Wednesday, 9 December 2015
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{RECIPE} "Mistletoe" Mini Meatballs with Parsley

Homemade meatball dog treats with Christmas party poppers

Let the Christmas treat recipes begin! Every dog lover knows the joy of doggy kisses as well as the perils of dog breath! Oh no! Get ready for many thank you smooches if you bake up a batch of "mistletoe" ready meatballs packed with breath freshening parsley for your pooch charming.

To say that my dogs loved these would be an understatement - as a vegetarian, there is rarely every meat in our house except when it is bought for the pets or occasionally a guest.  Sniffing was set to max and they almost desiccated with drooling anticipation of taste testing duties.  This is a great homemade dog treat to make now, before things get to holiday hectic, and then freeze (except for a few samples of course!) for special treats at Christmas time.  We have some ready and waiting in our freezer!

"Mistletoe" Mini Meatball Dog Treats with Breath Freshening Parsley

🥄 Treat Ingredients:

Approximately 150g lean minced meat (we used lamb)
1 egg
Approximately 1/2 cup of loose fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
A sprinkle of grated cheese (optional)

🥄 Making the Treats: 

Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials. 

Combine minced meat and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients to combine.  Roll into small bite sized mini meatballs and place in a lightly greased baking dish.   Bake for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through (baking time will depend on size).

Cool before serving or storage (refrigerate or freeze). Pampered pooches might enjoy their treats warmed slightly for extra smell and flavour.

Dalmatian dog eating homemade Christmas meatball dog treats

Tips and Tricks:
  • You can substitute another lean ground meat or use an alternative type of binding ingredient instead of wheat germ to go gluten-free. Tweak the volumes if/as needed.
  • These treats can be frozen if you would like to freeze extras (it is a big batch).
  • Treats can be made smaller for little dogs or broken up for serving. Cooking times will vary depending on your meatball size. 
  • Parsley isn't only a dog-friendly breath freshener, but also has some great nutritional content. As with all treats and dietary add-ins, small quantities are best.  Check out this little slideshow at Modern Dog for other dog-friendly herb ideas. Omit or use less if you prefer.  If substituting dried for fresh, use WAY less. A sprinkle will do just fine.
  • Smooching with your dog under the mistletoe is a-ok by us, but don't forget that some festive decorations can be dangerous for pets. Keep hazards like mistletoe, poinsettias, holly, etc well out of the reach.

🦴 Hungry for more tasty treats?  You can explore from our treat navigation page, hop straight into our homemade dog treat ideas in the blog archives, search the blog from our sidebar, or use the labels below this post to find other recipes that might be of interest. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes/dislikes) and dietary needs. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what's suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.

Homemade meatball dog treats in a Christmas bowl


  1. Hi there. I was just wondering how you feel about being a vegetarian but giving meat to your dogs. Can dogs have a vegetarian diet? I am not judging or anything like that just curious.

    1. Oh that is a very tricky question. Thanks for your interest and I will try to give you an answer without writing a full essay. :)

      We try to be conscious of what we are feeding them (source and content), but have no plans to switch them to a full vegetarian diet. No judgement for those who do or don't, just like I have no judgement for people who make a different personal choice than I.

      The most important thing, no matter what dietary choices you make, is ensuring their health. Even as a human, that takes effort and supplementation and with pets it is a totally different degree of dietary difficulty. We have two dogs and a cat, and biologically speaking, dogs are natural omnivores (mixed diet) and cats are natural obligate carnivores (meat eaters). They process certain nutrients differently than humans, than each other, and in some cases different than other breeds of the same species - like Dalmatians and their issues with purine (a type of protein which is high quantity in some meats as well as many vegetarian plant proteins). That isn't to say that a vegetarian (or even vegan diet) isn't potentially feasible, but it requires planning, commitment, and specialised feeding. Again, the health and safety of your pet(s) must always be paramount.

      The internet has some interesting info on the pros/cons if you are curious for more, but I would suggest that anyone considering a vegetarian diet (or any other major dietary change) for their pets should have an open and frank consultation with a trusted vet.

    2. PS - We sometimes talk about greener living with pets in general on the partner blog at Green in Real Life (link on sidebar) if you're curious about "environmental pawprints" in general not just the vegetarian diet.


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