The holidays are wonderful for many reasons — one of them being the surplus of candies, sweets, and treats we’re encouraged to indulge in. But you may feel a little guilt as you’re biting into your third Christmas cookie and notice your dog’s hopeful eyes staring up at you. You love your dog, so why shouldn’t he or she get to enjoy some festive food, too? Of course, I’m not recommending you feed your dog the same cookies you’re eating — Fido won’t process human ingredients properly. But if you don’t want your pup to feel left out this holiday season, considering make one of these three delicious and canine-friendly treat recipes. Good enough for Santa Paws himself!
1. Gingerbread Dog Treats
Gingerbread — the building material of choice for edible, candy-studded holiday homes. Aside from making great gingerbread houses and people, this delicious and spicy confection warms you from the inside out. You may already know that ginger has health benefits for you, but did you know that it can also be good for your dog? Before you share your icing-covered gingerbread cookie with Fido, though, consider this recipe for homemade ginger bread dog treats from pet blog Two Little Cavaliers. They’re simple and easy to make, and it’ll be even cuter if you use dog-shaped cookie cutters (Buy on Amazon, $9.99 for set of six) to make gingerbread pups. The blog includes instructions for a carob-based doggie-safe icing, so check out their webpage if you’re interested in going the extra mile.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup honey
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine first three ingredients in large bowl.
- Melt coconut oil in microwave (for approximately 30 seconds).
- Mix wet and dry ingredients until incorporated, refrigerate resulting dough 20 minutes.
- Roll dough to ¼ inch thick on floured surface and cut out cookies.
- Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet, bake 16-18 minutes.
- Let cool and serve.
2. Latke Treats
Crispy, savory latkes are a delicious, meaningful way to celebrate Hanukkah. These golden-brown, fried-to-perfection potato pancakes are sometimes dipped in sour cream or apple sauce — just the comforting, warming treat you want during cold wintery days. You may be tempted to share a bite or two with your dog this year — but while we understand the temptation, latkes sometimes contain onions, which aren’t great for your dog. Instead, try these pup-safe Lassie Latkes from pet website Dog Tipper to give Fido a Festival of Lights they won’t forget. As an added bonus, these contain sweet potatoes, cardamom, and ginger, which all have health benefits for your pooch.
- 9 peeled and grated sweet potatoes
- ½ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (Note: Some sources point out that black pepper isn’t great for your dog, so you may want to leave this out.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
- Transfer to large, cast-iron frying pan.
- Bake 20 minutes, stir so bottom pieces get even cooking.
- Bake another 20 minutes until potatoes are tender and caramelized.
- Let cool, serve.
3. Candy Cane–Shaped Cookie Treats
Nothing says “Christmas is almost here” quite like a big striped candy cane. Sweet, refreshing, and covered in red swirls, candy canes are snacks that signify holiday cheer. Your dog can’t chew a candy cane due to its hard, slippery texture, nor is that much sugar good for them in one sitting. To the rescue: Dog candy cane cookies from pet blog Lilies, Love, and Luna. Unlike regular candy canes, these cookies don’t have any minty flavor, as peppermint oil can be toxic to dogs. What they do have, however, is dog-friendly ingredients like pumpkin, which is high in fiber and good for your dog; peanut butter, which has lots of healthy fats and other benefits (as long as it doesn’t contain xylitol); and beets, which are packed with vitamins that are good for your pup, and also give these cookies their festive coloring (no artificial colors in sight!). See how to make this recipe from Lilies, Love, and Luna below.
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, divided in half
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- ¼ cup peanut butter (with no xylitol)
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup beet puree
- ¼ mashed banana
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- ⅓ cup spinach puree
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine half your flour, and the next four ingredients in bowl until soft dough ball form.s
- In separate bowl, combine other half of flour and last three ingredients until soft dough ball forms. (Note: Both doughs should be the consistency of play dough. Add flour if dough is too sticky.)
- Roll each dough ball into long strands, ¼ thick, and cut into 6-8 inch pieces.
- Take one piece of each color and twist together into candy cane shapes.
- Bake 20 minutes or until bottoms are slightly brown.
- Let cool and serve.
If you don’t feel like cooking — understandable, things get so busy this time of year — check out Petco’s selection of adorably decorated holiday dog treats. And as always, be mindful of the ingredients in anything your dog is eating, and don’t make any major changes to their diet without consulting your veterinarian. Finally, keep in mind that treats are best in moderation, for both humans and dogs. We hope you and your pup enjoy a happy howliday!
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