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.

Crunchy Beef Biscuits

The dog treats that I typically share on this blog have a soft texture, because I think that more closely mimics the look of “people cookies” (plus, my dog Pacey likes soft treats best). But I realize that sometimes it’s good to switch things up, so this recipe yields super crunchy biscuits that have a texture similar to Milk Bones.

It contains only two ingredients, so this recipe literally couldn’t be any simpler! The most important step is to use high quality ingredients. It’s best if you can make your own beef broth, but a store-bought broth will also work well. If you choose to use store-bought broth, just be sure to choose one that is natural, low fat, and low sodium.

If the dough isn’t coming together easily, you can add more beef broth by the teaspoonful. Take care to add no more than just enough broth to bind the flour together, because adding too much moisture to the dough will affect the texture of the finished treats.

Crunchy Beef Biscuits

Crunchy Beef Biscuits

Makes about 7 dozen (1 1/2-inch) treats

 

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2/3 cup beef broth

 

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

2. Stir the flour and beef broth together in a bowl. Knead by hand until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

3. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough out into pieces.

4. Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet. The pieces can be placed close together, because the dough will not spread during baking.

5. Bake for 28 minutes. Flip the treats over, return to the oven, and continue baking for an additional 28 minutes.

6. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and leave the treats inside the oven to dry out for about 2 hours.

 

These treats should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon Roll Treats

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls are truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. Unfortunately for dogs, they can’t have all of the delicious butter and sugar that make our cinnamon rolls so heavenly, but these cute little dog treats do capture the beautiful, cinnamon-y spiral of the people-food version.

The two-tone spiral on the finished treats may look complicated, but the recipe is actually fairly easy to make. The only tricky part is shaping the dough. It’s important to put the time and energy into rolling each of the dough layers out into an even rectangle so that you end up with a neatly rolled log. If the dough layers don’t start out at an even thickness and shape, you won’t end up with a nice, uniform spiral in the end.

You’ll notice right away that the honey dough is a lot “softer” and stickier than the cinnamon dough. To ensure that the assembled log of dough stays together, be sure to allow time for the log to chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. After the dough has chilled, you’ll find that it’s much easier to slice and that you’ll have much better looking treats as a result.

These treats are HUGE. Unless you have a monster dog, you’ll need to cut or break each treat into small pieces before serving it. Don’t worry, these treats are very soft so that you can easily break off appropriately sized chunks using your hands (or you could slice them into more uniform pieces using a knife).

Cinnamon Roll Treats

Cinnamon Roll Treats

Makes about 18 large treats

Honey Dough:

3 cups unbleached white flour

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup honey

Cinnamon Dough:

3 cups whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Make the honey dough: combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and then knead by hand until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and reserve.

3. Make the cinnamon dough: combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and then knead by hand until the mixture forms a smooth, homogenous dough.

4. Roll the cinnamon dough out into a rectangle about 8 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long and 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with the reserved honey dough, creating a rectangle of the same dimensions.

5. Place the rectangle of cinnamon dough on top of the rectangle of honey dough and gently press down to adhere the two layers of dough together. Use a sharp knife to trim any ragged edges off of the dough, creating a neat rectangle.

6. Starting with the edge of the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up (like you would a jelly roll) to form a log about 12 inches long.

8. Wrap the log completely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

9. Remove the plastic wrap from the log. Using a sharp slicing knife, slice the log into slices 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. The slices will be about 3 inches wide. (Try to keep the treats as round as possible, but as they’re cut the slices will inevitably squish a little bit to form more of a “biscotti” shape with a flattened bottom edge.)

9. Arrange the treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each treat over, and return to the oven. Continue baking until the treats are lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes more.

These treats are best stored in the refrigerator.

Bacon Biscuits

There’s no doubt that your dog will beg and beg for more of these delicious bacon treats! But just like humans, dogs shouldn’t overindulge in rich, fatty foods, so these meaty biscuits should be given only sparingly as a special treat.

It’s important when making this recipe to be sure to cook the bacon until it’s really crispy and to drain it very, very well. After pouring the grease off of the cooked bacon, take the time to pat any remaining grease off of the bacon slices using a paper towel.

 Bacon Biscuits

Bacon Biscuits

Makes about 2 dozen (2-inch long) treats

 

5 thick-cut slices bacon, cooked well, drained, and crumbled

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting

2 cups water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the crumbled bacon with the flour.

3. Stir the water into the dry ingredients, and knead the mixture by hand until it forms a smooth dough.

4. Generously dust the countertop with flour, and roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into pieces using your desired cookie cutter.

5. Arrange the treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until the treats are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

 

Since these treats contain meat, they must be stored in the refrigerator.

Doggie Dim Sum

I love Chinese food of all kinds but especially dumplings. When I was living in Poughkeepsie, New York, my friends and I discovered the greatest hole-in-the-wall dumpling place. (Due to some confusing signage, there’s still much debate as to whether this restaurant is named “Dumplings Palace” or “Palace Dumplings.”) The menu features several types of soup, a couple seaweed salads, and about 40 different types of dumplings. The kitchen staff consists solely of one little old man who works tirelessly to make all of the dumplings from scratch. Each type of dumpling at this place was more delicious than the next, and my mouth is watering just reminiscing about it.

This dog-friendly recipe is a take-off on the Chinese dumplings that I love so much. I used cheese as the filling (because what dog doesn’t love cheese?), but you could use diced fruit, fully cooked bacon or lean ground meat, or any combination that you like. These dumplings are a great snack for larger dogs, but they can be messy and unmanageable for smaller dogs—especially with more crumbly fillings. If you’ve got a smaller dog, you may want to cut the dumpling in half or quarters or even to make the dumplings without any filling to cut down on the mess.

Cheese Dumplings

Makes about 20

 

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 large egg

3/4 cup homemade or low sodium, low fat chicken broth

Low fat cheese cubes, as needed

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the flours, baking powder, and ginger in a bowl. Stir in the egg and broth. Knead the mixture by hand until a smooth dough forms.

3. On a very lightly floured surface, roll the dough out as thinly as you can. Use 3-inch round cutter (or the rim of a glass) to cut the dough into circles.

4. Place a cheese cube on the center of each circle of dough. Bring the edges of the dough over the filling and pinch it together to form a little bundle.

5. Arrange the dumplings on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

6. Allow the dumplings to cool completely before serving.

 

These treats must be stored in the refrigerator.

Carrot Mini Muffins

Bunnies aren’t the only animals that get to enjoy eating carrots this time of year! Carrots are possibly the most nutritious vegetable for dogs. They are low in calories and high in antioxidants, beta carotene, and soluble and insoluble fiber. The carrots in this recipe are pureed, but chunks or slices of carrots or baby carrots can be fed as a snack to help clean your dog’s teeth naturally. Frozen carrots also make a great chew-toy for puppies that are teething.

Carrot Mini Muffins

Makes 38 muffins

 

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

3 medium carrots, peeled, shredded

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch cinnamon

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the honey, oil, egg, and carrots in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir well to combine.

5. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners, and spray each one lightly with cooking spray. Fill each mini muffin cup about 2/3 of the way full with the batter.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 16 minutes.

 

Store these treats in the refrigerator.

Orange-Coconut Biscotti

Pacey living on the edge by stealing a piece of biscotti while I tried to take a photo!

Pacey living on the edge by stealing a piece of biscotti while I was setting up to take a photo!

These kooky little cookies would be fun any time of year, but using pretty pastel colors makes them a very sweet Easter treat. When dyed green, the shredded coconut kind of resembles the grass-like filling that often adorns Easter baskets–but you could choose another color food coloring if you like or just leave the coconut white if you’re in a hurry.

I honestly wasn’t sure if coconut was safe for dogs, so I looked it up. When I did, I learned not only that coconut is wholesome, but that some people are actually calling it a doggie “super food.” It contains a protein called albumin that aids the formation of red blood cells, and coconut is also naturally rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid that helps boost dogs’ immune systems and fight off infections.

The other flavoring ingredient in these treats is orange zest. The flesh of an orange is definitely safe for dogs, but you typically want to avoid giving them the orange seeds and/or peel; however, the small amount of finely grated peel in this recipe is added only for flavoring and is not nearly enough to have any effect. If you’re really concerned, just add a couple tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice in place of the zest.

MESS WARNING: These treats are super messy, especially for little dogs that are going to have to take some time to chomp through the whole thing. If your dog is a particularly messy eater, you may want to give these treats outside or make sure that the dog stays in a spot inside the house that’s easy to clean up. If you’ve dyed the coconut and/or used colored icing, be very careful that your dog doesn’t lick away at one of these treats on carpet or furniture, because there’s a chance it’ll leave a stain.

Orange-Coconut Biscotti

Makes about 16

 

About 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Gel food coloring, as needed

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons honey

2 eggs

1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups yogurt chips, white chocolate, carob chips, or candy coating, or as needed

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Place the coconut in a large Ziploc bag. Add several drops of food coloring, and seal the bag. Shake and knead the bag to evenly color the coconut. Add more food coloring as needed to achieve the color that you want. Reserve at room temperature until needed.

3. Combine the water, oil, honey, eggs, and orange peel in a bowl.

4. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Knead the mixture by hand until it forms a smooth dough.

5. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half of dough into a log about 8 inches long. Arrange the two logs of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (They should both fit on a standard baking sheet, but if you find that your baking sheet is too small, simply use two separate baking sheets. It’s not a problem to bake them both in the oven at the same time.)

6. Gently press down on the top of each of the logs to slightly flatten it against the baking sheet.

7. Bake until the logs feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the log comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

8. When the logs are cool enough to handle, cut each one into 1-inch slices.

9. Arrange the slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and return to the oven for 8 minutes.

10. Turn each of the slices over, and return to the oven for 8 minutes more.

11. After baking, turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and leave the biscotti in the oven for about 1 hour to harden.

12. Once the biscotti have hardened, prepare the icing that you’d like to use. (I melted candy coating, because I wanted the cookies to be bright and colorful for Easter.) Bring a small pot of water to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Place the chips in a glass or metal bowl just large enough to fit on top of the pot of simmering water. Place the bowl on top of the pot. Be sure to stir frequently with a rubber spatula as the chips melts to prevent them from scorching. The water should stay at a simmer. If it begins to boil enough to actually touch the bottom of the bowl, remove the bowl from the pot and turn down the heat to establish a simmer before replacing the bowl. Be sure to remove the bowl from the heat as soon as the coating is completely melted.

13. Dip the bottom half of a biscotti in the melted icing to coat it. Work carefully, allowing any excess icing to drip back into the bowl. Immediately dip the iced biscotti in the shredded coconut to coat. Place the biscotti on a piece of wax or parchment paper to set. Repeat with the remaining slices of biscotti.

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.

Chicken Dog Biscuits

I created these dog treats as a homage to my Hungarian roots. They feature chicken and paprika, the flavors of the famous Hungarian stew Chicken Paprikash. Paprika is such a strong spice that you don’t want to use too much or it can become irritating to more sensitive digestive systems, so I only put about 1 teaspoon in this recipe. The paprika can easily be omitted all together if you are concerned, or you could get creative and substitute a teaspoon of another dried herb, like parsley or sage. If you are including the paprika, take care that you’re using “sweet” paprika only, not “smoked” or “hot” paprika.

 Chicken Biscuits

Chicken Dog Biscuits

Makes about 40

 

2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 egg

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and knead by hand to form a smooth dough.

3. Continue kneading until the dough is elastic enough to roll out, 2 to 3 minutes. The kneaded dough will be easiest to roll if you allow it to rest (uncovered at room temperature) for a couple minutes before rolling it out.

4. Generously flour the countertop, and roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into pieces using your desired cookie cutter.

5. Arrange the treats on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes.

 

NOTE: If your dog prefers crunchier treats, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and leave the treats to dry out for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

 

These biscuits are best stored in the refrigerator.