Holiday Treats for Cats and Dogs
Easy-to-Make Festive Recipes to Delight Pets
by Tonya Wilhelm
The holidays are a great time to connect with loved ones, including family pets. Although treats bring such joy to their lives, keep in mind that not all foods around the holiday table are safe for dogs and cats. There are, however, plenty of pet-safe ingredients, some of which are actually beneficial.
Cranberries, for example, have been classified as a “superfood”, which means they provide many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E and K, plus manganese. They are also high in fiber, which supports gut health. When feeding them to a pet, it is important to choose 100 percent cranberries that do not contain any sugars or preservatives.
When cooking up a batch of pet treats, coconut flour is healthier than the traditional, all-purpose flour, because it contains more fiber, protein and healthy fats. It is also gluten-free, making it a better alternative for pets with allergies.
Beef gelatin is chock-full of health benefits for pets, as it contains amino acids that help break down food, repair body tissue, support the immune system and provide energy. Among its numerous advantages, gelatin strengthens bones, muscles and cartilage, while also improving gut health, skin and fur. Always check the ingredient list. Use 100 percent gelatin and make sure there is nothing else included, especially Xylitol or birch sugar.
Sweet potatoes provide a wealth of nutrients from which both dogs and cats can benefit. They are a good source of fiber and high in antioxidants, including beta carotene, which is rich in vitamin A and supports good cognition and lung strength.
Turkey breast supplies a wide range of B vitamins, including B6 and B12. It also provides iron, potassium, zinc and selenium, which help support a healthy immune system.
All of these treats make great presents. Place them in a decorative container and gift them to pet-loving friends and family.
Holiday Treats Recipes for Pets
Sweet Potato Gummies
This recipe is cat-friendly, but a kitty may not dive into the delight.
YIELD: DEPENDS ON MOLD SIZE
3 cups water
½ cup sweet potato
3 Tbsp beef gelatin
Silicone molds and cookie sheet
Measuring cup with a spout for pouring
Boil 2 cups of water. Remove the skin from a sweet potato. Dice the sweet potato and place ½ cup into the boiling water. Boil until the sweet potato is soft and then drain it. Mash the sweet potato into a smooth consistency and set it next to the stove.
In a small saucepan, boil one cup of water. Once the water reaches a boil, quickly whisk in the gelatin. When the gelatin is dissolved, lower the heat and add the mashed sweet potato and stir over the heat. Pour the mixture into the measuring cup. Then quickly pour the hot liquid into the silicone molds. Don’t fill to the top. Because many silicone molds are floppy, place them on a cookie sheet prior to filling them.
The molds will need to be refrigerated to cool, so find a spot before pouring. Be ready: The gelatin will start to set up very quickly. Carefully place the molds into the refrigerator to set up for approximately three hours.
Remove the treats from the molds and break them into bite-sized pieces before feeding to pets. Store the gummies in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze until ready to serve. Thaw completely before serving.
Healthy Cranberry Muffins for Pets
These muffins are full of flavor and nutrition, and are healthy for both dogs and cats, although a finicky cat may turn her nose up to them.
1 cup coconut flour
⅓ apple or ⅓ cup diced apple
⅓ cup liquid (water, or bone broth)
2 cups water
¼ cup cranberries
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Rinse the fresh cranberries under cold water. Place 2 cups of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the clean cranberries into the water and boil until they pop, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the cranberries. Set the cranberries aside to cool.
Remove the seeds and core from the apple. Dice ⅓ of the apple into small bits. Mix the flour, eggs, apple, ⅓ cup liquid, melted coconut oil, cooked cranberries and baking soda in a large mixing bowl until well-blended.
Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil. Fill the muffin tins ⅔ full and place them into the oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Carefully remove and place on a cooling rack. Serve as a special treat. Place treats in a glass container and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze until ready to serve.Thaw completely before serving.
Easy Turkey Jerky for Pets
This easy turkey recipe will have felines purring with delight. It’s a healthy snack for a cat and a great dog-training treat for the clever pooch.
Fresh, boneless and skinless turkey breast
Thinly slice the turkey breast into strips—the thinner, the better. Place strips on a dehydrator tray. Do not overlap the strips. Dehydrate at 145° F until the turkey is crispy, which can take between eight to 12 hours.
Allow the turkey to cool completely before removing it from the trays. Break into little bite-sized treats for cats and dogs. Store the jerky in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze until ready to serve. Thaw completely before serving.
Tonya Wilhelm is a professional dog trainer with a holistic approach. For more information, visit RaisingYourPetsNaturally.com.