Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe For Your Dog and Cat

healthy thanksgiving dinner for dogs and catsThanksgiving Ingredients That Are Healthy For Dogs and Cats: Keep It Plain and Simple

Have you ever seen people put traditional Thanksgiving dinner into the dog or cat’s bowl as a “treat?” Well, dogs and cats can’t handle cream, butter, salt and pepper, or other seasonings and ingredients that you and I love on Thanksgiving. But plain turkey, potatoes, and veggies are perfect for a dog-friendly meal. Here’s what you should feed your pet on Thanksgiving:

  • Plain, Skinless Turkey – it’s great for pets, and even considered the safest meat for dogs that are prone to allergies
  • Cranberries – a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants
  • Pumpkin – the plain, pure kind: so no pumpkin pie!
  • Yams –  full of fiber and super healthy
  • Veggies – plain, steamed green beans (not the casserole!), peas, carrots, etc
  • Sweet Potatoes – you all know I love feeding sweet potato treats to my pups every change I get!
  • Plain mashed potatoes – no butter or seasonings! 

Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner For Pets

I wanted to make sure whatever I fed my dogs on Thanksgiving was going to be a tasty treat for them without compromising their health. I’d hate to give them something that would give them upset bellies, diarrhea, or worse! This should be a fun experience, not one that leaves us in the emergency vet!

Back To Basics:

IMG_2231I made a pet-friendly Thanksgiving dinner consisting of:

  • Mashed sweet potatoes with homemade pet-friendly gravy
  • Homemade Pet-Friendly Gravy: pureed pumpkin & turkey or chicken broth
  • Green beans, carrots, and peas (steamed)
  • Skinless, boneless turkey
  • Cranberries

The gravy was my personal favorite… rather than a gravy filled with fat and seasonings that pets certainly can’t have, I blended two things that are so healthy for pets: pumpkin and chicken broth!

IMG_2223This gravy can be used all year long to mix with dry kibble when your dog is bored with the same-old dry flavor and consistency. 

Making A Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving Meal Is Easy!

Since we are a week away from the real Thanksgiving, I didn’t have the roasted turkey or any other ingredients that we’ll have to use on the big day. It’ll be easy on Thanksgiving day to make your dog’s dinner from the ingredients you’re using to make the Thanksgiving meal for your family. 

Instead, I simply bought:

  • Pre-packaged, cooked turkey lunch meat 
  • Canned pureed pumpkin
  • Sweet potato: baked or cooked in the microwave
  • Carrots, Green Beans, and Peas: Canned
  • Cranberries (packaged like raisins) 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

IMG_2225Since I was tight on time, I just cooked the sweet potato in the microwave for 5 minutes and mashed it with a potato masher. The dogs loved them!

 Verdict: Our Thanksgiving Dog Dinner Was A Hit! 

Jem could hardly wait to try it!

Jem could hardly wait to try it!

She went for the mashed sweet potatoes first...

She went for the mashed sweet potatoes first…

Then went in for the Turkey...

Then went in for the Turkey…

She loved that so much, she licked her plate clean!

She loved that so much, she licked her plate clean!

She played with the veggies more than she ate them! Not her favorite...

She played with the veggies more than she ate them! Not her favorite…

Zoey gave the sweet potatoes a lick...

Zoey gave the sweet potatoes a lick…

Then she took a taste of the turkey...

Then she took a taste of the turkey…

And she decided she wanted to eat her Turkey first, unlike Jem!

And she decided she wanted to eat her Turkey first, unlike Jem!

She liked her plate clean, too... success!

She liked her plate clean, too… success!

Surprise! Buddy is back for the winter season… he’s a snowbird

Buddy also went in for the turkey first thing!

Buddy also went in for the turkey first thing!

He loved it!

He loved it!

Like a good boy he ate his veggies!

Like a good boy he ate his veggies!

Now those are tasty!

Now those are tasty!

The dogs LOVED their healthy pet-friendly Thanksgiving meal, and I’m so glad they could join in on the tradition without risking a belly ache or severe health scare. Happy bellies all around! 

Be Careful: You Can’t Suddenly Switch Your Dog’s Diet

Have you ever decided to suddenly switch your dog’s food without transitioning? Doing so leaves your dog’s digestive system in shambles, and you probably had a ton of piles on the floor to clean. You can’t switch your dog from a bowl of dry kibble to a plate full of human food on Thanksgiving without wreaking havoc on your dog’s tummy. 

Just give your dog a little taste as a treat, but don’t make an entire meal out of it. A small portion of food that isn’t too saturated in fat and oils will be just right! 

Thanksgiving Dinner Beware!

The scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner we all know and love isn’t exactly dog friendly… there are ingredients and components of the traditional Thanksgiving meal that would leave your dog with a belly ache or worse – a table-scrap mishap that leads to an all-nighter at the emergency vet!

I was searching the internet for a dog-friendly thanksgiving meal, and I was actually appalled at how many reputable dog bloggers were saying to use “garlic powder” or fresh, chopped garlic for dogs! They were suggesting that readers use way too many toxic ingredients in their dog recipes, and I feel compelled to set the record straight on what ingredients your dog can and CAN’T have on Thanksgiving. 

Ingredients To Avoid Feeding Your Dog:

  • Onions – contain thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs: causes the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body to burst
  • Garlic – minute amounts are believed to be non-toxic, but large ingestions are very toxic, so why take the risk at all?
  • Gravy – it’s fatty and known to cause pancreastitis in dogs. No sauces made with wine, either! 
  • Turkey Skin- the seasonings aren’t good for pups!
  • Bones! Dogs are born to chew on bones, but not the brittle and the tiny pieces from Turkeys that cause obstructions in their intestines
  • Stuffing – the bread, salt, and fat isn’t good for your pet! 
  • Casseroles – onions, spices , and butter are a big no, and dairy causes diarrhea! Stay away from casseroles and dishes with more than 2 ingredients for dogs
  • Dinner Rolls – your dog doesn’t process grains or gluten as easily as you do, so it’s not worth giving to your pet

Chief veterinarian with Los Angeles Animal Services says: “Veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to digestive problems after the holidays because humans invite their animals to celebrate with high fat meals.”

You don’t want to spend Thanksgiving night at the emergency veterinarian due to a table-scrap mishap! Educate your family and guests on what foods are safe and which ones are not when slipping your dog or cat a treat. And always keep the ASPCA’s poison control center contact info nearby: 888-426-4435.


Thanksgiving Inspired Dog Treats For Your Grateful Dog

Thanksgiving Dog Treats For A Grateful Pup I love to tell people that my dogs are so well behaved, and they would never beg for food… But let’s be honest, even the most well-behaved, gentle, sweet, and obedient dogs so desperately want whatever mouth-watering food is on your plate. Just the smell alone is enough to make them wonder why they have to eat boring dry kibble while we devour our 4 course meal. Especially at Thanksgiving! And because I’m so thankful for my dogs and the joy they bring to my life every minute of the day throughout the whole year, I think they deserve a “thank you” treat on my favorite holiday. It’s a holiday when I count my blessings, and I want my dogs to know how thankful I am for them. 

IMG_1911 copyThese Thanksgiving-inspired doggy treats have just the right amount of Turkey Day flair mixed with Fall flavors that make me really get into the Holiday Spirit! With the sweet potatoes, chicken (or turkey!) broth, cornmeal, and Granny Smith apples, I feel like I’m hitting all the Fall holiday bases.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients 

IMG_1724 copyJem always takes this step a little to literally… she gathers her ingredients, indeed! Particularly the sweet potato…

IMG_1732 copyWithout fail, each and every time we make treats Jem will grab one of the ingredients to snack on. Zoey just looks at her in disbelief. She just doesn’t understand the obsession!IMG_1757 copyIngredients:

  • Mashed sweet potatoes, cooked plain: 3/4 cup 
  •  Chicken, turkey, or beef broth: 6 tablespoons 
  • Whole wheat pastry flour: 2 cups 
  • Fine yellow cornmeal: 1/2 cup 
  • Finely chopped mint: 1/4 cup 
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated

 IMG_1763 copyPreheat the oven to 325°F for the cookies.

To bake the sweet potato: bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes.

A little trick: you can cook the sweet potato in the microwave for 5:00 if you’re in a hurry vs approx 30-45 minutes in the oven. Should we be worried that the microwave is capable of that…? 

Step 2: Prep Your Ingredients

If you’re worried about the cookies sticking, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Chop the mint by hand…

IMG_1776 copyOr use a Ninja/food processor to chop it finely…

IMG_1779 copyCore and cut the apple…

IMG_1791 copyAnd cut off the skin…

IMG_1794 copyYou can chop the apple by hand, but I chose to use my Ninja again…

IMG_1866 copyOnce your sweet potato is cooked, use a potato masher to puree it. The recipe calls for 3/4 C, and one normal sized sweet potato measured to be exactly 3/4 C for me. 

IMG_1878 copyStep 3: Mix ‘Em All Up!

In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 C of sweet potato and 6 tablespoons of broth.

IMG_1889 copyAdd 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of cornmeal, 1/4 cup of mint, and the apple. Stir until combined.

IMG_1891 copyYour dough will look similar to this:

IMG_1895 copyIt is a dry dough, so if you prefer it to stick together better you can add more broth. 

Step 4: Bake

I chose to make mine “paw print” cookies. Smash the dough in the palm of your hand into a ball… IMG_1903 copyPlace on the baking sheet, and smash with your thumb. 

IMG_1906 copyPlace in the oven and bake at 325°F until they reach your desired texture. I like a semi-softer treat for my pups, so I baked mine for 15 minutes. You can bake them for longer if you want a crunchy treat. IMG_1907 copyThese can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, and the dough can be frozen for up to 4 months. 

Step 5: Dig In!

IMG_1925 copyHere comes the reward! For you and the dogs. Cooking treats for your dogs in your own kitchen is so rewarding!

IMG_2076 copySo much commotion to get to the treats!

IMG_1988 copySweet victory! Another successful home-cooked dog treat recipe, the dogs definitely approve!


Do your dogs love Thanksgiving? What special treats or traditions do you provide for your pups?

Reduce Your Dog’s Shedding Naturally

Disturbing Lab Results Prove Top Dog and

Why Is My Dog Shedding So Much?

Dogs naturally shed their old and damaged hair, but the amount and the frequency depends on their health and breed. Excessive shedding can be normal for some dog breeds, but excessive shedding can also be a sign of stress, poor nutrition, or a medical issue. It can also depend on the season, and where you live. Dogs will produce a thicker coat in the winter and shed it off in the spring, and those who are kept indoors tend to shed an even amount year-round. This is the case with our sweet Jem… we love her to death, but her shedding is out of control! 

Our daily dose of Jem hair...

Our daily dose of Jem hair…

Note to self: never have dark floors and furniture again! 

How Can I Reduce The Shedding? 

Managing dog hair can seem like a never ending nightmare… I feel like my house only stays clean for about 10 minutes right after I finish vacuuming. By the time I put the cleaning products away and come back into the room, I see 100 hairs scattered all over the floor and furniture again, and the task of ‘vacuum and dust’ goes right back on my To Do List and quickly as I crossed it off.

1. Brush Your Dog Regularly

A brush a day pulls the hair away!

A brush a day pulls the hair away!

 Add this to the list of things I tell myself  to do daily, yet a week will go by and I’ll realize I have slacked yet again… Brushing your dog regularly is very important to reduce shedding, especially as the seasons change. It really only takes less than 5 minutes a day, which can feel like a hassle when you first start out. But after a few weeks it becomes habit, and it’s much more frustrating to be infrequent about it than to just keep up on it daily. 

Jem didn't love getting brushed at first, but now she loves it!

Jem didn’t love getting brushed at first, but now she loves it!

I use the Furminator brush for Jem, and it collects a ton of hair out every time I brush her! 

2. Avoid Drying Your Dog After Bath Time

IMG_0151Many believe that washing your dog’s coat is a great way to loosen the fur. Give your dog a thorough brushing before and after. Most importantly, don’t use heat to dry your dog after bath time, because this will increase shedding. 

2. Feed Your Dog A Quality Food

DSC05608Is your dog getting the proper nutrition? A poor coat or excessive shedding can be a sign of a poor diet that lacks required nutrients for a healthy dog. A proper diet consisting of a quality, well balanced food will decrease shedding. Not sure if your dog’s food is the culprit? Try switching your dog’s food and see if it helps! Be sure to transition your dog slowly over the course of a couple weeks to avoid stomach pain and diarrhea. 

3. Add Olive Oil To Your Dog’s Food

IMG_1683Olive oil mixed with your dog’s food can help reduce shedding. It contains omega-3 fatty acids that condition her skin and coat. Start by adding a tiny bit and increasing the amount a little more each time. Introducing too much olive oil too quickly can cause your dog’s stool to be loose. It can take up to 3 months of eating olive oil consistently to notice a reduction in shedding. About 5-6 drops, or about 1/4 teaspoon is all your dog needs with breakfast and dinner. 

4. Does Your Dog Need A Nutritional Supplement? 

Consult your vet, and discuss if a specially-formulated dog vitamin or omega-3 fatty acid supplement is right for your dog. Quality dog food brands work hard to include the correct amount of nutrients so a supplement is not needed, but there are supplements out there that can reduce shedding if its necessary for your dog. 

How Can I Manage Shedding In My Home?

You’ll never completely eliminate shedding with a dog that was born to shed, but there are ways you can manage the hair in your home so you don’t go crazy! And for the health of your family and friends with allergies, these methods are a must. 

1. Air Purifier

If I close my eyes... the hair will disappear

If I close my eyes… the hair will disappear

An air purifier is a lifesaver for those with allergies, because they remove hair, dander, and other allergens from the air. This will greatly reduce the effects of shedding between cleanings. 

2. Vacuum


Jem creeps up on the vacuum and attacks, like most dogs!

With Jem’s extreme shedding, I’ve learned to accept that if I don’t at least Swiffer every day, then my house is going to constantly feel dirty. Ideally, I like to vacuum every day because I know I’m removing the hair and dander from the house completely, rather than pushing it around. The sooner you vacuum after the hair is shed from your dog the better, because you eliminate it before it can get into the fibers of your fabrics. 

3. Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets

IMG_1698Have you heard of all the tricks that these little dryer sheets can do? For managing pet hair, they are a lifesaver for keeping baseboards clean. If you run a dryer sheet along your baseboards, they leave a coating behind that repels dust and pet hair. Plus, your house will smell amazing from room to room, and your guests will be puzzled trying to figure out where that amazing scent is coming from!

4. Furniture/Seat Covers

Whether it’s an armchair, sofa, ottoman, the car, or the foot of the bed that your dog likes to nap, furniture covers are a must. As a daily routine, you can easily grab them and give them a good shake outdoors. Then once a week you can throw them in with the wash to keep them smelling fresh and clean.

Buddy's favorite hang-out spot!

Buddy’s favorite hang-out spot!

If your dog loves to nap in the car like Buddy, a car seat cover is a lifesaver. My car was always a mess from Jem’s hair, but my car seat cover has helped 100%.

No more Jem hairs all over the car!

No more Jem hairs all over the car!

I used to need to vacuum the inside of my car constantly. But with my seat cover I rarely need to anymore, my leather stays clean and scratch-free, and the dogs have a comfy place to lay. 

5. Your Lint Roller Should Be Your Sidekick

IMG_1701Have one in the bathroom drawer, by the front door, in the glovebox of the car, in your desk drawer, etc. Don’t be caught without it! If you give your clothes a clean swipe with the lint roller when you’re leaving the house and the car, at least you’ll get a break from the shedding while you’re conquering the world. You’ll have everyone fooled. 


Do you have any methods for minimizing dog hair? I’d love to hear your advice!

Homemade Treats For Dogs With Allergies

Disturbing Lab Results Prove Top Dog andAs you may have read last week, Zoey has been having a tough time with allergies. I took her in to the vet to get some more insight, and he explained that it could be caused from the food or treats I’m giving her, but mostly its airborne allergens present this time of year. 

Store-bought treats are filled with allergens like soy, wheat, corn, etc. And plenty of dogs are allergic to meats like chicken, beef, and pork used in treats and food. 

Homemade treats are a must for dogs with allergies, because you can’t be 100% sure that the store-bought kinds have pure ingredients that are allergy-friendly. 

My vet suggested giving Zoey sweet potatoes as treats because they’re great for dogs with allergies.

Raw honey is also a great natural allergy solution. Drizzling raw honey on the top of sweet potato treats after they’re cooked is the perfect solution for a dog with allergies. 

Why Is Honey Good For Dogs With Allergies?

Raw honey, especially honey bought locally, contains traces of pollen and airborne allergens which helps acclimate your dog to the pollinated air. It also contains enzymes that help dogs digest food better. Does your dog seem to be slowing down or acting lazy? The natural sugars in raw honey that are easily broken down by your dog’s body is a great source of energy for your pup, when used in moderation. Puppies should stay away from honey until they’re adults.

Easy Homemade Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats

You may remember us making dehydrated sweet potato dog treats in the past, and they’re my personal favorite. Sweet potatoes are so healthy for dogs and humans, they’re inexpensive, and they’re the easiest treats to make. With only 1 ingredient, and 1 kitchen tool needed before popping them in the oven, I feel like I could make these treats all day long!

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients 

You’ll Need:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Raw Honey (preferably local)

IMG_1525The first step of our treat-making process has quickly become one of Zoey and Jem’s favorite, because they love playing this game of nabbing my ingredients off the kitchen counter, running into the living room, and devouring them. Think they’re a little impatient? 

IMG_1518I can’t bring myself to scold Jem for treat-napping because it’s so stinkin’ cute!

IMG_1483And I love how much she loves fresh, healthy foods.

IMG_1493It’d be like scolding your child for getting excited about eating her veggies… it just doesn’t feel right! 

IMG_1494Zoey appreciated Jem stealing a sweet potato off the counter for her, since she’s vertically challenged. But she would rather cuddle her sweet potato than devour it…

IMG_1512Although Jem and Zoey think they do a perfectly good job of “washing” the potatoes with their tongues, and I have to agree, I do give them a good wash in the sink with my potato brush before slicing them. 

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees before we begin prepping the potatoes. 

Step 2: Slice The Sweet Potatoes 

I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes because I don’t trust myself to slice them by hand, but it’s perfectly fine to use your knife to slice the pieces if you don’t have a kitchen gadget. 

potato-collage-600x600Using the mandolin, I sliced mine like so:

DSC04125-600x399It’s quick and easy. I had my sweet potato sliced in just minutes.


Step 3: Bake!

Your oven should be preheated to 250 degrees. Place the sliced sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Sorry Jem, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer…

IMG_1528Bake them at 250 degrees for 1.5 hours.

IMG_1529 After 1.5 hours, remove from oven. My sweet potatoes were cooked at this point because I sliced them thin, but if yours are still very soft, bake for longer. 

IMG_1534If your dog has dental issues or prefers a softer treat, you can bake them for less time. 

They will seem slightly soft when they first come out of the oven, so let them cool completely before serving them to your doggies.

Step 4: Drizzle Sweet Raw Honey On Top

IMG_1543This step will have your dogs drooling! The raw honey drizzled on top will not only have your pups going nuts, but it’ll be the perfect icing on top to help relieve your dog’s allergies.

IMG_1544The sweet potato honey combination can’t be beat when trying to soothe a pup suffering from allergies.

Step 5: Dig In!

IMG_1624If you haven’t already been attached by lickers like I was, now is the time to watch your pups go to town. My favorite part! 

IMG_1547Jem is too tall for me to handle sometimes! I can barely grab a treat off the cookie sheet before she jumps up and snatches it. 

IMG_1548Zoey has to have her chance too, even though she can’t jump as high as Jem.

IMG_1558The girls loved these treats SO much that they were crying for more. I’ve never seen anything like it!

IMG_1623I was worried they were going to keep whining until they were all gone…

IMG_1582Okay one more…


Now that I know honey is so good for dogs with allergies, and sweet potatoes are the best treat option when my dogs are having symptoms, I plan to make these treats regularly. If the health benefits weren’t reason enough, their overwhelmingly joyous reaction to the flavor sealed the deal! I love how much they adore their homemade treats :)

Does your dog have a favorite homemade dog treat recipe? Or do you have any secret remedies to help allergies? 


How Do I Cure My Dog’s Allergies?

cure dogs allergiesZoey has been having a terrible time with allergies lately. She wants to bite at her paws non-stop. I tried wrapping them, but we all know how long something like that lasts before Houdini-dog finds a way to remove it. I also tried wiping her paws whenever she came in from outside, but that didn’t seem to give her any relief. Our only choice was to make a visit to the vet to make sure we find a way to cure her itchy skin.


Why Do Dogs Have Allergies?

Dogs commonly have an allergic reaction to their food, treats, or environment. The vet explained to us that almost every dog in Florida has allergies, unfortunately. And her paws aren’t bothering her because of the direct contact they’re making with anything on the ground like fertilizer, bugs, or any toxins. Instead, dogs’ paws have millions of receptors that serve the same purpose that humans’ noses do. When we have allergies, we are aware of it because of how itchy, scratchy, and bothersome our nose feels to us. The same thing happens to our dogs when they have allergies, except they have those feelings in their paws. 

IMG_1393Zoey’s paws have a reddish pink stain from biting at them. I thought this was possibly blood from breaking the skin, but the vet explained it is the discoloration from the bacteria in her mouth. Similar to the discoloration you see around the mouth of white or light colored dogs’ mouths and eyes. 

Make Sure It’s Not Your Dog’s Food Causing An Allergic Reaction First

Common ingredients in dog food that cause allergic reactions for dogs include:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Corn
  • Wheat 
  • Soy

I feed Zoey Darwin’s Raw Food and chose to purchase Chicken, Turkey, and Beef so she has a variety of tastes. The vet advised that turkey is the best meat to feed a dog that is experiencing allergies because it is not known to cause any itching. Since dogs have been known to have allergies to beef and chicken, I’m going to strictly feed her the raw turkey/vegetable medley from Darwin’s and see if this naturally eases her allergies without medication. If the itching stops, I know that she’s not allergic to the turkey or vegetables.

IMG_1400At this point you can begin the elimination diet to test your dog’s food allergy. Slowly add one ingredient to her food at a time and observe her behavior to see if she has an allergy to it. This method will help determine which foods she has an allergy to so you can eliminate them from her diet.

If the itching continues no matter what food you feed her, we know that she is possibly having seasonal allergies from her environment.

Does Your Dog Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?

If a change in diet doesn’t help your dog’s allergies, then it is most likely a seasonal allergy from the environment. Like my vet said, almost every dog in Florida has seasonal allergy problems.

IMG_1463My vet recommended a Zyrtec prescription for Zoey if her allergies don’t improve from the change in diet. Zyrtec prescribed by your veterinarian is an acceptable method for improving your dog’s quality of life. While I would love to have Zoey living a medication-free, natural lifestyle… it’s not always practical to avoid medications. If Zyrtec will make her feel better, of course I’m more than happy to give her the relief she so desperately needs. Zyrtec can take a couple weeks to help because it takes awhile to get into your dog’s system. So if immediate relief is important, a steroid can be combined with the Zyrtec to give your dog relief sooner. 

Treats Should Not Be Given Without Careful Consideration 

homemade organic sweet potato dog treatsMy vet explained to me that treats commonly cause allergic reactions, too. He advised that Zoey should only have sweet potato for treats. Luckily, we are used to making our own homemade sweet potato dog treats, so this will be the easy part! Dehydrated sweet potato dog treats are really easy to make. The dogs love them as much or more than any other treats, and I can rest confidently knowing that Zoey won’t have an allergic reaction to them. 


Does your dog suffer from allergies? Do you have any tried and true methods for improving them?