our dogs watch and wish they could join in. Food comas for everyone! However, many common holiday foods are unhealthy for dogs, if not downright dangerous.
So how can you include your four-legged family member in all the fun? From DIY ideas to easy store-bought options, we’ve rounded up four great ways to give your dog a taste of seasonal favorites.
1. Simple Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes promote your dog’s digestive health, are a powerful antioxidant, and can help combat pet obesity. Dehydrated sweet potato rounds make a healthy, easy dog snack you can whip up at home.
The only ingredient you’ll need is … sweet potato! Dogs love fresh, whole foods, and won’t miss the butter or the marshmallows. Dr. Gary Richter, author of the Ultimate Pet Health Guide and member of Rover’s Dog People Panel, explains, “the closer to fresh, whole food diets you feed, the healthier your dog is likely to be.”
To make these treats:
- Place evenly sliced sweet potato pieces on a parchment-covered baking sheet
- Bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours
- Add another 30 minutes or so for a crisper result
- Allow to cool completely to assess texture
2. Fro-Yo for Dogs
Whipped cream is loaded with fat and sugar, which are as unhealthy for dogs as they are for humans. Yogurt, on the other hand, is a good source of protein, as long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant. It’s also packed with healthy probiotics.
It’s best to use plain yogurt and avoid sugary flavors. Don’t ever feed dogs artificially sweetened yogurt, in particular. Xylitol, a common sugar substitute for humans, is extremely toxic to dogs.
A dollop of plain, whole yogurt on top of kibble is a special treat most dogs will love. But why not make things extra-fun with a DIY yogurt dog treat?
This simple recipe requires a thick Greek yogurt, though you can also achieve the right consistency by straining regular yogurt through cheesecloth. (Bonus: dogs love the drained-off liquid, too!)
- Fill squeeze bottle with thickened yogurt
- Pipe out to create small dollops on foil-covered trays
- Store in a covered container in your freezer to garnish meals, use as training treats, and more.
3. KONG Thanksgiving Feast
Puzzle toys like the classic, sturdy KONG keep dogs busy while you’re cooking, welcoming guests, or running out for last-minute ingredients. You can stuff a KONG with pretty much anything dog-friendly, including regular old kibble, but it lasts much longer if you use a filling with a thicker consistency like peanut butter.
To give your dog a seasonal stuffing, simply mix together these ingredients, making sure to avoid any bones from the turkey.
- Handful of dried cranberries
- Chopped or sliced plain, cooked turkey
- Chopped, cooked green beans
- A few tablespoons of peanut butter
- Warm water or bone broth as needed
Mix until you have the right consistency for filling the KONG. Pro tip: freeze your stuffed KONG for an extra challenge!
4. Pup-kin Pies
Traditional pumpkin pie isn’t healthy for dogs thanks to all the sugar. That doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy a slice, however. This dog-friendly variation on the holiday favorite is both tasty and nutritious, and packed with fiber-rich pumpkin.
We love the eye-catching final effect, which is perfect for holiday photo ops.
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Oat flour (choose gluten-free if your dog is sensitive)
- Unsweetened pumpkin (this organic pumpkin is made just for dogs!)
- Plain yogurt (optional)
- Mix flour and applesauce and roll into a dough ball.
- Divide equally into 24 pieces and press firmly into mini-muffin pan to form crust.
- Bake at 350 for 8 min.
- Let cool before removing from pan.
- Mix mashed banana and pumpkin purée.
- Divide mixture into 24 servings and fill baked pie shells.
- Optional: add a dollop of yogurt to finish.
Stocking a Dog-Friendly Kitchen
It’s easier than you’d think to create healthy, homemade treats for your dog, and what better time of year to go for it? These dog-themed essentials will help you include your pet in your holiday baking this year.
Silicone paw and bone trays are easy to clean and ideal for DIY dog treats.
These oven mitts for human paws are adorable.
Make human or pet cookies with these cookie cutters.
Take it the next level with dog faces on your measuring spoons.
The Bottom Line
Making treats for your dog is a great way to say “thank you” for all their unconditional love. It’s not the only way, of course—they’ll welcome special attention anytime, whether it’s snuggles, extra walks, or a visit to their favorite sitter.
If you’re traveling this holiday and can’t take your dog, Rover will help you find the perfect pet sitter. Your dog will get plenty of TLC, and you’ll hit the road happy.
Featured image via ASPCA/tinypic