Christmas Foods for Dogs – Do’s and Don’ts
With the Christmas season upon us, and as a nation of pet lovers, it’s only natural to want to involve our pets in the festivities.
With so much delicious food around, dogs will often be slipped a scrap or two, but be prepared when your four legged friend comes begging; not all festive foods should be shared and may even be harmful to your dog.
Although the below foods are OK for dogs to eat, this should all be done in moderation as too much rich food can cause stomach upset…and you will agree that’s not the sort of present you will want for Christmas!
- Turkey – Overall, lean, white meat is safe for dogs in small quantities. Turkey skin is rich and fatty which can upset stomachs, causing vomiting and weight gain. Make sure you remove bones from the meat before giving to your dog to avoid choking (or even for cats who eat their food carefully).
- Salmon– Salmon is a great Christmas treat for both you and your pooch. Not only is it high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but salmon will support your dog’s immune system and adding shine to their coat.
- Cranberry sauce – This can be given to pets in small quantities, however be aware of the natural sugar content included in shop bought sauce.
- Other fruits such as apples can be given to your dog but make sure to cut out the core as apple seeds are toxic to dogs. With the abundance of unhealthy foods around, apple slices can make a great healthy alternative to biscuits!
- Winter veggies – Most vegetables are fine for dogs in small quantities; including carrots, green beans, courgettes, and even brussell sprouts!
- Potatoes and parsnips are also safe choices for your dog, however always bear in mind how much oil or butter has been added. Sweet potatoes are high in natural sugar so only to be given in very small portions.
Stay away foods
- Bread sauce – Bread sauce may appear to be a safe food, however don’t be fooled by its bland appearance! Many dogs are lactose intolerant so milk, cream and butter can cause stomach issues with your dog.
- Nuts – Christmas would not be Christmas without bowls of the classic nibbles, but whilst a little peanut butter is fine for dogs, macadamia nuts or walnuts can be toxic.
- Gravy – Pets absolutely love gravy, however unfortunately it’s incredibly fatty and rich which leads to sickness and weight gain. Gravy is often full of seasoning which aren’t recommended for animals.
- Alliums– Garlic, leeks and onions are extremely toxic and should be avoided. Allium ingredients are frequently included in Christmas recipes so take care to check all foods before giving to your pets.
- Stuffing – Although usually meat based, even the blandest stuffing is full of flavourings, fats and alliums which are dangerous for pets, so to keep things simple, stuffing is a no go.
- Ham– Ham, gammon and pork products in general can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and even pancreatitis, which causes other digestive problems.
- Grapes and Raisins – These can potentially be really harmful to both cats and dogs and has been proven to cause kidney failure in dogs. Watch out for mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes which usually all contain dried fruit.
- Chocolate – Most pet owners will know not to give chocolate to pets, however you may want to remind guests not to give animals a taste of chocolate desserts!
- Sweeteners (Xylitol)– Although you may be trying to make a healthier options to sugar, an ingredient in sweeteners (Xylitol) is poisonous for animals, and deadly for dogs!
- Alcohol – It may sound obvious but brandy butter and alcoholic drinks are a big no for all pets, especially dogs. Booze, even in tiny amounts, can do permanent damage or even be deadly so be sure to keep wine glasses out of reach.
Just like humans, pets gain weight over the festive season. Be sure to factor your pet’s treats into their daily food intake. The calories in pet treats can quickly add up; they should only make up about 10 percent of your pet’s daily calorie intake.