5 healthy holiday treats

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holiday treats for dogs

As devoted animal parents, we want to include our dogs and cats in our seasonal celebrations. But as responsible guardians, we also know we must protect them from holiday hazards, including some of the “people foods” we indulge in this time of year. Here are some pet-friendly treats that are safe for them to eat.

Another concern many of us have is with the quality of store-bought treats. The majority of commercially-available treats are made with biologically-inappropriate ingredients, excessive amounts of sugar, and a host of chemical preservatives and other additives.

That’s why more and more people have started turning to premium treats made from healthy ingredients, or making treats right in their own kitchens.

The special recipes that follow are five of my favorites. They are made with just a few simple, high quality ingredients that are both health-enhancing and species-appropriate for dogs and cats.

You’ll find that prep and cook time is minimal, which works well around hectic holiday schedules. I think you’ll also find these treats are a huge hit with your furry companions!

Porky Snowmen

Ingredients

1 cup lean ground pork
1 free-range high-DHA egg
3 tablespoons almond flour (which is loaded with vitamin E, magnesium and potassium)

Directions

Mix all ingredients together. Roll mixture into three balls, each one slightly larger than the first. Gently press the three balls together to form a snowman shape flat on the cookie sheet.
Garnish with:

  • Hibiscus leaves (loaded with healthy polyphenols)
  • Dried goji/wolfberries (an excellent source of antioxidants and beta carotene)
  • Raw sunflower seeds (for extra vitamin E, B1 and copper)
  • Cloves (an immune builder)
  • Peppercorns (containing piperine, which enhances absorption of other nutrients)

Bake at 350°F for ten to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Sardine Hemp Angels

Ingredients

  • 1 can sardines (packed in water), drained and mashed with a fork
  • 1 free-range high-DHA egg
  • 2 tablespoons organic hemp protein powder (a high quality source of plant protein that contains all nine essential amino acids vital for good health, and an excellent source of essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, zinc, and beneficial fiber)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour (a good source of iron, manganese and copper)

Directions

Mix all ingredients together. Roll dough flat and use a cookie cutter to punch out shapes.
Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Carnivore buckeyes

Ingredients

3 tablespoons organic hemp protein powder
1 free-range high-DHA egg
1/8 cup free-range, organic chicken livers, chopped into ¼” pieces (organ meat is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other compounds vital to your animal’s health; liver contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food)

Directions

Mix hemp and egg together, roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Top with chopped liver.

Bake at 275°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until liver browns. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Cloven reindeer

Ingredients

Organic ground turkey
Rosemary sprigs (fresh rosemary is a wonderful all-natural source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6, critical for healthy neurologic well-being)
Whole cloves (containing the active compound eugenol, which is naturally anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic)

Directions

Roll turkey into balls and press flat on a greased cookie sheet to create a reindeer shape. Top with a smaller turkey ball to form a “nose”.

Bake at 350°F for ten minutes, or until golden brown. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary for “antlers” and cloves for “eyes”. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Beefy gingerbread men

Ingredients

1 cup 93% lean free-range ground beef
¼ teaspoon ground dried ginger (containing the active compound gingerol, great for animals with GI problems)

Directions

Mix ginger with ground beef, press flat and use cookie cutter to create gingerbread men.

Place on greased cookie sheet, and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.