Aside from presents, if there’s one thing we all associate with Christmas, it’s food. We humans love to tuck into a festive treat while we play board games with the family or enjoy a cosy night in front of the TV, and there’s no reason why your dog should miss out on enjoying some goodies, either. These Christmas dog treats recipes are perfect for spoiling your furry friend!
However, don’t get too carried away: ‘When feeding treats, especially at Christmas time, remember to reduce your dog’s main meal accordingly to help them maintain a healthy weight,’ cautions animal nutritionist Emma Passman.
These homemade dog treats are perfect for sharing with your dog as you enjoy your Christmas dinner, or popping into their stocking for a festive present.
Christmas tree pancakes
Christmas morning is even more exciting with an indulgent breakfast! Why not serve up some dog-friendly pancakes for the whole family to enjoy? ‘Dogs just love peanut butter,’ says Emma. ‘It’s also a great source of protein. But remember to check the label on the jar – peanut butter for dogs must be free from xylitol because it’s toxic to them and can cause seizures or liver failure.’
Makes 4 pancakes (1 per serving)
1 banana, peeled
1 tbsp peanut butter (xylitol-free) 1 egg
2 tbsp oat flour (you can make this by whizzing up a few handfuls of oats in a blender until fine and powdery)
1. Heat a frying pan. As this is warming up, mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and well combined.
2. When the pan is hot, ladle in about 3 tbsp of mixture (enough for a big enough pancake to cut a tree shape from). If you have a larger pan, you should be able to fit in a couple at a time.
3. After a couple of minutes, carefully flip the pancakes to cook the other side. Cook for a couple mins more, then remove from the pan.
4. Repeat until all the mixture is used, then leave to cool.
5. When ready, use a small Christmas tree cookie cutter to make your pancakes a festive shape!
6. Serve one to your dog – trimmimgs and leftover pancakes can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
Chilly snowman bites
If there’s one thing dogs love about winter, it’s playing in the snow. With these little bites, you can bring them a bit of the winter chill they adore – with a hit of vegetable goodness, too. ‘These treats will help keep your dog amused on those dark winter nights,’ reveals Emma. ‘They’re also low in fat, after all that Christmas indulgence.’
Makes 24 bites (2 per serving)
1 large parsnip
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan.
2. Peel the parsnip and cut into batons. Spread evenly on a baking tray and cook for 25-30 mins, until soft.
3. As the parsnip is baking, prepare and cook the cauliflower. Remove any leaves and break into smaller florets. Heat a pan on the hob and fill with about 5cm of water, then add the cauliflower. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and drain.
4. When both vegetables are ready, add them to a blender, along with the water. Whizz until well combined and the mixture is smooth.
5. Carefully spoon the mix into a silicone snowman ice cube tray, then place in the freezer.
6. When set, remove a snowman and share with your dog. These icy treats will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
Christmas dinner muffins
These eggy cups are a great way to use up some festive leftovers – and give your canine friend his own little Christmas feast. ‘Dogs can’t resist roast turkey and beef,’ Emma points out. ‘And both are a great source of protein for your canine friend.’
Makes 12 muffins (1 per serving)
170g plain turkey or beef, cooked
1 large carrot
20g frozen peas, defrosted
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Meanwhile, cut or shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.
2. Boil some water in a pan. Meanwhile, peel the carrot and cut into small pieces. Then cook for a few minutes until tender. Remove from heat.
3. Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add in the meat and vegetables. Stir thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.
4. Using a muffin tray, carefully spoon the mix into each section until about three-quarters full. For an extra festive feel, put your mix into a Christmas-shaped mould, like a snowman or tree!
5. Place the muffins in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through, and a skewer poked into their centre comes out clean. Leave to cool, then let your dog tuck into one. The rest will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.
We’d love to see how they turn out! Post a picture of your finished treats on Instagram or Twitter, tagging @Petplan_UK with the hashtag #PethoodStories.