Cooking For Dogs: Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins with Mashed Potato Icing

Sometimes, I find myself craving comfort foods just like the kind Mom used to make.
Well, not really the kind my Mom used to make, since she isn’t much interested in cooking, is often missing basic ingredients like salt or pepper in her kitchen and has been known to say things like “should this be pink in the middle”?. No, when I crave comfort foods, I always think of June Cleaver.

Turkey Meatloaf Cupcake

Except for one dish; my Mom’s specialty: Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes.

My Mom makes killer turkey meatloaf and those little cupcakes are cute as woof, but it’s not dog-friendly. It’s full of yummy good things like mushrooms, which my dogs hate; bacon, which is fatty and can be dangerous for dogs (hello pancreatitis!) and onions, which are downright toxic. You should never give your dog onions, like ever. I figure that it’s time to give this family favourite recipe a dog friendly makeover.

Cooking for Dogs: all you need is a plan.

I knew that the meatloaf would never taste quite like my home-cooked favourite without all those un-dog-friendly ingredients, so I hatched a plan to make a meatloaf base that was safe to feed pups and people, and then I’d take those illicit ingredients, fry them into a hash and serve them to the humans only with their meatloaf.

You can do that, you know!

Often, when I talk to people about cooking for their pets, I hear that they’d love to try it, but they’re afraid that eating plain, unseasoned food will be bland and boring. Who wants to slave over a hot stove and then be disappointed in the meal?! No one! Creating a dog friendly base that you can serve to the pups plain, then adding a topping people will find delicious is a great way to make everyone happy. As a bonus, these adorable tiny little meatloaf cupcakes are a big hit with those tiny humans. Kids love the whimsy of cupcakes for dinner.

Cooking for Dogs Turkey Meat Loaf

Dog-Friendly Meatloaf Base:
½ lb. ground turkey thigh
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup grated zucchini
½ cup puffed quinoa (or bread crumbs, if you and your dog are grain tolerant)
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
Generous pinch garlic powder
1 large potato for Dog Friendly “Mashed Potato Icing”

Cooking for Dogs Turkey Meat Loaf Muffins

Only for People/Never Give It to Your Dogs Topping:
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup sliced onions
3 strips bacon, diced

Making the Dog-Friendly Meatloaf Base:

Preheat oven to 400F and line a mini muffin tray with cupcake liners (I love the reuseable silicone ones because they are so easy to peel off!)

Finely dice the potato, toss it in a pot with some water and place it on the stove to boil over medium high heat. When the potato is fully cooked, remove from heat, drain off water and mash until smooth.
While the potato cooks, mix together ground turkey, carrot, zucchini, egg, puffed quinoa (or bread), parsley & garlic powder. Get messy and use your hands to make sure it is all mixed together and the egg is thoroughly incorporated.
Break the meat into small pieces and fill the cupcake liners slightly too full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked all the way through.

Topping for Meatloaf Muffins

Making the For Humans Only/Never Feed This to Your Dogs Topping:
In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté the mushrooms, bacon and onion. Set aside.

Let’s serve dinner!
Scoop your mashed potatoes into an icing bag or a baggie with the tip cut off. I used an icing bag and I didn’t even put an icing tip on it, just the coupler, since I wanted a really wide opening, but my Mom always did this with a baggie and it worked just fine. Pipe the mashed potato icing onto the meatloaf cupcakes.

Voila! Your dog-friendly meatloaf cupcakes are ready to serve!
Pop one or two into Fido’s bowl over for a tasty treat. Don’t overdo it though: this isn’t a balanced meal, so it’s not meant to replace your dog’s regular kibble.

Once you have given your dog the plain meatloaf & potato cupcakes, you can finish the human version!

Scoop a generous spoonful of the for humans only onion and mushroom onto a plate for each member of your human family. Sit the meat loaf cupcakes on top, garnish with some fresh steamed veggies and serve.

Dogs waiting

Kolchak and Felix waiting for their Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

There you go! A dog-friendly meal, a tasty topper that you can serve to the humans only and a meal that your whole family can enjoy! No need to compromise on flavour to get a meal that is safe to share with your canine family.

What do you think? Have you ever changed a favourite recipe to make it more dog friendly?

Jodi, Kolchak, and Felix
Meet our Cooking for Dogs Editor Jodi and her dogs Kolchak and Felix

Jodi is a canine nutrition and small animal naturopathy student hailing from beautiful Vancouver, BC. (That’s in Canada, eh?) She loves to experiment in the kitchen, creating tasty (and healthy) treats for her two dogs, Felix & Kolchak and the rest of her family. Jodi’s blog, Kol’s Notes follows the antics of the irrepressible Kolchak as he celebrates good food, good friends and the good life.

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  1. Sounds really good although I’m not that sure about the garlic powder.

    • Kolchak, Felix & Jodi says

      You can always leave it out! The amount used split across 24 mini meatloaf is much less than the “safe” dose, even for a small dog. In fact, pup could eat this entire batch and be OK, but if it make you at all uncomfortable, it’s super easy to leave it out, though the meatloaf might be a tad bland without it :0)

  2. wow, sounds good enough for a human to eat! 🙂

    • Jodi, Kolchak & Felix says

      It absolutely is! The whole idea is that it’s a meal you can make for your family – and share part of it with the dogs! There’s a little something for everyone!

  3. I pinned it! Looks fantastic!

  4. Your little buddies are lucky! Great food idea.

  5. Another awesome recipe for dogs. Do a lot of people do this? Make food from scratch for their dogs?

    • Jodi, Kolchak & Felix says

      It’s not really meant to be “for your dogs”. It’s a meal for yourself, that you could share with your dog as a special treat! These recipes definitely aren’t “nutritionally complete” or meant for use instead of dog food, just as a dog friendly snack!

      So many people like to share a bite or two off their plate with their pups and too often that food is full of fat and other things that can make dogs sick. Our recipes are meant to be shareable *and* safe!

      • Melissa Say What? says

        Thanks for the clarification! I don’t know if I could spare a special treat for my dog after reading this YUM recipe!

  6. MMmm……heck we could all share a

  7. bre dale says

    Sounds like something I want to eat! Lol

  8. This will come in so handy when we get a pup next month. I mean, I won’t feed him this right away, but I love the recipe!!

  9. These look great and what a great idea! I bet my mom’s dog Major would love these!

  10. Wow – those dogs eat better than I do! 🙂

  11. I’m with Lisa, those dogs eat better than me! That looks delicious though!

  12. i dont even eat this good lol unless my hubby cooks i eat ramen. I really need to learn to cook like you!

  13. I loving cooking in cupcake trays; everything is more fun when it’s bite sized!

    My dogs already sit around the table waiting for something to fall. It would be fun to make a meal we could share!

  14. my daughter won’t eat my meatloaf, but I bet she’d eat this recipe in cupcake form!

  15. So, I’m curious from a frugal perspective – I’m guessing this is lower cost than having to buy as much dog food. Do you still purchase dog food and supplement with things like this?

    • Kolchak, Felix & Jodi says

      I absolutely still our raw dog food and supplements, Cyndi. Our recipes are in no way whatsoever nutritionally complete enough to use instead of a balanced dog food. They are meant as a treat once in a while.

      There are great recipes out there that you can make for your dog instead of dog food, but since so many nutrients burn off during cooking I absolutely recommend visiting a Canine Nutritionist or a site like before switching to homemade dog food. An unbalanced home cooked diet is every bit as dangerous as a poorly made cheap kibble!

    • Kolchak, Felix & Jodi says

      PS – to answer your question: I home cooked for a long time for my dogs, by the time you buy the appropriate variety of meats (variety is really important) and veggies, and the bone meal and mineral supplements etc. required to balance a home cooked diet, I found it was about the same as a high end kibble, as long as I watched the sales and stocked up when things especially meats were on sale.

  16. I will make this one for my dog, Sandie, and share this with a friend’s dog since we couldn’t possibly give her all of them in enough time! Very healthy and approved! Thank you and I shared this!

    • Kolchak, Felix & Jodi says

      LOL, why not finish the rest yourself? The recipe is meant to be a snack that you and your dog can share!

  17. It looks good, I would make that for myself:) I’m sure your dogs were happy!!

    • Kolchak, Felix & Jodi says

      That’s the idea April! It’s a recipe that you can make for yourself, but also share with your dog! There something tasty for everyone!

  18. These look delicious! I am sending to my sister!

  19. Cathie Shane says

    These look like something I can spoil my dogs with. They are always begging for human food and there are so many things i can’t give them. I love spoiling my dogs and this would be the perfect way to be able to do that.

  20. penny hyde says

    have a turkey defrosting that we are going to brine the breast to roast and grind the dark meat for this great recipe. since Trouble Hyde is a relatively small dog, I think I will make his portions in mini muffin tins while cooking ours in full sized tins. He will be so tickled as he would much rather eat what my husband has than his kibble, even though it is well balanced and high end. thanks so much for sharing. i love cooking for him while making our food. he is a big fan of green beans and carrots and brown rice. and so very spoiled.

  21. This looks like a fantastic meal! I’ll have to bookmark this page thanks!

  22. We cook up some food for our huskies every few weeks. Usually stews that look and smell good enough for people. The last one we made was Triple B stew, and the next night we were looking for something for dinner and were seriously considering heating some up.


  1. […] Turkey Meatloaf – This is a recipe you can share with everyone including the family pet! It is cute and fun and the kids will love it. […]

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