A Dog's Eye View: Thanksgiving is for dogs, too

You get out what you put in plus dividends

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Lisa Mason

Lisa Mason is an experienced dog training instructor with the Total Teamwork Training group. Her specialties include new puppy owner education and management.

In my life, Thanksgiving always has been a holiday dedicated to and enriched by the four F’s: family, friends, food and football. In my particular household, the letter D, for dogs, also was always a part of the alphabetic litany. Dogs always shared the day when taking walks or watching football. At dinner time, their meal included some turkey and other fixings, usually taken from the leftovers or the discarded giblets. When I got my Zoey, I began to refine her Thanksgiving dinner, baking a simple but nutritious special dinner followed by baked treats for dessert.

The options are limitless, and with a little creativity and knowledge of what foods to avoid, you can prepare some fun and nutritious meals for your dog. It can be as simple as adding a little of the leftover cooked (and skinned) turkey to your dog’s regular food, or you can get a more involved and make some Thanksgiving treats for your dog. Below are recipes for two of the items I’ve prepared, followed by a partial list of foods you should not include. Please note, if your dog is allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients, substitute different protein or flours when needed.

Turkey gobblers

1 cup cooked turkey 

2 eggs (I use the egg shells, too, because they are a good source of calcium)

1 teaspoon flax seed oil

1 cup oatmeal 

1/2 cup flour (I use rice flour because it’s one of the easiest flours for dogs to digest)

1/2 teaspoon tarragon

Preheat the oven to 350.

Chop turkey into small pieces, discarding the fatty parts because too much fat can upset a dog’s stomach. Break eggs into the blender and blend until the shells are pulverized. Add the oil, turkey and tarragon. Blend until pulverized.

Move the mixture to a bowl, and mix in the flour and oatmeal. Form into small balls. (The size of the balls depends on what size cookie you want.) Place the balls on a tray lined with parchment paper. Don’t worry about spacing them apart because they won’t spread out.

Bake the cookies at 350 for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the cookies in the hot oven for another 45 minutes to harden. Store leftovers in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Pumpkin pie treats

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/2 cups rice flour

Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter and milk. Add egg, pumpkin, molasses and cinnamon, and whisk together. Slowly mix in flour. Form dough into a ball, and chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Then place on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 300 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes or until firm.

Foods you should avoid feeding your dog include macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic (small amounts are OK for flavoring), chocolate, coffee and yeast. This is a partial list, so check with your veterinarian about other foods to avoid.

When creating foods, be aware of the nutritional impact of the ingredients and be conscious of the calories and the fat content. The above recipes are not intended to replace your dog’s basic diet; they are meant only as a fun addition. Too many treats at a time might upset your dog’s digestive system.

Dogs are such a large part of our daily lives, so why not take a moment to give them the thanks(giving) they deserve?

Lisa Mason is an experienced dog training instructor with the Total Teamwork Training group. Her specialties include new puppy owner education and management.

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