Giving Thanks for our Pets

A little Thanksgiving history, and recipes your pet will love


Back on Track Thanksgiving.jpg

A recent tradition associated with this holiday is the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. Beginning in 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys. Reportedly, John F. Kennedy was the first president to spare the turkey given to him. In 1987, Ronald Reagan was the first to grant the turkey a presidential pardon, which he jokingly presented to his turkey. The turkey was spared and sent to a petting zoo. In 1989, the turkey pardon became an annual tradition by George H. W. Bush, and has been carried on by every president each year since.

The U. S. has been celebrating Thanksgiving since 1789, after President George Washington gave a speech listing many reasons for a national day of celebration. In December of 1941, President Roosevelt signed a bill establishing the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law and fixing the day as the fourth Thursday of November.

At this time of year, we tend to take a little more time to reflect on the things we are thankful for. Friends and family, including our four-legged family members, usually top this list. Whether it be a traditional meal or not, as we plan the menu for our holiday gatherings, we can include “Buddy” and “Kitty” in the meal celebration. These healthy recipes will help ensure our furry guests don’t feel left out. But remember, just as with humans, indulge in moderation.

Roasted Turkey Medallions

Turkey provides potassium and essential amino acids and is a protein-packed snack. 

Slice a few slivers when the turkey comes out of the oven to create these mouth-watering morsels. Baking them is so quick and easy, they’ll be done by the time the turkey hits the table.


  •         6 oz. white meat turkey, cooked
  •         ½ c. chopped carrots
  •         ½ c. ground quinoa or oatmeal


  1.     Preheat oven to 400°.
  2.     Place turkey and carrots in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3.     Add ground quinoa or oatmeal and blend until mixed.
  4.     Roll into 1-inch balls (or smaller, if your pet is petite) and place on a non-stick cooking sheet.
  5.     Bake 15 minutes.

Yields: 30 servings
Calories per medallion: 17

Pumpkin Smoothies

Pumpkin is packed with fiber and vitamin A and can help soothe upset stomachs.

While your guests sip cocktails, dogs and cats can wet their whistles with this creamy pumpkin drink that’s packed with fiber and digestion-friendly probiotics. Bonus: freezes well for longer-lasting licking!


  •         ½ c. canned pumpkin puree
  •         ½ c. plain non-fat yogurt


  1.     Place pumpkin and yogurt in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2.     Evenly pour mixture into 8 small paper cups. Either refrigerate or freeze overnight, or serve right away.

Yields: 8 servings

Calories per smoothie: 13

Tip:  If there are fewer than eight paw-footed guests at your party, freeze the rest for a Black Friday treat

Happy Thanksgiving from Back on Track!