It’s that time of year when we usually come together with loved ones to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. This holiday season is definitely looking a bit different for most of us.
Though things probably won't be the same as usual, we'll be leaning on our four-legged family to keep us festive and help us spread holiday cheer. In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of our favorite scrumptious yet healthy meals that you can comfortably share with your dog. (Dogs can eat some - but definitely not all - human foods.) The immune-boosting meals we suggest are budget-friendly and filled with vitamins and minerals to benefit both you and your dog.
Pup care tip: Remember to keep in mind those foods and ingredients that are dangerous for your dog. See our Top 5 Dangerous Foods for your Dog post for a refresher.
Budget tip: In another earlier post, we shared 15 Dog-Friendly, Immunity Boosting & Money Saving Treats to Share with your Pup (click here to read it now), our favorite dog-friendly human foods that your dog can enjoy. You’ll be able to use a lot of these same ingredients in your homemade holiday meals and treats.
If you and your pup indulge in some of our favorites below, be sure to tag us @PupWax on Instagram Can't wait to see your pups at the dinner table!
It’s not the holidays if there’s not a pumpkin dish on the table. Start by whipping up this delicious pumpkin pie (and don’t miss our tasty pumpkin cookies, covered later in this post). Pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin C which boosts the immune system.
- One can of canned pumpkin /pumpkin puree*
- Two (very ripe) bananas
- Two large eggs
- One tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Nine-inch unbaked pie crust (gluten-free optional)
* We prefer to puree our own pumpkin. It’s easier than it sounds! Place a small sugar pumpkin into an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Cook 15 min and let the pressure release. Cut it open, scoop out the flesh, drain the water and everything that remains goes into the blender. Voila!… homemade pumpkin puree, ready for baking, smoothies, puddings and all the season's other pumpkin favorites!
Pup tip: Do not use vanilla extract when sharing with your dog as it contains alcohol.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk. Pour the smooth mixture into the crust, and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for another 35 minutes. Insert a knife into the pie crust. Once the knife comes out clean, the pie is ready! Don't forget to add your favorite toppings.
This makes for a great dessert - but we won’t tell if you make this delish dish your veggie side.
What makes for a better Thanksgiving or Christmas meal-prepping snack than a crunchy and moist carrot stick - for both you and your pup! In addition to raw veggiesm try this easy recipe that requires only a few healthy, easy-to-find ingredients. You could also serve this as an accompaniment to your favorite family meal.
- Two pounds carrots
- Two tbsp of olive oil
- One tsp of table salt
- 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- One cup of chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wash and peel your carrots. Slice them lengthwise in half or, if they are large, into quarters. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the carrots with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Line the carrots on the baking sheet before tossing them into the oven. Bake for up to 20 minutes until the carrots are tender. Garnish the carrots with chopped parsley and enjoy with your pup.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can add a drizzle of honey to make the carrots even sweeter. (Raw, unfiltered honey would be your best bet - the bee pollen in honey has a lot of immune boosting and protective properties!) Carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals that benefit you and your dog. If you are like us and cooking makes you hungry, you and your pup can also start munching on some carrot sticks together while you’re whipping up this dish.
Honey-Glazed Turkey Breast
Turkey breast, with the fatty trimmings and skin removed, is a healthy, tasty Thanksgiving entree that your pup is sure to love - and the breast is a great cut to use if there won't be enough people to eat a whole turkey. The honey is a perfect substitute for processed sugar. In small amounts, honey contains vitamins and minerals that benefit your pup as well.
- Three-pound turkey breast
- One cup chicken broth
- One tbsp of butter
- One tsp of rosemary
- Three tbsp of raw, unfiltered honey
- Three tbsp all-purpose flour (gluten-free optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the butter, rosemary, and raw honey and mix thoroughly. Rub the spice blend onto the turkey before placing it on an aluminum turkey tray. Roast the turkey in the oven for an hour.
Continue basting the turkey breast with the spice blend as it cooks. Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the turkey is fully cooked all the way through. A reading of 165 degrees (taken in multiple places) indicates the turkey is well done.
Remove the turkey breast from the tray. Pour the turkey drippings onto a skillet or saucepan. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to boil. Add a tablespoon of butter and continue stirring. Toss in the flour and allow the mixture to boil for a few more minutes. Turn off the stove when the boiling mixture thickens into gravy.
There you have it! Roasted turkey for thanksgiving with a side of homemade gravy. The best part, all ingredients used are pet-friendly. Feel free to add other dog-friendly herbs like oregano, parsley, and basil in your gravy.
You could also serve this with stir-fried broccoli or spinach. Garnish the roasted turkey with roasted bell pepper (high in vitamin C) before serving. The options are endless!
Sweet Potato Cookies
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber for you and your dog. They are also naturally sweet but still relatively low in sugar so waistlines won't disappear in bloat with a little overindulgence. Sweet potato is rich in vitamin A which is good for your dog's skin, eyes, nerves, coat, and muscles. Also, this healthy tuber contains additional vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and B6, potassium, calcium, and iron.
- One cup pureed sweet potato*
- Two tbsp. honey
- A quarter cup of flour
- A teaspoon baking soda
* The easiest way to puree a sweet potato is to microwave it or use an instant pot, then mash with a fork.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and knead into a smooth dough. Roll the dough on a flat surface and cut the dough into small cookie sizes. Use a bone-shaped cookie cutter for a fun touch for your pup. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cut dough 1 inch apart. Bake the goodies for 15 mins until they brown.
Voila, you have yourself the healthiest holiday treats to share with your pup! You can tweak this recipe by adding a tablespoon of turmeric powder. Turmeric contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces muscle damage and is a powerful immune booster.
Watermelon is a sweet, healthy way to hydrate yourself and your dog. Watermelon sorbet is a delicious twist for the holidays on a healthy fruit that is loved by humans and dogs alike (make sure you cut off the rinds before giving fresh watermelon to your dog). Consider this sorbet a healthy alternative dessert. Serve a bowl of this freshly made watermelon sorbet topped with fresh watermelon chunks or slices.
- Three and a half cups of seedless watermelon
- A quarter cup of warm water
- Raw honey
Freeze the watermelon overnight. The next day, toss the frozen watermelon chunks into a blender and add the warm water and honey. Warm water helps the watermelon thaw faster. Garnish with slices of fresh watermelon before savoring this refreshing treat with your pup.
Sweet Potato Bites
We think sweet potatoes are paw-mazing! One of mother nature's most perfect foods for both pups & humans, they are delicious plain but also a very versatile food that can be prepared so many ways. What's more, there is enough healthy sugar in these bites without adding honey or processed sweeteners. These bites make the best appetizers, but you could also have them as snacks!
- Four sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Any pet-friendly spice of choice
- Four oz. pepperoni
- 3 sundried tomatoes
- One cup chopped green pepper
- One tbsp of olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into quarter-inch thick rounds. Coat the thick rounds with olive oil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the thick rounds on the baking sheet and toss into the oven. Let the rounds bake until tender, occasionally flipping them so they cook on both sides.
After about 20 minutes, take out the cooked thick rounds and garnish with the other ingredients. Arrange the pepperoni, green pepper, and dried sliced tomatoes in the most colorful way possible. Finish by sprinkling a spice of your choice (Ceylon cinnamon anyone?) on the thick rounds.
Pet-friendly add-ons to experiment with for this dish include:
- Flax seeds
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
Lean Roast Beef
Lean roast beef, whether boiled, roasted, or fried, packs plenty of healthy amino acids (aka protein building blocks) minus unhealthy saturated animal fat. Roast lean beef can even be a perfect substitute for your Thanksgiving turkey, and can be served during other holidays in the season as well.
- 4 pounds of round roast beef
- A quarter cup of olive oil
- One tbsp fresh rosemary
- One tbsp peppercorn (or less, if desired)*
- A pinch of fresh thyme
- Two tbsp table salt
* Excess black pepper can irritate sensitive dog stomachs, so if there is any doubt, we recommend giving your dog a serving cut from the rub-free inside
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, peppercorn, thyme, and kosher salt in a bowl. Whisk them together into a smooth paste. Coat the beef generously with the rub.
Place the roast beef on a roasting rack with the roasting tray beneath to catch the drippings. Alternatively, use a roasting pan that has a fitting roasting rack. Roast the beef for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and slow roast for an hour and forty-five minutes. If you like your beef well done, slow roast it for two hours.
Serve with roasted potatoes and veggies. Before serving to your dog, cut off any parts with the black pepper if you aren't sure how they tolerate pepper.
Baked Apples Filled with Oatmeal
This dessert is delicious and filling (but won't leave you feeling uncomfortably stuffed and unbuttoned hours later). It's crunchy with a dash of cinnamon and butter. Your pup totally approves.
- Four apples
- A cup of rolled oats
- Three tbsp of honey
- One tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup of butter
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cores from the apples and center them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, and honey. Add softened butter and mix. Scoop bits of the mixture out and stuff into the apples. Bake the apples for about 30 minutes or until the oatmeal filling bubbles. Enjoy with your pup!
Oven Baked Stuffed Potatoes
Looking for a light snack loaded with proteins and healthy carbs? This flavorful oven baked potato recipe might be just the thing to satisfy that craving.
- Six large potatoes
- Six tbsp of butter
- Five slices of bacon, crumbled
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/8 tsp of white pepper
- Thyme to garnish
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Use a fork to pierce the potatoes. Coat the pierced potatoes with about two tablespoons of butter. Line your baking tray with parchment paper and arranged the potatoes on it. Bake the potatoes for about 55 minutes until they soften. Remove the potatoes and let them cool. (If you're pressed for time, you can also complete this step using your microwave in just minutes.)
Next, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the inside leaving only a quarter inch of flesh. Add the scooped-out potato flesh to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining butter and whisk until smooth.
Add the crumbled bacon, salt, and white pepper. Beat the mixture until fluffy. Spoon the fluffy mix back into the potato shells you created. Garnish with some thyme or spice herb of choice.
Toss the potatoes back into the oven and bake for another 25 minutes. The potatoes are ready when they are puffed and golden brown. Enjoy the potatoes with a dog-friendly dip of choice.
Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Immune-boosting pumpkin is also naturally full of healthy fiber that aids with digestion. This pumpkin chia pudding is the perfect dessert to wash down a hearty main course. It can also be prepped the night before and served for breakfast!
- Two tbsps of ground chia seeds
- Half cup of milk of your choice (we prefer homemade walnut milk or coconut milk)
- 1 cup of pumpkin puree
- An either teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp of ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp of ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp of ginger powder
- One tsp of cocoa powder
- Six tbsp of unsweetened yogurt
Mix the chia seeds with your milk of choice. Stir and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes until the chia seeds are swollen and not clumpy.
When the chia has puffed up, add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. That’s it! This easy-peasy recipe can also be made the night before, stored in the fridge and served as a tasty breakfast.
We hope that our delicious and nutritious dog-friendly holiday meal and treat ideas remove some of the stress around meal planning this holiday season. We tried to put together meals that are healthy, mouth-watering and easy on your budget!
Pup tip: When cooking meals to share with your dog, ensure that each recipe has dog-friendly ingredients (or use dog-friendly substitutes) before sharing with your dog. See our Top 5 Dangerous Foods for your Dog post for a refresher.