Thanksgiving is a tradition that is centered around a delicious meal shared with friends and family. While we mostly think of the humans we love with this tradition, we can’t forget our four-legged family members. After all, our pups bring so much joy and happiness into our lives, so it seems natural that we would want to share this gratitude-filled Thanksgiving feast with them!
Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to make a Thanksgiving feast that both you and your pup can enjoy without any harm to their digestive system. Use these tips to make a grand Thanksgiving feast for your dog this holiday season.
Dog-friendly stuffing is a lot easier to make than you would think, and it can be enjoyed by your human guests, as well! Remember that dogs digestive systems aren’t as hardy as ours, so stick to gluten-free bread crumbs and unsalted pantry items to keep your doggy’s tummy safe. Garlic and onions are no-nos for dogs and can be toxic in large amounts, so keep these out of your stuffing, too. Here is an adapted recipe that involves a bit of prep but is totally worth it via Heidi Biesterveld, canine nutritionist:
- 8 cups gluten-free bread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes
- 6 cups gluten-free cornbread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound ground turkey sausage
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 cups celery, diced
- 1/2 cup parsley sprigs, finely chopped
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (look for seasoning low in sodium)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock (look for a chicken stock low in sodium)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Pour breadcrumbs into a very large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain out any fat and then set aside.
- Into the same skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add celery and parsley and sauté for 6-8 minutes.
- Add Granny Smith apples. Sauté for another minute, and then pour this mixture over the bread crumbs you set aside.
- Add poultry seasoning, salt, sage, thyme, marjoram, and pepper to the stuffing mix. Toss lightly to mix. Add chicken broth. Stir. Add more broth if your pup prefers a softer texture.
- Add sausage and beaten eggs. Mix well!
- Grease a large Crock-Pot with butter (unsalted!) or nonstick spray. Pack stuffing into the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for another 4-6 hours longer.
The Main Dish: Turkey!
The good news is your pup can eat skinless turkey pieces from the turkey you are cooking for the rest of your human family. Again, be sure you are not seasoning it with garlic or onion, as these can be unsafe for dogs. When you are giving your dog turkey, be sure not to go too crazy. Although the turkey is safe for your dog, giving your dog something as rich as turkey when they are used to their standard daily dog food can do a number on their stomach. The rule of thumb is to give your dog only 25% of what they would normally eat for a meal. This way they can enjoy the delicious turkey without having the runs.
Dessert: Pumpkin Smoothies!
Your dog may be begging for a slice of your human pumpkin pie, but all of that sugar and butter in a standard pie can serve some severe damage to your pup’s pancreas. Instead, opt for a probiotic smoothie that your dog will love. Use half of a cup of pumpkin puree (make sure it is not sweetened) and half a cup of plain, non-fat yogurt. Put these two simple ingredients in the blender and blend on high until smooth. You can serve it to your pup right away or you can freeze it overnight for longer-lasting licking! Your pup won’t even realize they’re eating something packed with fiber and vitamin A, which can help soothe upset stomachs after a full Thanksgiving feast.
Remember, just like humans, dogs will want to go overboard with all of the tasty treats presented to them on Thanksgiving. Be sure to give smaller amounts of these treats to insure their digestive systems stay healthy.
Are you planning on celebrating Thanksgiving with your pup in a special way? Let us know in the comments.