Healthy Holiday Recipes You Can Share with Your Dog or Cat

Include your dog or cat in your holiday celebrations with these festive recipes made from healthy ingredients.

The holiday season is almost upon us again! Along with all the gift shopping and decorating, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to serve family and friends —including your four-legged companions — at holiday meals and parties. Looping your dog or cat into the celebrations by treating them to a special meal or treat will help them feel included during this busy and sometimes stressful time of year. Try to choose organic ingredients whenever possible for an extra boost of nutrition and flavor. As a bonus, you can also enjoy a few of these recipes yourself!

Simple Savory Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup home prepared or store-bought onion-free stock (organic soup bases are readily available at grocery and health food stores)
  • 2 cups pureéd red apples, with skin
  • 1 tablespoon first pressed/extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

This recipe can be served “raw” or “cooked.”

Raw: Combine all ingredients, and use as a topper for regular meals. You can also pour the raw soup into ice cube trays and freeze for future use.

Cooked: Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil. As soon as you see bubbles, turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool completely before serving to your animal.

NOTE: This dish is great for people too! Whirl the cooked soup in a food processor or blender. Add a tablespoon of local honey for a sweet treat, and a dollop of yogurt for extra kick.

Feline Fish Fondue

Ingredients

  • 1 can wild salmon
  • ¼ cup first pressed/extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh catnip or parsley

Instructions

Finely chop catnip or parsley with a knife, or whirl in a food processor or blender. Whisk in olive oil. Arrange salmon on a special serving dish for your kitty, then drizzle with catnip/parsley and olive oil.

Poached Fish Bits

Ingredients

  • ¼ pound pollock, tilapia, cod, or other fish of your choice
  • 1 cup onion-free stock or filtered water
  • 3 sprigs of fresh catnip or 1 teaspoon dried catnip
  • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley, flat or curly

Instructions

Place 1 cup filtered water in saucepan. Add parsley and catnip and combine well. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer for 15 minutes. Add pieces of fish to the simmering broth, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove fish from saucepan and place on serving dish. Break up fish into tiny tantalizing pieces, and cover with broth. Remember to cool to room temperature before serving.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey thigh
  • 1 cup shredded sweet potatoes or yams
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup homemade onion-free chicken or vegetable stock

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a loaf pan or special holiday cake pan. Line with shredded sweet potatoes or yams. Add ½ cup stock and pour lightly beaten egg on top. Sprinkle ¼ cup of parsley over the mixture, then add ¼ cup of the cranberries. Distribute ground turkey evenly over mixture and add the remaining ½ cup of stock. Sprinkle sea salt over top. Add the remaining parsley and cranberries.

Gently press down mixture with a spatula, and bake for one hour. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Carob Liver Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup home prepared or store-bought onion-free stock (organic soup bases are readily available at grocery and health food stores)
  • 1 cup goat yogurt or Balkan style yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh liver, pureéd (chicken, turkey, beef, or try a novel protein, like ostrich)
  • ½ cup hemp seed flour
  • 1½ cups whole oat flour cup filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a square cake pan or line with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the whole oat flour and hemp seed flour with water, until you have a smooth consistency. Add the yogurt and liver and mix well. Add remaining ingredients, making sure that they are thoroughly blended.

Pour into cake pan, and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the top is dry to the touch and springs back when you touch it with a finger. Cool completely before serving. Store in refrigerator or cut into small squares and freeze.

For extra holiday cheer, ice the cake with low-fat cream cheese or yogurt, and decorate with fresh cranberries and parsley.

Note: If you would like to serve this special holiday dish to your animal raw, simply combine ingredients rather than layering for baking as a loaf.

Carob Truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter, with no added salt or sugar
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup carob powder
  • ½ cup goat milk or goat milk yogurt
  • Oatmeal and/or unsweetened coconut for rolling

Instructions

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine peanut butter, oatmeal, and carob powder. Form into small balls. Lightly dip in goat milk or yogurt, and roll in oatmeal and/or coconut, and place on cookie sheet.

Place in refrigerator until serving. For extra holiday flair, top each truffle with a sun-dried cranberry. These truffles freeze beautifully in Ziplock bags.

Packed with nutrition

The ingredients in these recipes are not only tasty — they also offer your dog or cat a lot of health benefits!

Carob contains all the principal vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, silicon, vitamins A, B1, and B2, niacin, and protein. Carob is considered an ideal “survival food” because it requires no preparation, lasts a long time, and has no special storage requirements.

Catnip is a rich source of vitamins A, B, and C. It stimulates appetite, aids digestion, helps calm nervous animals, and encourages restful sleep. Catnip goes way beyond being a simple “kitty aphrodisiac!”

Cinnamon has a long history of helping treat gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and flatulence. It is known as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

Coconut is rich is digestible oils and provides an excellent source of fiber, which helps remove worm eggs from our animals. The use of unsweetened desiccated coconut was pioneered by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, author of The Complete Handbook for the Dog and Cat, first published in 1955. She suggested one dessert spoon of desiccated coconut be given to average-sized dogs, three or four times a week.

Cranberries are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. They contain a variety of bioactive components, including the antioxidants proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid.

  • Anthocyanins are the pigments that give cranberries their rich red color, and have been found to have the strongest antioxidant power of 150 flavonoids tested, including vitamin E. Anthocyanins also have an anti-inflammatory action that can even help lessen allergic reactions — 50 to 80 mg of this powerful antioxidant are found in a 100 g serving of cranberries.
  • Proanthocyanidins belong to the bioflavonoid family and Help strengthen blood vessels and improve the delivery of oxygen to cell membranes.
  • Ellagic acid has been found to cause apoptosis or “cell death” in cancer cells in laboratory settings. Cranberries also contain dietary fiber, manganese, and vitamin K, and are rich in vitamin C and tannins, which help keep bacteria like E. coli, the most common cause of urinary tract infections, from adhering to the walls of our dogs’ and cats’ urinary tracts.

Ginger is recognized as the most effective anti-nausea herb, and is well tolerated by animals of all ages. It acts as a digestive tonic and relieves stomach and intestinal gas. Ginger stimulates the digestive juices and is beneficial in the expulsion of worms.

Goat’s milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk products. It contains a different protein than cow’s milk, 13% less lactose, and its fat particles are small, making them very easy to digest. Goat’s milk also has more vitamins A and B than cow’s milk.

Hemp is one of the most nutritious foods we can share with our animals. It is a powerhouse of essential fatty acids, containing Omega-3 in the form of alpha linolenic acid, Omega-6 in the form of linolenic acid and gamma linoleic acid, and Omega-9 (just like in olive oil), in the form of oleic acid. Hemp’s fatty acid profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil, and is a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to fish oil. Hemp is a gluten-free protein source and is rich in vitamins C and E, and chlorophyll. It also has an excellent amino acid profile, and is heart smart and joint friendly.

Oats soothe the digestive and nervous systems. They are low in starch and high in mineral content, especially potassium and phosphorus. Oats also contain vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, and are a very good source of iron. They cleanse the intestines of impurities and are recognized as a strength-giving cereal.

Olive oil is a very rich source of vitamins A and E, helping to neutralize cancer-causing free radicals. It is also rich in Omega-9 oleic acid, a monosaturated fat that helps protect the heart and support skin health. When purchasing olive oil, ensure that the label says “extra virgin” and/or “first pressed,” which means the oil has come from the first pressing of the olives; it has the most health benefits.

Parsley is one of our most concentrated food sources. It is rich in iron, provitamin A, and vitamin C. It also contains calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. Parsley has a mild diuretic effect, helping to flush bacteria from the urinary tract.

Red apples are rich in antioxidants. One red apple is the equivalent of about 1,500 mg of vitamin C. They contain the phytochemicals, lycopene and anthocyanins, along with calcium, chlorine, fluorine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and sulphur, and trace minerals. Red Delicious, Northern Spy, and Ida Red have more potent disease-fighting antioxidants than other apples, which is reflected in their higher levels of polyphenol activity.

Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and are referred to as an “anti-diabetic food” because research has demonstrated they can help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and are soothing to the digestive tract. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, vitamins B6, C, E, copper, dietary fiber, iron, manganese, and potassium.

Yams are a heart smart power-packed food, rich in vitamins B6 and C, dietary fiber, manganese, and potassium

 

 


Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is also the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award.


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