These Meatballs For Dogs are easy healthy meatballs for your furry pet. They are packed with vegetables, lean ground meat, and fiber from oats.
Homemade recipes for dogs are a great addition to the daily dog food you provide to your pet.
Of course, dogs can rely only on store-bought food. It’s nutritionally designed for their specific needs. But cooking for your dog once a week or two is a great way to share some love with your furry pet.
However, to keep your dog’s meals healthy and balanced, make sure you know which ingredients are toxic for dogs. And, also use ingredients that add real nutrients to your dog’s health.
Are Meatballs OK For Dogs?
No, dogs can’t eat all types of meatballs. If the meatballs contain onions or garlic which are the most two common additives in meatballs recipes, then the meatballs are toxic for dogs.
Dog-friendly meatballs should only contain ground meat that your dog tolerates and can include breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, vegetables or fruits, or yogurt. But no additives like tomato sauce which is also toxic to dogs if it contains xylitol, garlic, salt, or onions.
How To Make Meatballs For Dogs
There are many ways to shape healthy dog-friendly meatballs for your furry pet.
Ingredients For Dog Meatball Recipe
This easy meatball recipe for dogs is made with:
- Lean Ground Beef – Any lean cut of meat like ground turkey for dog turkey meatballs or ground chicken to make chicken meatballs.
- Grated Carrots – It’s a great source of vitamin C.
- Grated Zucchini or sweet potatoes or more carrots.
- Quick Oats or rolled oats – This binder acts like regular breadcrumbs in classic meatballs. Oats bind meat protein and vegetables. But, it’s a healthier option for dogs. Oats contain more fiber and proteins that keep dogs full quickly.
- Egg – Or a flaxseed egg if you don’t have egg or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. This sticks the ingredients together.
Toxic Ingredients To Exclude In Doggy Meatballs
There are many ingredients that are toxic for dogs and should not be added to the dog meatballs mixture:
- Onions – raw or cooked
- Garlic – raw or cooked
- Salt – adding salt to dog food can lead to dehydration and it’s not useful for taste.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and use a spoon to stir and bring them together. You can also use your hands to squeeze the ingredients and form a consistent meat batter.
Use a small cookie dough scoop to scoop some meatball batter and shape meatballs of the same size.
Place the meatballs on the lined baking sheet. Leave half a thumb of space between each meatball so they bake evenly and don’t stick together.
Bake at 350°F (180°C) until the meat is cooked through, crispy on the edge and the meat is not pink in the center of the meatball.
The cooking time depends on the size of your meatballs and can vary between 15 to 20 minutes for mini meatballs and 25 to 30 minutes for the larger size variant.
The meatballs should be brown on the side and not pink in the middle, or the meat is uncooked.
You can also cook your homemade meatballs for dogs in a non-stick pan with a bit of oil in the pan, like olive oil.
Cook on all sides until the meatballs are brown and cooked in the center with no more pink meat.
Serving Meatballs To Dogs
The first thing you should avoid is ready-made tomato sauce. This tomato sauce often contains garlic and onion too. And as mentioned before, this is toxic to dogs.
The best way to serve meatballs to dogs is plain as a dog treat, give one or two meatballs.
Or or with a nutritious side of grains like:
- Cooked Pasta – Wholewheat pasta is a great healthy choice.
- Cooked Rice or cooked brown rice – If your dog has a sensitive stomach, rice also helps digest food better.
- Cooked and Steamed Vegetables – The best vegetables for dogs are steamed sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, peas, or carrots.
Store the cooked meatballs for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
You can freeze the cooked dog meatballs in freezer bags for up to 1 month. Thaw them in the fridge the day before.
Pick some of the option below if needed.
- Oats – You can swap the oats for cooked rice, flour or wholegrain breadcrumbs.
- Carrots and Zucchini – Both can be swapped or replaced by other veggies like chopped spinach leaves, grated celery, finely chopped green beans, or broccoli pulsed in a rice-like texture.
- Egg – You can replace the egg with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce or 1 tablespoon of flax meal stirred in 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Flaxseed meal is healthy for dog skin and hair as it’s high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are my answers to your most common questions about this recipe.
No, onion is toxic for dogs. It contains compounds called N-propyl disulfide that damage red blood cells and cause anemia in dogs.
No, like onion, raw or cooked garlic is toxic to dogs.
As a general rule, provide 2% of their body weight in cooked meat per day.
So for a 40-pound dog (20kg), allow about 13 ounces (400 grams) of meat a day.
No, the sauce often contains toxic additives for dogs like onion, garlic and unnecessary salt.
Some dogs don’t digest almonds very well. So the best swap to oats are breadcrumbs made from stale wholegrain bread that you pulse in a food processor into fine flour.
Meat is an excellent source of protein for dogs as it contains all the essential amino acids.
The best cut of meat for dogs is lean meat. Remove as much fat from the meat. If using chicken, remove the skin.
For beef or lamb, remove small white spots from the meat or order lean ground meat from the butcher.
Yes, cooked wheat or rice spaghetti are safe for dogs if made from only ingredients that includes wheat or rice, water and or eggs.
For a healthier choice, choose wholegrain pasta. You may like to cut the spaghetti in smaller pieces to avoid dog choking on long pasta, especially for smaller dogs.
Does your dog love these meatballs? Share a comment or review below.
Meatballs For Dogs
- 1 pound Ground Lean Beef or ground chicken or ground turkey
- 1 large Egg note 1
- 4 tablespoons Rolled Oats
- ⅓ cup Grated Carrots
- ⅓ cup Grated Zucchinis squeezed out water
- In a large mixing bowl, add lean ground beef (or chicken or turkey), egg, rolled oats, grated carrots, and grated zucchini.
- Stir to bring all the ingredients together and form a sticky meat batter.
- Scoop out the meat batter with a tablespoon and roll into mini meatballs between hands. If sticky, lightly oil hands with oil.
- Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake them at 350°F (180°C) for 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway. Bake until crispy on the edges and cooked and warm in the middle. The meat should not be pink anymore.
- Serve lukewarm and plain as a dog treat or as a meal with cooked wholegrain pasta or cooked rice.
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze dogs' meatballs in freezer bags for up to 1 month.