6 Dog-Friendly Christmas Foods You’ll Want To Share
‘Tis the season of feasting and merrymaking. Leaving our pooches out of the celebrations is going to take more control than ever. From ham to log cake, roast turkey and more, it’s easy for well-meaning family and friends to unknowingly turn your dog’s digestive system upside down.
Sharing this nifty roundup of festive fare that can easily be homemade so your dogs can enjoy the food, without the guilt. It’ll save you from a morning after of the type of presents you don’t want to receive, and needless to say, your dog’s tummy will also thank you for it!
The centrepiece to every Christmas dinner, turkey is a low-fat white meat that dogs will enjoy eating. Due to its lower fat content, it is easier for your dog to digest this lean protein. The white meat part of the turkey is great for helping your dog build strong and lean muscles. When compared to fattier meats, this lean protein is a highly recommended fresh ingredient as it keeps your dog full for longer, and gives them more energy.
For your pup to safely enjoy turkey, pick out the parts that are the leanest (the white parts) with excess fat removed and give the freshly cooked meat a good rinse with water to remove any salt from the meat before giving it to them. Too much salt can cause dehydration, high blood pressure and sodium ion poisoning in your dog’s bloodstream.
Do make sure that it is given without bones as cooked bones can splinter easily and hurt your dog’s throat and digestive tract. And remember to keep it simple– definitely no trimmings or gravy for your four legged friend.
As with most foods, practising moderation is key when feeding pre-cooked turkey meat to your dogs. Typically, the recommended amount of treats a dog can have in a day is 10% of their daily caloric intake. Therefore, in this instance, a 10kg dog can have around 40 grams of white meat turkey, excluding the skin. It might seem like a small amount, but it’s important for maintaining a balanced diet. Your dog can still reap the numerous benefits of a freshly cooked diet just from incorporating fresh food into their day like this!
Homemade steamed, boiled or microwaved, this recommended fresh cruciferous vegetable is loaded with an array of vitamins including vitamin K which plays a crucial role in blood clotting and bone metabolism by supporting the production of prothrombin. Additionally, adding it into your dog’s food can contribute to heart health by regulating blood calcium levels and promoting proper blood circulation, therefore being a vital bone builder and heart strengthener.
Other vitamins such as A & C, are potent antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties, boost your dog’s immune system, and combat free radicals to lower the chance of cancer and heart disease.
Brussel sprouts are also a good fibre source. Insoluble fibre aids in maintaining healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to stool and facilitating the smooth passage of food and waste through the intestines. As a result, it helps prevent stomach issues, constipation, and diarrhoea.
While it is a safe and recommended food for dogs, freshly cooked brussels sprouts, being a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, contain isothiocyanates that aid in intestinal muscle function for digestion but an excess of these phytonutrients can lead to increased bacterial growth and gas production, potentially causing unpleasant dog flatulence.
To avoid an awkward dinner filled with dog farts, small dogs can consume one sprout and larger dogs, up to five, but do start small by starting them off with ¼ or ½ a sprout and watch for any signs of discomfort of stinky sprout gas!
If you are one of those who take their Christmas dinners extremely seriously and make your own homemade cranberry sauce from scratch, slip your buddy some of those fresh, whole cranberries.
Cranberries are a well-known and recommended fresh, dog-friendly ingredient for helping both humans, dogs and even cats maintain healthy urinary tracts. One of the many antioxidants in this miracle fruit, proanthocyanidins, can help prevent the growth of bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections (such as E. coli) from sticking to the bladder wall.
Proanthocyanidins also helps maintain dental health by preventing tartar and plaque buildup on those pearly whites. Talk about versatility, no wonder it’s a highly recommended fresh food for all dogs!
Small dogs like beagles can have 2–3 cranberries. Medium-sized dogs like border collies can have 5–6 cranberries, and their larger counterparts like labradors, can have up to 8–10 cranberries as treats. But of course, it is important to start with a small amount.
However, do keep your eyes peeled for any spoon licking as cranberry sauce itself contains high amounts of sugar, and some pre-made sauces can include xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Other potentially dangerous ingredients like raisins and nutmeg that can be present in pre-made cranberry sauce is something all pet parents should steer clear of.
Not only are they chock full of carotenoids found in many orange coloured vegetables like carrots, beta-carotene from sweet potatoes is converted into vitamin A in your dog’s body, maintaining healthy eyes, boosting immune function and cell growth.
Being rich in dietary fibre, these special spuds help dogs with digestion. They are also considered a “complex carbohydrate,” meaning they provide a steady source of energy.
Freshly cooked sweet potatoes are a great natural food for dogs because they have a lower glycemic index and are much healthier compared to regular white potatoes. This means that when consuming this sweet carbohydrate, they’re less likely to cause a spike in your pooch’s blood sugar, making it a suitable, sweet tasting vegetable for dogs with diabetes.
To let your pooch enjoy this healthy Christmas ingredient, remove the skins (to avoid intestinal blockages), and steam or boil them. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed the golden 10% daily caloric intake rule. Mashed, cubed, or pureed, they’ll happily chow down on said spuds even without any butter or salt– which you should definitely avoid giving your dog.
Freshly cooked food like green beans make a low-calorie and nutritious treat for your dogs, serving as an all-natural option that many dogs enjoy. Providing your pup with homemade food such as green beans offers various health benefits.
Even as a low calorie vegetable, green beans contain numerous vitamins and minerals such as manganese and folate, and vitamins K, C and B2. These stringy beans also contain valuable amounts of the mineral, silicon, a bone and connective tissue-supportive nutrient.
As long as the green beans have not been cooked with other alliums like onions or leeks, they’re absolutely safe and beneficial for your pal. It is recommended to use freshly cooked homemade green beans instead of canned versions as the latter typically contain a great amount of salt. One piece being 2.5cm in length, a 13KG dog can have 2–3 pieces daily. You can freeze them as an icy, crunchy treat on hotter days, or simply steam them and top them off in your dog’s meals.
Roasted vegetables are a staple in a Christmas dinner. Paired with succulent turkey slices, parsnips are a great addition to your plate. But little did you know, this recommended fresh food ingredient for dogs can bring several health benefits to your pup as well!
Parsnips are a nutritious option for your dog, offering vitamins C and B6, folic acid, and potassium. They contribute to a healthy metabolism, support the nervous system, and can be beneficial for dogs with kidney disease by aiding in kidney function stimulation.
So, while prepping your Christmas meal, feel free to sneak some pieces of parsnips to your dog! But ensure that the skin is thoroughly washed before letting them eat it. Additionally, for safety, it is recommended to chop the parsnip into small chunks to prevent choking, especially if you have a small dog. Always steer clear from seasonings. You can also steam or boil them for a softer texture if you have an older dog.
As a general feeding guideline, only 2% to 4% of your dog’s diet should be healthy fibre. Excessive fibre from parsnips can lead to adverse effects such as bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps, so it’s important to moderate their consumption. Therefore, start with small amounts, and never exceed half a cup of parsnips in a day.