Guest Column: Pets can be part of the tasty holiday food traditions, too

Published 10:40 am Friday, November 25, 2016

Healthy Pets by Michelle Nelson

I love the holidays — the hustle and bustle, the parties, the music, the first snowfall, time spent with family.  One of my fondest childhood memories is making Christmas cookies with my grandma (the sugar cookies were my favorite), and when Grandma had her back turned, I would sneak the still-warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies out to the living room where my grandpa anxiously awaited (wow, do I miss that man).

What I love most of all is the food, the smell of turkey, stuffing, apple cider, pumpkin pie — I can taste it already! And I am sure your dogs are just like mine, standing there drooling, whining, begging for just a little taste of what is in the oven.

Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson

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The great news is you don’t have to leave your dogs out this holiday season. Apples, cinnamon, pumpkin and sweet potato are all healthy ingredients for your pups. Plus, homemade dog treats are super easy to make, so you can involve the kids, and your pets will love them. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Treats

1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin purée

2 eggs

1/2 cup oats (if grain-free diet, substitute 1/4 cup of grain-free flour)

3 cups whole wheat flour, brown rice or grain-free flour

3 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. In large bowl, combine flour, oats and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin and peanut butter until combined. Add to dry mixture. Stir.

4. Pour onto floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut using cookie cutter.

5. Dough will be sticky. Keep rolling pins and hands well-dusted with flour.

6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Sweet Potato Treats

1 cup canned or fresh sweet potato

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, brown rice or grain-free flour

1 egg

Want to share your Thanksgiving dinner with your cats and dogs alike. Absolutely, but keep it plain. Turkey — no skin, no cooked bones. Veggies — no seasoning, no creams, no butter. No casseroles. No gravies. Go plain, keep it basic and, of course, always in moderation. And don’t forget the raw turkey neck, gizzard, liver and heart. This is both Reggie and Beau’s favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner by far.

From my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving, merry Christmas and bone appétit!

Michelle Nelson is the owner of The Pet Authority in Albert Lea.