Christmas is a beautiful time that brings family members together, including your pet, when you all get to indulge in some of the tastiest foods.
It is fun to prepare and share Christmas dinner and treats with your pets so they can enjoy the occasion, but beware of some items that would harm their health.
After all, you should ensure your pet is safe around the holidays when!
Feeding your dog Christmas foods like turkey, salmon, sweet potatoes, carrots, cheese, and pumpkin is harmless to share with your pet, but items like chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, xylitol, nutmeg, ham, and alcohol may do a lot of damage.
Some human foods are far more dangerous and can even result in death; hence, be careful with the food items you prepare at home.
Read on to find out what Christmas foods are safe for your dog.
Christmas Foods That Your Dog Can Eat
According to BluePearl,
Veterinarians witness a 372% increase in emergency pet visits on Christmas Eve compared to other days.
The holidays are an excellent time to celebrate, spend time with loved ones, and relax, but an awful time to make an emergency visit to the vet.
Here are some parts of Christmas dinner that are fine to share with your four-legged friends.
The main course of our Christmas dinner is turkey, which your dog can enjoy.
Turkeys are much larger than chickens, and the leftovers from your Christmas dinner will be sufficient to feed your dog five times over.
Not only is it tasty, but turkey also provides excellent health benefits:
- It is a great source of protein, packed with vitamin B for a healthy nervous system and metabolism.
- It is low-fat meat packed with the amino acid tryptophan, a vital component of the brain's chemical serotonin. Serotonin is then converted into the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which is excellent for helping your dog feel happy and relaxed.
- It also contains vitamins B6 and B12, and zinc, making it a perfect protein to support the immune system during the dark, drizzly winter weather.
Turkey is a highly digestible protein source commonly found in commercial dog foods. However, there are some health risks you should be careful about.
- Do not feed your pup cooked or coated turkey with herbs, spices, garlic, or onion.
- Similarly, do not overfeed turkey to your dog as it may lead to tummy trouble, and the extra fat could even be dangerous for acute pancreatitis flare-ups.
- The turkey bones are small and breakable, posing a severe choking hazard and the potential for internal rips and tears.
- Keep cooked bones away from any greedy paws, as they can easily brittle and splinter.
Although not as traditional as the turkey dinner, many people enjoy a side of salmon during the Christmas season.
Fortunately, your dogs can eat this fish as well. Keep these in mind.
- It must be unseasoned and thoroughly cooked; otherwise, parasites and bacteria in the food can make your dog sick.
- Do not feed smoked salmon, as it is still raw and contains the same harmful bacteria.
- It should be limited to a once-a-week treat for some dogs and not be the day's main meal.
- Make sure to feed portions suitable for your dog’s size.
Salmon can be good for your dog and has great properties. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and nutrients, providing multiple health benefits to your dog.
- Boost your dog’s immune systems
- Keep their coat shiny and healthy
- Easily digestible
- Help to reduce inflammation
- Help in the improvement of cognitive function in older dogs
- It is low in mercury and can be fed more frequently than other fish
- Help in reducing allergies in dogs
Besides, always consult your veterinarian before feeding your dog salmon.
Carrots are healthy human food and a nutritious and popular snack amongst dogs. They can be fed raw or cooked, but many dogs prefer the crunch of a raw carrot stick.
Carrots can be a great addition to your dog's diet, whether your dog is small, large, obese, at risk of obesity, or diabetic.
According to Association for Pet Obesity Prevention,
63% of Golden Retrievers are obese, which can lead to various health issues, including heart problems, joint damage, and even cancer.
So, carrots are much better alternatives to store-bought treats.
Many benefits come from giving your dog carrots.
- Raw carrots can also help improve a dog’s dental health.
- It contains high levels of vitamin A and beta carotene that help promote good vision and immune health, fight off infections, and even give your dog a shiny coat, helping with issues such as dry skin.
- It contains potassium, minerals that are good for energy, heart, nerves, and muscles.
- It contains fiber which promotes digestive health.
- Carrots are low-calorie, an excellent substitute for expensive treats for dog breeds with a higher risk for obesity.
When feeding your dog a raw carrot, break it down into bite-sized pieces to prevent choking. Cooked carrots should be unseasoned for dogs, and avoid feeding your dog any canned carrots.
Furthermore, you should not feed your dog more than one carrot per day, while a puppy should be given no more than half a carrot per day.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another food you can feed your furry friend, but they need to be only provided plain mashed or boiled with nothing else added.
According to Purdue University,
Dogs that ate vegetables added to their meals reduced cancer risk by 70 to 90%.
Cooked sweet potatoes with the skin peeled off are entirely safe for dogs. It is the best way to let your dog have a taste of a delicious spud.
While even raw sweet potatoes are technically safe for dogs to eat, they should be avoided. It can be tough to chew, and choking hazards cause bowel obstruction, which can be life-threatening.
Feeding your dog sweet potatoes has numerous benefits.
- It contains Vitamin A, which supports your dog’s immune system's normal functioning and is responsible for cell growth and good vision.
- Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6, which regulates hormones, produces glucose, and aids in the function of red blood cells.
- It contains vitamin C that, helps your dog reduce inflammation and slow cognitive aging.
- It contains calcium giving your dog’s bones the structure and hardness they need.
- It contains iron that helps your dog to grow and develop.
- It contains magnesium and potassium that supports the functioning of your dog’s nerves and muscles and allows your dog’s cells to maintain normal fluid levels.
- It contains a great dietary fiber source.
Although sweet potatoes are considered healthy for dogs, eating sweet potatoes can still come with certain risks.
So, check with the vet before feeding it to your dog. Dogs suffering from diabetes need to be particularly careful regarding sweet potatoes. Providing them with too much and their blood sugar might become too high.
It is best to avoid potatoes altogether if your dog has diabetes.
Pumpkin is another vegetable that is safe for dogs to eat. You can boil or bake the pumpkin and mash or puree it once soft.
You can even chop the pumpkin into chunks, roast it, and feed it to your dog.
Pumpkin contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is low in calories, making it an excellent treat for overweight dogs.
Pumpkin is also easily digestible, so it is the best option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Some of the top benefits of feeding your dog pumpkin include:
- It contains vitamins A, C, and E that support your dog’s immune system, vision, and cells.
- Pumpkin has tons of fiber that help digestion for dogs with either constipation or diarrhea.
- It contains calcium that helps your dog’s teeth and bones.
- It contains iron that supports red blood cell production.
- It contains lutein that helps your dog’s eyes, skin, and coat.
- It contains potassium that keeps your dog’s heart and muscles healthy.
Alone with plain pumpkin puree, dogs can safely eat raw or roasted pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of antioxidants, protein, and fiber, and your dog may prefer their crunchy texture over a smooth pumpkin puree.
However, it is crucial not to overfeed your dog on the pumpkin as it can cause gastritis.
If you are using canned pumpkin, ensure it is 100% pumpkin puree with no additives.
Cheese platters and charcuterie are popular appetizers and snacks for Christmas parties. Some dogs may safely eat cheese, but they should only be given small quantities.
Cheese is rich in protein and other nutrients like vitamins and minerals that dogs need. Feeding your dogs cheese in moderation as a special dog treat can be beneficial:
- It contains protein and fat content.
- Many cheeses contain vitamins A, B-12, K-2, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus.
- It also contains omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- The strong smell and flavor of the cheese are attractive to dogs. To motivate your dog while training, you can use low-fat cheese as a reward.
However, overfeeding cheese does not have many health benefits and is high in fat. So moderation is essential, and overweight dogs should not eat any cheese.
But swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese are all harmless options.
These cheeses are lower in fat and sodium than other cheeses, which helps to reduce the risk of obesity. It is actually one of the better options for giving your dog a treat on occasion.
Some dogs can also be lactose-intolerant, so even if they enjoy eating cheese, it can cause them to get sick.
If you are unsure if your dog can eat cheese, it is best to discuss it with your veterinarian.
Items You Should Not Feed Your Dog
Many food items we eat over Christmas are hazardous to dogs. Therefore, you must be careful while trying to give food to your dog out of your plate.
Here are a few infamous items you should avoid feeding your furry friends.
- Onion, garlic, and chives
Even feeding small amounts of these foods can cause serious health issues for your pets. So if you find your dog consuming these foods, consult your vet as soon as possible.
Many of us on Christmas day tend to eat a lot more and larger portions than we usually do. However, it is essential not to do so for your dog.
However, if you want to treat them, it is recommended to do so with toys or take them on a walk on a new route to stimulate them.
Moreover, if your dog has a health condition or is on a special diet, consult your veterinarian before treating your furry friend with any human foods.
Otherwise, get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines.