For those of us who are frequently tempted to pass scraps under the table to our furry friends, feast days such as Thanksgiving place an unfair strain on our resolve.
Unfortunately, most of the traditional Thanksgiving menu is too rich for our pets and could harm their digestive systems. Some pets are sensitive to gluten and can’t tolerate grains, and no pet should ever eat pumpkin-pie filling. Holiday cuisine that contains butter, excessive sugar, and pumpkin spice can cause far worse than a post-meal tummy ache.
But our pets are our family, too, and it seems a shame to leave them out. Luckily, there are chefs out there who have prepared Thanksgiving recipes just for pets.
With cooked turkey, sweet potatoes, and whole grains already in the kitchen, these creative, pet-friendly holiday recipes are easy, healthy, and fun. Here are seven of our favorite (and safe) Thanksgiving recipes for pets.
If you’re unsure whether an ingredient or scrap is safe for your pet, consult this full list of foods you should never feed to your pet, courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). You should also always consult your veterinarian on your pet’s specific diet, as they are the experts!
This festive KONG snack maze is genius, tasty, and long-lasting. To make this feast into a game, fill your dog’s KONG or KRUUSE Buster Treat Ball with a turkey, pumpkin puree, dried cranberry, and peanut butter stuffing — just make sure the turkey you use is plain, because herbs, spices, and butter can cause your dog discomfort. And while it may be tempting, don’t replace the pumpkin puree with pumpkin-pie filling, as these fillings generally contain chemicals and sugars that are toxic for dogs.
Slow-baked sweet potato slices are a close cousin to dog biscuits — and can be easier on your puppy’s tummy. Dogs love the pinch of cinnamon or drizzle of honey in this simple biscuit recipe, and you might too. The biscuits keep well in an airtight container in the freezer for up to four months, so your dog can enjoy them throughout the holiday season.
The mouthwatering combination of tuna and turkey is sure to elicit thanks and praise from your cats. Along with dehydrated cat food, these favorites make for an appetizing take on the traditional main course for even the most finicky feline. This recipe calls for a few special ingredients, but reports say the result is worth it!
Dogs and cats alike will flip for this mini turkey loaf, a pet-friendly version of the tabletop main course. A hearty combination of turkey, pumpkin puree (again, not pie filling!), and vegetable, these bite-size treats are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins for your pet. Perfect for pups to fill up on during the afternoon family feast!
Your pets love helping you achieve head-to-tail turkey consumption, so don’t toss out those giblets. Once you remove the bones, nothing will go to waste. You can even serve up these fancy delicacies for your pet on a fancy china dish (if you really, really trust them).
No pet should have to forgo dessert. These scrumptious mini pumpkin pies are loaded with creamy pumpkin puree and topped off with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Keep in mind that dogs and cats with wheat allergies should refrain from these treats. And if your pet is a little too stuffed from dinner, they won’t go to waste: These pies taste great no matter how many legs you have.
7. Mango Sorbet
If the canine in your life needs a healthier dessert option on the holiday, try a mango sorbet. Fresh mango and the squeeze of an orange and a lime, blended with unsweetened almond milk, makes a refreshing, frozen treat you and your pet can share to complete your Thanksgiving feast!
If you enjoyed these Thanksgiving recipes for pets, find more on treating your pets here.