Turkey Day Treats

This year, instead of caving in when your dog comes begging at your Thanksgiving table, be sure to have these tasty turkey-flavored dog treats handy. You don’t even need to cook the turkey ahead of time to make this super simple recipe. Just combine everything in a bowl, roll into meatballs, and bake.

Ground turkey is a very lean meat and a great source of protein for your pooch; however, you really should resist ever feeding your dog turkey from your table. The skin of a roasted (or fried) turkey is fatty, poses a choking hazard, and can even cause pancreatitis. The turkey meat isn’t safe either, because the cooked bones splinter very easily and are a major choking hazard–for people as well as pets. And, as tempting as it may be, you should also avoid giving your dog any bites of your salty, butter-laden side dishes (like veggie casseroles or gravy) or any candy, desserts, or alcohol that may be around the house during the holiday season.

Turkey Day Treats

Turkey Day Dog Treats

Makes about 50 treats

1 pound raw ground turkey

1/2 cup water

1 egg

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Combine the turkey, water, and egg in a bowl, and stir to combine.

3. Stir in the flour, and knead the mixture by hand until it forms a smooth dough.

4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 23 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.

NOTE:  Dogs, just like people, are susceptible to bacteria, so as soon as these treats are cool enough to handle they should transferred to the refrigerator for storage.

Spiced Pear Dog Treats

“Spiced pear” may be a flavor that seems a tad bit sophisticated for dog treats at first glance. However, these treats were a big hit with my dog Pacey. Any dog that likes apples is sure to enjoy the fruity sweetness of pears, and the blend of three different spices gives this recipe a little more pizazz. In fact, the balance of sweetness and spice makes these the perfect treats for your dog to share with YOU! Although to people they’re more like a cracker than a cookie, the treats are actually pretty flavorful–they also fill the house with an amazing autumnal aroma as they bake.

I cut my batch of treats into really large pear-shaped pieces, about 3 1/2 inches long. If you use a smaller cutter, be sure to keep an eye on the treats as they bake, because you don’t want the treats to get overly browned and you probably won’t need the full 20 minutes of baking time that is listed in the recipe.

Spiced Pear Treats

Spiced Pear Dog Treats

Makes about 12 large treats

 

1 medium pear, peeled and grated

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup water

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground ginger

1 pinch ground allspice

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Place the pear, honey, and water in a bowl and stir to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, while stirring to combine. Use your hands to knead the mixture until it forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

5. On a floured countertop, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into pieces. Arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip each of the treats over and continue baking until firm to the touch and slightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Allow the treats to cool completely before serving.

 

Store these treats in the refrigerator.

Sweet Potato Dog Biscuits

The main ingredient in this recipe is a sweet potato. Not a yam. Despite the way that we Americans tend to use the two terms interchangeably, yams and sweet potatoes are NOT the same thing. True yams have a rough, dark skin with white, purple, or red flesh. They are also native to Africa and other tropical regions, and do not grow well in North America. The tubers so familiar to our Thanksgiving tables are actually sweet potatoes. Their orange flesh is soft and sweet and their skin is coppery-orange. Sweet potatoes are also moister and less starchy than yams, and the ends of sweet potatoes are tapered whereas yams have a more rounded shape.

Now that you’re educated on correct tuber terminology, it’s time to choose the perfect sweet potato. When in the produce aisle, you want to look for a sweet potato with smooth skin that is free of bruises and/or cuts. You do not want to find a lot of white strings sprouting out, because that is a sign that the sweet potato will be tough (because it has overmatured).

For this recipe, microwaving is the quickest way to prepare the sweet potato for mashing. (However, you can bake or boil if you prefer.) First, use a fork or paring knife to pierce the sweet potato’s skin a few times on each side. Place the sweet potato on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes. When it’s done the flesh should be very soft and the skin should be very easy to peel away with your hand or a paring knife. Remove the skin and discard it. Mash the flesh using a fork. It’s that easy! Just be sure to allow the mash to cool before you add it to the other ingredients in this recipe.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Makes about 7 dozen (1-inch) treats

 

3/4 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium sweet potato)

2 eggs

1/4 cup water

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the mashed sweet potato, eggs, and water in a bowl.

3. Stir in the whole wheat flour, and knead until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cookie cutter to cut the dough into pieces. Arrange the pieces on an ungreased baking sheet; they can be placed rather close together because these treats will not spread during baking.

5. Bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. If desired, flip the cookies over halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.