As you celebrate Christmas with roasted meats, cheese platters and extra desserts, you may be tempted to include your pet in the festivities. Feeding your dog human food may be your way of showing love, but this can quickly rack up the calories or upset your pet’s stomach. Some holiday foods may even be unsafe for dogs. Knowing what you should and shouldn’t feed your dog at Christmas ensures a safe and happy holiday for your four-legged friend.
What Should You Avoid Feeding Your Dog at Christmas?
High-fat, high-calorie foods can make your dog gain weight or give them a stomach-ache. These include:
- Anything fried in fat, butter or oil
- Milk, cheese and other dairy products
- Turkey or chicken skin
- Pigs in blankets
- Herbs and spices
Then, certain Christmas foods are downright hazardous because they cause choking, intestinal blockages or toxicity in dogs. Here’s what you should never feed your pet:
- Animal bones
- Onions, garlic, leeks and shallots
- Mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake
- Currants, grapes, raisins and sultanas
- Macadamia nuts and walnuts
- Yeast and uncooked dough
- Caffeine and alcohol
What is Safe to Feed Your Dog at Christmas?
If you can’t resist giving your pet a titbit of your holiday feast, consider these human foods that dogs can safely eat:
- Lean white turkey meat
- Plain mashed or boiled potatoes
- Boiled or steamed vegetables in moderation, including carrots, parsnips, green beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli florets, peas, spinach or cauliflower (with no added butter, oil, salt or sauce)
- Fruit in moderation (except rhubarb), with any pips or stones removed
- Cranberry sauce
- Scrambled eggs
Keep these additional tips in mind when treating your dog at Christmas:
- Reward your pet with something other than food: You can spoil your dog for the holidays without offering table scraps! For instance, you might give them a new toy, offer extra playtime and go on lots of walks to make your dog feel special and included.
- Offer human food in moderation: Even the smallest sliver of meat is a big treat in your dog’s eyes, so don’t feel the need to give them a human-size serving. To balance out their daily calorie intake, account for any treats by cutting down the amount of dog food you serve at your pet’s regular meals.
- Ask guests not to feed your pet: You might be taking the time to learn what’s safe to feed your dog at Christmas, but your guests may not be so well-informed. Ensure your pet doesn’t end up eating anything unsafe by asking your friends and family not to offer any human food.
- Keep your holiday feast well away from your dog: A steaming platter of turkey or grease-lined roasting pan can be an irresistible temptation for your pup. To avoid making a mess or upsetting your dog’s stomach, keep all baking and serving dishes out of reach. In fact, it’s best to remove your dog from the kitchen and dining room whilst preparing, serving and eating Christmas dinner.
- Empty the rubbish bin: Not only does raw meat and table scraps stink up the bin, but your dog may decide to go rummaging in the middle of the night. To prevent this, take the rubbish out before bed.
- Don’t feed your dog from the table: One risk of feeding your pet part of your dinner is that they come to expect this at every meal. As you know, it can be hard to resist those puppy dog eyes. To avoid starting a bad habit, set your dog’s treats aside and only feed them from their bowl once the meal is over.
- Consider upgrading your dog’s diet: Your furry friend is truly a member of the family. As such, you want them to have the very best. This doesn’t mean more human food—it means tasty, nutritionally balanced dog food from brands like Canagan, Eden and Symply. Talk to your vet for help deciding if wet, semi-moist or dry dog food is best for your pet’s dietary needs.