4 Creative Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers to Make Delicious Dog Treats

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Image credit: Two Healthy Kitchens

Thanksgiving is for dogs, too! With so much to eat, it’s hard not to share the goods with your furry best friend, but be careful. There is a lot of food that can make your dog very sick, including raisins, bones, stuffing, grapes, chocolate, spices and ham, among others. And while your dog can cautiously indulge in unseasoned, skinless turkey meat and goodies like plain sweet potato, even those healthy treats should be fed sparingly.

But your dog doesn’t have to miss out completely on the Thanksgiving menu. They can even come to your rescue and help you use some of your leftovers.

Related: 5 Easy DIY Dog Treats for the Fall

Here are some yummy recipes for dog treats that use typical turkey-day leftovers.

Leftover Turkey Meatballs for Dogs

Turkey without skin or gravy is actually healthy for dogs. This recipe avoids problems like fatty skin, gravy and bones that can splinter. You’ll be able to use your leftover turkey and veggies to make a treat that your dog will go crazy over. You can also add them to your dog’s regular meal. Go here for full recipe information.


  • 1 lb of leftover unseasoned turkey with bones and skin removed
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup mixed veggies (such as carrot, peas, and green beans)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put turkey into a food processor to help break up the meat. Add the rolled oats to the food processor and run until blended well. There should be no large pieces of turkey in the mixture. Add the eggs and yogurt and blend until mixture begins to hold together. Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add veggies and parsley. Roll into small meatballs and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the edges start to turn golden.

Related: Celebrate Your Dog’s Special Day With This Yummy Birthday ‘Pupcakes’ Recipe

Turkey Jerky from Leftover Turkey

This treat will make you feel like a pro in the kitchen — even though it’s so easy to make. There’s no need for a food dehydrator, as you can make this recipe in your oven. Your leftover turkey will turn into crispy, crunchy jerky that your dog will go bananas over. It’s a healthy treat, but stick to white breast meat as it has less fat. Go here for full recipe information, including if you do want to use a food dehydrator.


  • ¼ to ½ cup olive oil, if you choose (enough to cover the turkey strips)
  • Chopped parsley
  • Leftover, unseasoned turkey breast cut into thin strips

In a long container with a lid, mix together the olive oil and finely chopped parsley. Add the sliced turkey, cover, shake gently, and allow to marinate for at least three hours (longer if the turkey is dry). Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet, place strips on it, and slow bake for one hour. The jerky should be crisp and crunchy when done. Let cool; store in refrigerator. You can also freeze, too.

Leftover Thanksgiving Treats

This recipe has limited ingredients, so it’s gentle on sensitive tummies. It’s also crunchy, so it’s good for the teeth. These treats are easy to make and provide a little protein boost and a lot of yum. Go here for full recipe information.


  • 2 cups cooked unseasoned turkey, either ground or shredded into small pieces
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes (cooked and mashed, but not candied)
  • 1 large egg (optional; leave out for dogs that are allergic)
  • 1 cup of leftover vegetables (use plain green beans, carrots, spinach, etc. but do not use corn)
  • ½ cup of processed cranberries (cranberry jelly or preserves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crack and stir egg in a bowl (if using), and then add other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Spread mixture evenly on a baking sheet with a rim. Use a knife to cut squares or rectangles or a cookie cutter for bones. Bake for 25 minutes, flip over with spatula, and bake for another 20 minutes. They should be hard and crunchy when done. Refrigerate or freeze to store.

Sweet Potato and Leftover Turkey Treats

This treat has only four ingredients, and they are super easy to make. They are not only healthy, but dogs really love them. You can make them as little round biscuits using a teaspoon measuring spoon, squares using a pizza cutter or use a cookie cutter to make cute shapes. And for busy dog parents, you can freeze extras in airtight bags if you want to make a large batch at once. Go here for full recipe information.


  • ½ cup plain mashed, cooked sweet potatoes (no spices, butter, or candied yams)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, finely chopped
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together sweet potatoes, water and the egg. Stir until thoroughly blended. Add turkey and flour, and blend until combined. Dough will be thick and sticky. Spread the dough out evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet to about ½ inch thickness. Use the pizza cutter to score the dough into squares or rectangles, or cut shapes with a cookie cutter. If you want to make round biscuits, spoon out by tablespoon, leaving some space between them, and flatten out slightly with the spoon. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the treats are a light golden brown. Let cool. If you’re making squares, you will be able to break them apart along the scored lines. Store in refrigerator or in the freezer.

Related: 30 Super Easy Dog Treats Recipes Using 5 Ingredients or Less

By Jillian Blume

Jillian Blume is a New York City–based writer whose feature articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and websites including the New York Observer, Marie Claire, Self, City Realty, the ASPCA,, Best Friends Animal Society, The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, The Pet Gazette, and many others.

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