The excitement would roll over me like waves in the sea when my mom made my favorite dish for dinner. Spaghetti with meatballs! I’ve always loved pasta and sauce – especially if it has meatballs in the sauce.
And it turns out that dogs love meatballs too.
Can I Give My Dog Meatballs?
Yes! But there are a few small cautions. Overall, meatballs are a great treat to make for your dog and if you make them in a balanced way can also serve as easy-to-proportion dog food.
When you make meatballs for dogs you should never include onion or garlic. If your dog gets a hold of human meatball with these ingredients they are probably going to be fine, because they are only toxic in larger quantities. A medium size dog would have to eat a whole onion for it to be a problem.
The basic rule of thumb is humans can eat all the dog meatball recipes on this page, but dogs should usually not eat human meatballs because they often contain onion and garlic.
Important Note: Garlic and onion are common ingredients in meatballs, but are toxic to dogs. Dog meatballs should NEVER contain these ingredients.
How to Make Dog Meatballs
I have 9 recipes here for dog safe meatballs. Generally you make them the same way you make human meatballs by combining the ingredients, rolling them into balls and cooking.
Dogs go crazy for these recipes! Pick one or two or experiment with all 11 – and have fun!
Doggy Turkey Meatballs
These tasty meatballs are perfect for dogs. They have meat, greens and grains in one delicious bite.
(All depends on how big you make them)
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
- 3/4 cup cooked broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
- Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Roll into large meatballs, there should be enough for between 10-20. All depends on the size of your dog.
- Fry them in a pan with butter on medium heat until done.
Try ground chicken, lamb, beef, or pork! Change out the chopped cooked veggie for cauliflower. You can even use long grain rice instead of brown rice.
Nice, simple, and easy!!
Chicken and Rice Balls for Dogs
Most bigger grocery stores now carry ground chicken. If they don’t you can grind chicken yourself using the attachment for a kitchen aid mixer or a meat grinder.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup cooked chopped spinach
- 1/3 cup cooked carrots, minced
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients.
- Form the mixture into small balls, and place on a parchment-lined baking tray.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Thank you to TasteMade for this recipe.
Lamb Meatballs for Dogs
Dogs go crazy for lamb. It’s not as common in the United States as it is in countries like New Zealand, but you can still find it in most large groceries or at some farms and butchers. It’s often available at Easter time in the US.
- Approximately 150g lean minced meat (we used lamb)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
- 1 tsp dried rosemary (optional)
- 1 tsp dried parsley (optional)sprinkle of ground black pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup rolled oatswheatgerm or rice/oatflour (optional) to adjust consistency for shaping (see tips below)
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Combine mince, egg, flax, and herbs in a mixing bowl.
- Stir in oats. If using an optional add-in for consistency, knead it into the mixture to combine to the desired consistency for shaping (see tips below).
- Roll into small bite sized mini meatballs and place in a lightly greased baking dish.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through. Cool before serving or storage (refrigerate or freeze). Pampered pooches might enjoy their treats warmed slightly for extra smell and flavour.
Tips and Tricks:
- Lamb is common here in New Zealand, and my dogs are wild about it! You can easily substitute another lean ground meat to make these meatballs, if you (or your dog) prefer.
- Not sure about the seasonings? You can omit or use less if you prefer. Curious about dog-friendly herbs and other options? Check out this little slideshow at Modern Dog for other dog-friendly herb ideas.
- Treats can be made smaller for little dogs or broken up for serving. Batch quantity and cooking times will vary depending on your meatball size.
- When working with meatballs, especially making them miniature, I find adding adding some wheatgerm or flour to the mix helps to make the meaty mix easier to handle and shape. This is, of course, completely optional. How much depends on the wetness of the mix (varies with base ingredients) and the texture/absorbency of what I add for the adjustment. For these volumes and my usual meats, I use around 2 tbsp of flour or up to 4 tbsp of wheatgerm. In the meatballs pictured, I used 2 tbsp of oat flour.
Turkey Meatballs for Diabetic Dogs
If you have a dog with a medical condition like diabetes, always clear their food with your vet before serving. This recipe works well for most diabetic dogs because it is low in sugar and high in nutrients.
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 1/2 cup of squash or sweet potato puree
- 1/2 cup of brown rice (optional)
- 1 egg (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and blend well.
- On a cookie sheet covered with foil (for easy cleanup) use a soup spoon to create heaping round meatballs spaced about 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until they start to brown slightly on the top.
- Cool and serve. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 4 days or so.
Thank you to Comfy Belly for this recipe!
Dog Friendly Chicken Meatballs with Oats
Meatballs are a wonderful high value treat for dog training, and this recipe holds together well for that purpose because the oats act as a natural binder.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 cup oats
- 1 egg
- 2 heaping tablespoons parsley
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. (I use the toaster oven)
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Let sit for five minutes.
- In the meantime, spray a broiler pan.
- Form the mixture into balls, and cook for 10-14 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs.
- Let cool on a paper towel, and then refrigerate. You can also freeze them, and take them out when needed.
Thank you to My Tail Hurts from Wagging So Much for this recipe!
Cheesy-Beefy Homemade Dog Meatballs
These dog meatballs are a real treat! They have ingredients that dogs love (cheese and beef) and are good enough to share at your table. Just make sure the breadcrumbs you use don’t have garlic powder in them.
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 95/5)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped or shredded carrots
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of your ingredients. Everything should stick together very nicely.
- Now form your meatballs. As I said, you can do these any size you want depending on the size of your dog. I like to make mine about 1 inch sized balls.
- Place your meatballs on your cookie sheet. I used non-stick aluminum foil, but you can also just spray your cookie sheet as well.
- Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Again, the time depends on the size of your meatballs. If you made smaller ones, do a bit less time, if they are larger, cook a bit longer
Thank you to Gone to the Snow Dogs for this recipe!
Italian Style Meatballs for Dog Recipe
Most Italian dishes have garlic and onions – which is a no-go for dogs because both ingredients are toxic to our pooch. This recipe avoids those ingredients and still produces a mouthwatering meatball.
- 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
- 1 Egg
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
- ½ cup Breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Chopped Spinach
- ¼ cup Chopped Carrots
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed.
- Form mixture into meatballs (adjust size accordingly to what you prefer for your dog).
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Adjust cooking time as needed depending on the size of your meatballs.
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Serve to your dog and let them enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days.
Dog Meatballs with Ground Turkey and Yogurt
It’s unusual to put yogurt in a meatball, but it adds needed moisture to this recipe that uses up the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.
- 1 lb of leftover turkey, with bones and skin removed
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup mixed veggies (we used carrot, peas, and green beans)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400º
- Pop leftover turkey into the bowl of your food processor and pulse a couple time to break up the meat.
- Add the rolled oats and pulse until well-combined and no large pieces appear.
- Add the egg and yogurt and pulse until the mixture just starts holding together.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- Add your veggies and parsley and mix with your hands until incorporated.
- Roll into 1” balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until just becoming golden around the edges.
Thank you to Rover.com for this recipe
Turkey and Sweet Potato Meatballs for Dogs
This recipe uses whole, baked sweet potatoes and has a sweeter flavor than most of the other recipes on this page.
- 1 lb Shredded or Ground Turkey
- 1 Egg
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 1 Cup Gluten Free Quick Cook Oats
- 1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon
- 2 tsp. Honey
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh or dried Parsley
- Poke 4 or 5 holes in sweet potato,
- Place sweet potato in oven preheated to 400°
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until soft. Or you can microwave for 8-10 minutes.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- Pull skin from sweet potato and scoop inside into a large bowl.
- In a blender, chopper, or food processor combine parsley and egg, run until parsley is well chopped. Add to sweet potato in bowl.
- Add turkey, oats, cinnamon, honey and parsley.
- Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Roll turkey mixture into balls, slightly smaller than a golf ball.
- Place in oven that has been preheated to 350°.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow to cool, store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
The Bottom Line on Dog Friendly Meatballs
There are lots of versions of dog friendly meatball recipes. The basic guideline that you need to follow is to make sure whichever recipe you use doesn’t contain onions or garlic as these can be toxic to dogs in larger quantities.
Have fun experimenting! And enjoy cooking for your dog!
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