We all love our dogs – they’re family, too, right? And we want to include them in all the ways we celebrate the holidays. Thanksgiving is all about the food, so it’s only natural we want our pets to share in all the deliciousness.

November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving turkey on the table
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Trouble is, lots of traditional Thanksgiving foods we humans love are not the best for our dogs. Lots of sugar, butter, salt – it may be okay for us once a year but it can really cause problems for canines.

Yet it’s fairly simple to prepare some of your favorites in a healthy way for your dog – without a lot of extra work involved. (‘Cause who needs MORE kitchen time during the holidays?)

The beauty of these foods is there’s little to no extra work involved in getting them ready for your dog. And the magic is that each food has a host of nutritional benefits important in keeping your pup healthy.

So feast your eyes on five easy ways you can include your favorite Thanksgiving foods in your dog’s celebration…

The Sides

While you’re prepping for your side dishes, you can set aside a portion for your dog. The basic idea is simple: plain veggies/fruits BEFORE adding extra ingredients.

  1. Cooked sweet potatoes have an amazing array of health benefits for your dog. After boiling or baking, portion out some for your best friend before adding the sugar, butter or marshmallows.
  2. Cooked pumpkin is also a delicious treat dogs love. Packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, it’s a healthy Thanksgiving staple you can feel good about sharing. Combine  ¼ cup canned pumpkin (puree – not pie filling!) with ¼ tsp of cinnamon to give your dog a taste of the holidays.
Pumpkins for Thanksgiving
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The Turkey

Star of the show, turkey is probably the most enticing dish in your dog’s point of view. You have lots of options when it comes to serving turkey to your pup.

Roast turkey in the oven
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

If you’re a raw feeder, you know your dog will look forward to the neck and the little bag of giblets (wash them all before feeding.) If you don’t raw feed, you can still make some tasty treats for your dog with these parts.

      3.  Turkey giblets. Want some high-value training treats? That little bag of turkey giblets is your friend. Wash the heart, liver and gizzard and place in a pot of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until cooked through. Remove from water and let cool. You can now slice/chop into bite-sized treats. Make sure you store these in the refrigerator – they’ll keep for a few days or freeze for up to four months.

     4. Turkey breast. What about after the bird has been roasted? Save a slice or two of turkey breast for your pal. Not only does it taste divine, turkey breast is packed with lean protein – a good source of amino acids, B-vitamins and minerals. Skip the fatty dark meat, skin (full of fat which can be hard on the pancreas) and make sure no cooked bones are attached.

      5. When dinner is over and you’re left with that sad stripped down turkey carcass – no worries. You can make a nutritionally dense, rich, wonderful turkey bone broth you can share with your dog!

There are dozens of bone broth recipes out there so you can pick and choose to your liking. Just remember that if you are serving this to your pets, make sure you don’t use onion. Garlic however, is perfectly fine for dogs in small quantities and adds additional flavor and health benefits.

Cinnamon sticks
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Roast Turkey Bone Broth

1 turkey carcass  

3-4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic (optional)

Filtered water to cover

Place turkey carcass in large stock pot or slow cooker. Cover with filtered water; add apple cider vinegar (this is what helps extract the minerals from the bones) and garlic clove. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that develops on top. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a minimum of 24 hours.

During the last 20-30 minutes of cooking, you can add any additional ingredients. A handful of chopped parsley is highly recommended! Try celery, carrots, kale, some sliced turmeric root or kelp.

Cool and strain, strain, strain to remove any bones.

Once cooled, you can pour into containers and keep in the refrigerator for three days or freeze in smaller containers for later use.

After the broth is stored in the fridge, you’ll see a layer of fat has formed on top and underneath that, your broth should be thick and gelatinous. Even if your broth is not jelly-like, it still contains amazing amounts of minerals. Throw the fat away before serving to your doggo. (You can have some, too.)

Got extra time on your hands? You can find lots more Thanksgiving themed treats and foods for your dog online.

What is your dog’s favorite food for Thanksgiving? Post below!

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