Apart from the recipes there are some health issues that are important if you are not going to have sick pets during the holidays. Many human foods, especially packaged full of chemicals can be very harmful.
During our thousands of years of our relationship with dogs up to around 30 years ago, pets were fed on scraps from our own dinner. Then the billion dollar a year pet food industry was born…. and the majority of our domestic dogs and cats went from eating natural food to dry pellets. (Almost 24 Billion dollars in the US alone!). http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp –
I appreciate that most of the animal foods available today may be touted as being rich in nutrients and full of vitality but I am afraid that I steer clear of dried food and its additives for some very well researched reasons.
If you do feel you want convenience then do buy a reputable canned food and you might be interested in this report by a holistic vet. http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/why-dry-food-is-bad-for-cats-and-dogs/
Sam our Collie established as soon as he came through the front door at 8 weeks old that the pellets that had been supplied by his breeder were inferior and he was now prepared for the good stuff.
He was not motivated by food in general, just specifically. Mature cheddar (only the best), chicken giblets (crunchy and with a hint of corn) Ham (unsalted but roasted) and of course sausages (any variety, any temperature, any time). He also in his last couple of years developed a taste for warm, peeled hard boiled eggs and would stand for minutes holding it in his mouth, whining lightly. He would make for the door to the hall in preparation for stashing for later but then he would return and sit with the egg between his paws. He would nibble off the top of the egg and then suck the yolk out. The look of bliss on his face remains in my mind today and I miss the old codger.
He finally settled on Basmati rice (any other variety of rice that did not have that distinctive aroma was rejected) chopped cooked chicken and giblets, some carrots and green veg with a little salt free juice from the chicken. I know some may say he was spoilt rotten but he was bright, intelligent and healthy his entire life and he always politely waited until we had started our meals before beginning his. A perfect dinner guest.
We fostered some cats in our time and had a small feral family in our garden in Ireland that also partook during the festivities as payment for the rats caught and left on my doorstep! Here is Mum and two offspring waiting for their dinner.
It is tempting to give pets the same treats that we enjoy but I am afraid that at Christmas, treats like human chocolate are extremely dangerous. Chocolate is poison to dogs and can cause them to fit. You can buy pet friendly chocolate treats at the pet store although I have never found cats too interested in it.
Too many high fat and sugary tit bits can also have a detrimental effect on a dog and cat’s digestion – and their first instinct is to vomit before producing rather evil smelling poop. To be on the safe side, only give your dog different foods infrequently.
Having said that, most dogs and cats are used to turkey and chicken so the following recipes should be fine.
Spread the food over a couple of days, as you can store cooked turkey for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Give your pets a small amount on day one; say Christmas Eve, a little more on Christmas day and Boxing Day. This is particularly important if your dog is only used to dried food as their digestion may not be able to cope with too much of this richer dish.
These days there are a number of ways to buy turkey all year round, not just at Christmas. You will need minced turkey for your dog’s treat and turkey breast for the cat (nothing but the best). In case you are wondering about the addition of a little seasoning to taste, both these recipes are perfectly good for humans with a little tarting up!
Christmas Turkey Loaf for the Dog (and his guests)
Enough for 6 servings for a small dog and 4 servings for a large dog.
2 lbs. of minced turkey.
4 oz. of cooked and minced mixed vegetables (left-overs)
8 oz. of oats
3 oz. of cooked rice
1 clove of fresh organic garlic.
Garlic – safe for your dogs or not!
I have used organic fresh garlic before with my dogs but there are some important facts to make a note of first before this very beneficial food to pets. I suggest you read this article before doing so. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/garlic-for-dogs-poison-or-medicine/
How to prepare
Mix the turkey, vegetables, egg, rice and oats together thoroughly. Put into a greased pan (use a little butter) and pat down the mixture until level. Stand in a roasting dish of water in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook for around 1 to 1½ hours and then cool. Cut into portions and serve with a little salt free gravy. You will probably be asked for second helpings and third with a small piece of cheese to finish off!
Turkey Surprise – For the Cat (The cat is likely to be very surprised if it is not out of a tin!)
Should provide 4 servings if you can hide from the cat. If not it will probably disappear very quickly.
1 turkey breast cooked and finely chopped.
3 oz. of cooked carrots finely diced.
2 oz. of finely chopped cooked spinach
3 oz. of finely chopped green beans
3 oz. cooked rice
Unsalted chicken broth.
Mix everything together with enough chicken broth to bind the ingredients. Serve when lukewarm and watch your fingers.
Here is this year’s Freshpet video where they took 30 homeless dogs and cats and treated them to a festive dinner. I don’t endorse many products but Freshpet are one of the few dog food companies that are offering a viable alternative to dry food. If you feel that you are unable to prepare and freeze your own fresh meals for your pets, you will find that there are more and more natural pet food providers in most countries.
You can find out more about them on their Youtube channel including a tour of their kitchen where they prepare the fresh meals. https://www.youtube.com/user/freshpet400
Merry Christmas and have a wonderful holidays with family both human and four-legged.. Sally