It happens to the best of us--you’re staring into the literal puppy dog eyes of your dog as you’re preparing a big Christmas turkey dinner, feeling the warm glow of gratitude and extra gravy, and you decide to indulge your furry friend in a plate of table scraps. After all, it’s a special occasion and it can’t hurt, right?
All that fat and salt is hard enough on a human digestive system (i.e., the post-meal induced coma), but it can actually be dangerous for your dog. Even one plate of rich, fatty, seasoned food can cause your dog’s pancreas to swell, induce dehydration, frequent urination and even diarrhea. Womp, womp.
But here’s the good news: a perfectly tasty, healthy, appropriate feast for your dog is right under your nose. Well, right under the turkey’s ribcage, to be specific. You know the slimy bag you fish out of the turkey cavity before you start roasting? That otherwise icky bag of giblets (best/worst word ever) is filled with various organ meat, which are actually doggy superfoods! Organ meats are safe for dogs and richer in just about every nutrient, including vitamin A, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, folic acid and especially vitamin B12), minerals such as iron, phosphorus, copper, magnesium and more. Inside you’ll find:
Liver: high in soluble vitamin A (not to be confused with the vegetable source of vitamin A known as beta carotene)
Heart: a concentrated source of supernutrient, CoQ10, plus taurine, an essential amino acid
Gizzard: (another best/worst word) a sort of second stomach high in macronutrients, protein and minerals like zinc and iron
Neck Bone: not something you want to feed the dog directly, but you can use it to flavor the broth
It’s the human equivalent of finding a bag filled with a kale smoothie, quinoa salad, chia seed pudding and a protein bar. (New Years resolutions anyone??)
Here’s the even better news: we’ve got a ten-minute recipe you can prepare right along with your other Christmas dishes so that you can serve your dog a special plate you’ll feel great about. Honestly, it takes less time than arranging all those mistletoes strategically around your house.
What you’ll need:
Open the bag and rinse the contents with water. You can discard the neck (the large neck-shaped item with the bone inside) or put it directly into the saucepan to allow the meat to pick up some extra flavor while cooking. Chop the remaining dark meat into uniform bite-sized pieces. Add the meat to the saucepan and cover everything with water. Place on the stovetop and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for approximately five minutes, or until meat is cooked through. (Hint: the meat floats to the top when it’s done cooking.)
Drain the water, discard the neck bone, and allow the meat to cool completely before serving to your very merry dog.
Happy Christmas feasting!