Pet Recipes

Pets want holiday treats, too!

When you celebrate, your pets want to celebrate with you. You have cake, so they want cake. You have a tossed salad, and they think they want one, too! But they shouldn’t have sweet frosting or anything with Xylitol as a sweetener. Some things we might share aren’t healthy, such as raisins and nuts.

The good news is that while you are in the kitchen making goodies for Christmas, you can make your pets some healthy treats without much effort. You probably even have the ingredients in your kitchen!

Purchasing a dehydrator at an outdoor gear store can initially be a big expense, but it will save you as much as you spend, and you can control what your pets eat.

For dogs

Dried fruit, such as apples, are easy to make and last a long time in a container. Thinly slice apples after removing the core. You can peel them or not. Any apples will do, as long as they are firm. Both green and red apples dehydrate well. Place slices on the dehydrator shelves and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon (not cinnamon sugar). Cinnamon has many healthy effects, such as stabilizing blood sugar and fending off fleas and ticks. You can also dehydrate bananas, blueberries and sweet potatoes. Limit the number of banana and sweet potato pieces because too much potassium can dangerously speed heart rate. Remember that dehydrated foods expand when introduced to the stomach’s juices. So limit these treats more than you would others.

Plain frozen yogurt is as tasty to dogs as it is to us! But be sure that you freeze sugar-free, plain yogurt in plastic ice cube trays. You might mix fruit or cinnamon into the yogurt before filling the ice tray pockets about half-full. Plain yogurt on dog food makes the food irresistible! And yogurt supports the digestive system.

Dogs love green beans and carrots. Our black lab string beans frozen, thawed or cooked. Vets recommend that green beans are a great way to fill a glutton’s tummy without adding many calories. If you serve canned green beans, look for low sodium options.

Most pulpy fruits, such as peaches, cantaloupe and watermelon are safe for dogs. Just remove the seeds and rinds. Citrus fruits can cause tummy upset.

For cats offers some great, simple recipes! Some are more extravagant, such as Super Salmon Smashers.

Catnip pancakes– Knead 4 oz. ground sirloin, 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of catnip into a ball. Then flatten it on a cookie sheet. Broil at 425 degrees for 8 minutes (4 minutes on each side) or until crisp. Let cool for 30 minutes and cut into bite-size pieces.

Tuna balls – Combine 1 can of drained tuna, ½ cup cut turkey or chicken and 2/3 cup dry cat food with optional sliced vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or asparagus until well-mixed. Form into small balls and chill for about an hour. Roll the balls in bread crumbs or crushed cat food and serve.

Cats don’t generally like fruits and prefer moist proteins.

AVOID avocados, raisins, onions, garlic, nuts, yeast, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, milk and dairy. Also limit coconut or coconut oil to small amounts. The fats and oil can cause gastric distress. 

Share the joy and tastes of the holiday with your pets. Plan ahead like you do for the rest of the family, and be careful to reduce their mealtime food to account for the treats. Healthy treats for both of you is a great new year’s resolution, too! You can enjoy many of the same healthy fruits and veggies, as well as lean meats and proteins. If you wonder if a particular food is safe for your dog, cat or rodent, simply search it online or visit our blog index on the right side of this page.

If you have other questions or topics for a blog post, leave us a comment below or contact us!

By Beth Crosby

Need a tasty treat for your pets? Make a batch of these tasty treats to enjoy extra purrs and wags. The treats are easy to make and require just two ingredients and no measuring or stirring. Plus, they contain no fillers, which is a boon for pets who need more protein in their diet. They're also a great option for pets who are allergic to wheat or corn, two common ingredients in commercially sold treats. 

Liver Treats


Liver (raw, unseasoned)

Lemon juice or white or apple cider vinegar


Freeze the liver until it's "fudgy" inside, but not frozen solid. That makes the meat easier to cut. Slice the liver in consistently thin strips. Cut into lengths the right size for your dog's size. For cats, cut into kibble-sized pieces. 

Soak the liver pieces in lemon juice or vinegar a few minutes, which helps it dry better. Blot the pieces with paper towels. Arrange strips on racks on jelly roll pans and place in a pre-heated, 275-degree oven. For kitty treats, make sure you turn them every half hour or so. With the oven door ajar, bake for several hours, until the liver is dry, like jerky. It's important to make sure the treats are completely dry or they can spoil quickly since they won't be shelf stable.

While the treats bake, keep an eye on the oven. Your dog sitting near the open door may feel tempted to investigate this delicious aroma. And don't forget about cats' curiosity! 

If you give plates of treats to friends and neighbors, Liver Treats can include their pets in the fun. Package the treats in an airtight jar. Include a copy of the Liver Treats recipe on a card so they can refill the jar with their own treats.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

One thing everyone can agree on in Fall is pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie—it’s everywhere, and chances are, you can agree that something pumpkin flavored is delicious. Can our dogs and cats enjoy the wonder that is pumpkin this season right along with us?

Of course they can! Natural pumpkin (either the kind you cook yourself, or unsweetened cans of pumpkin—not pumpkin pie mix) can be a great treat for your dog (or cat!). Chocked full of vitamins, fiber, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, pumpkin is a great—and healthy—treat this season for your furry friends.

Digestion and Diet

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, which can help your furry pals with either constipation or a bout of diarrhea. Increased dietary fiber adds bulk to stool, which in turn stimulates the colon wall and helps move stool through your pet. The additional fiber also absorbs excess water in stool. My dogs have always been excited to see some pumpkin mixed in with their kibble, though cats may be a bit more finicky. Try offering it in small portions to let her investigate the new treat, or you can try mixing it in with a bit of canned food. 

Tasty for your pet, while low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol, pumpkin also adds some great nutrition to your pet’s diet, with very few calories. Fiber helps promote the feeling of fullness, and removing a little bit of kibble and adding in a little unsweetened pumpkin can aid your pet’s weight loss efforts.  It won’t hurt to add a little to each meal, but as with any dietary change, you should always discuss any questions with your veterinarian. 

And don’t forget about the seeds, which—raw or baked—provide omega 3 fatty acids, and play an important role in skin and hair health, as well as contribute to joint health and inflammation control. Too many can cause diarrhea though, so go easy on pumpkin seeds as a treat. One to a few each day, depending on the size of your dog (about one a day for cats) is likely sufficient. The seeds can also be ground and added to your pet’s regular meal.

DIY Treats

If your pets loves crunchy treats, do a quick online search for “homemade pumpkin dog (or cat) treats” and see what turns up. Just make sure your recipes don’t call for chocolate, which is toxic to dogs (but carob is a great alternative). Your veterinarian will be able to check over your recipe’s ingredients if you have any questions.

You can also simply add some pureed, unsweetened pumpkin to your favorite treat recipe.

If you have some unsweetened pumpkin left over, pipe it into tablespoon size balls and set your plate in the freezer. Once frozen, dump them into a bag and you’ll have bite-size treats ready for Fido anytime.  (Bonus—frozen pumpkin will keep much longer than refrigerated pumpkin!)

Unsweetened canned pumpkin, fresh pumpkin, and pumpkin seeds are all safe and healthy treats for your dogs, and cats, this season. So feel free to partake—it’s one nutritious, seasonal treat your pet can safely enjoy with the whole family!

By Rachel Leisemann Immel

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