Safe special treats for the Holidays
This is not meant to replace the advice of a Veterinarian, please ask any questions specific to your dog's diet to a trusted medical professional! This post is filled with general information about what is nutritionally safe to use for doggie treats and what common holiday foods should be avoided.
There are quite a few human foods to avoid feeding to your dog but there are some yummy staples of a Christmas dinner that your dog can safely eat in moderation.
Your dog can enjoy small amounts of boneless, skinless white meat. Most other meats are OK for dogs as well as long as there is not a bunch of seasoning or spices in it. Use ham or other processed meat very sparingly as it is high in salt! Ground beef, shredded chicken, salmon are some of my dogs favorites.
A tasty festive treat but make sure you only feed your dog plain mashed or boiled potatoes with nothing else added (e.g. salt, butter). Moderation is important. Potatoes, no matter how they are prepared or cooked are very starchy, which dogs can struggle to digest. Sweet potatoes are also a great option and can easily be baked right in the peel for a delicious treat without added seasoning.
Take it easy with veggies but you can feed your dog some carrot, parsnip, green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli florets (very small amount only), peas, spinach, cauliflower etc... Most green or mixed veg is fine for dogs. Avoid corn on the cob and bulb vegetables such as onions and leeks.
We like to start Christmas off with a breakfast buffet of sorts that changes from year to year. As a treat you can cook your dog an egg too. Eggs are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals and are good for our dog’s health. If you are worried about the salmonella risk of feeding raw eggs, cook them. Scrambled is a great way to cook eggs for your dog, but don’t add milk, butter or salt of course.
Can be high in sugar and can also be acidic, which can upset your dog's digestion so give in moderation and remove the pips/stones first. The fruit to avoid is rhubarb. The stalk of the plant and also its leaves are toxic to canines. Some dogs really love blueberries, apple chunks, and bananas.
These items are dangerous for your dog!
They are hollow and whether raw or cooked they can easily splinter, making them a dangerous puncture or choking hazard.
Turkey or chicken skin
This is far too fatty for your dog. Fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas (Pancreatitis).
Very tasty but too salty and fatty for dogs. They will enjoy their turkey dinner just as much without gravy. It is best avoided.
Onions, garlic and other bulb vegetables (e.g. chives, leeks, shallots)
Onions are a definite no as they are poisonous to dogs. This includes any variant such as onion powder. Also avoid feeding your dog other bulb vegetables e.g. chives, leeks and shallots. Garlic is a contentious issue and while a little bit of garlic is not toxic to your dog it can have a dangerous cumulative effect.
A mixture of breadcrumbs with onions, spices and herbs. Therefore best avoided (see above). Dogs are not used to eating herbs and spicy foods and stomach upsets may result
Grapes, raisins, currants, sultanas
These are fatal to dogs, even in small amounts. Seek veterinary help immediately if your dog eats these foods. Some dogs can cope with eating a few but many cannot and you have no idea which way your dog may react so don’t risk it at all.
Mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake
Apart from being full of dangerous fat, these festive treats contain dried fruits (such as raisins, see above), spices and sometimes alcohol.
A festive favorite for many of us but both the fruit and the stone of the avocado contain a chemical that is dangerous to dogs.
So tasty but a big danger to dogs. It contains Theobromine which can be deadly to canines, even in small amounts. Keep it well out of their reach at all times.
Yeast and uncooked dough
It rises and ferments in the stomach. Not only painful but can be fatal. Keep yeast and dough safely away from your dog when doing your Christmas baking.
Human deserts and sweets
These are way too sugary or if they are sugar-free they contain artificial sweeteners. The sweetener Xylitol is very dangerous to dogs and sugar is bad for your dog’s waistline and teeth.
Macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic to dogs and salted peanuts of course won’t do your dog any favours. Other nuts such as cashew nuts, pistachios and almonds are OK in small quantities but may be hard to digest and may cause stomach upsets.
Fruit pips and stones
Dogs love fruit but only in moderation and be sure to remove all pips and stones first. Many fruit stones and pips (e.g. apple, cherry, peach, pear, plum, and apricot) contain cyanide, which is poisonous. But actually the danger of intestinal blockage is why this is on our list, which probably poses the greater risk.
Milk and dairy products
Take it easy when it comes to giving your dog any milk and dairy products. Dogs have difficulty digesting lactose so upset stomachs can result.
Other dog Christmas food tips
- No booze or caffeine – clear cups and glasses away and put all coffee and alcohol out of reach of your dog.
- Keep pets out of the busy kitchen to prevent accidents.
- Don’t over feed your dog – with dog food/treats or with human food/treats.
- Dispose carefully of wrappers, human food and especially bones.
- Take the rubbish out and whether the rubbish bags are inside or out secure them so they can’t be broken into. Dispose of leftovers, especially the bird carcass, carefully.
- Ask all visitors not to feed your pet anything. It is easier than trying to get everyone to follow the food rules above and if everyone gives your pet tit bits it will soon add up to a lot of extra food.
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