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What Can Your Dog Eat on Christmas? 6 Vet-Approved Options

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By Kerry-Ann Kerr

Group of four people enjoying the christmas day and lunch together at home with a pug sitting on a old man

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Christmas is a time for ghastly sweaters, food, and family. Most owners want the whole family to be involved in the holiday celebrations, and that means the dogs are having as good a time as they are. You might buy them a present to unwrap and convince them into an embarrassing Christmas jumper. But what about Christmas dinner?

When it comes to human food, you need to know which is safe for your precious pet and what should be avoided. As tempting as it is to offer human foods, remember that any change in diet from their usual can result in an upset stomach.

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The 6 Types of Food a Dog Can Safely Eat on Christmas

1. Turkey

turkey breast dog food
Image credit: freefoodphotos, CC 3.0

Turkey is the main event; thankfully, it’s safe for your dog to eat too. It’s also a good thing because don’t we all end up with far too much of it left over? Not only is turkey tasty, but it’s also a fantastic source of protein which is probably why it’s used in several dog foods. It’s packed with B vitamins which are good for metabolism and a healthy nervous system.

Make sure when you offer turkey to your dog without the skin. All the tasty fats, spices, and herbs we slather on our turkey would be a problem for our canines. They can cause tummy upsets, and the extra fat can actually be dangerous for an acute pancreatitis flare-up.

Another thing to watch out for is turkey bones, which are small and snappable. The sneaky, broken shards can cause internal damage or obstruction, in addition to being a choking hazard.

2. Other Healthy Meats

Cooked Beef Steak
Image Credit: Ann Erkhim, Pixabay

Turkey is traditional, but it doesn’t mean every household has it. If you do not eat turkey, alternative animal-based proteins that are tasty and have the added benefit of being good for your dog are chicken and lean beef. Make sure the meat is always cooked well. Don’t serve it undercooked or raw, and avoid fatty cuts.

If you are vegetarian and tend not to serve meat, you might wonder if your dog could have some of your ready made meat substitutes. Unfortunately, the products are created for human consumption, and animals are sensitive to the ingredients used. Many meat substitutes are highly processed and contain high sodium and fat, which are dangerous to dogs. Several might also have spices like onion or garlic powder which are toxic to canines.

3. Salmon

Image Credit: robsonmelo, Pixabay

It’s not the most common festive food, but many people choose to serve salmon over turkey during the festive period. You’ll be happy to know dogs can also enjoy this fishy feast!

Salmon is another healthy protein source packed with amino acids essential for developing and maintaining bodily processes and growth. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, promoting healthy digestion, healthy muscles, a shiny coat, cognitive function, and even reducing inflammation.

Don’t feed your dog smoked or raw salmon since they can contain a parasite (Nanophyetus salmincola) which in turn can carry a bacteria (Neorickettsia helminthoeca), which is responsible for “salmon poisoning” and make your pet very ill. Smoked salmon also has a lot of salt, which is not suitable for canines.

4. Vegetables

Image Credit: Pxhere

Most veggies are not only safe for your dog, but they can also be nutritious. Vegetables provide you and your pup with essential vitamins for a healthy life.

Some of the best doggy-safe vegetables are:
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Parsnips
  • Peas

Humans disrupt the health benefits of Christmas vegetables by adding seasoning or butter to make them tasty. However, remember your dog is different, so give them plain veggies. A word of warning: vegetables like broccoli can cause gas!

5. Sweet Potatoes

Cooked Sweet Potatoes
Image Credit: Pixel1, Pixabay

Cooked sweet potatoes are among the best options for your dog, but keep them plain. Unfortunately, that means they can’t share your world-famous sweet potato casserole!

6. Squash

canned pumpkin on a green bowl
Image Credit: BW Folsom, Shutterstock

Acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, summer squash, and zucchini are all good choices for dogs. Make sure you remove the skin, remove seeds, and steam or bake it without any spices.

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People Also Ask

What Should Dogs Avoid at Christmas?

There are some foods you’ll be enjoying this Christmas that you’ll need to keep out of your dog’s reach.

The most dangerous culprits include:
  • Alcohol and foods containing alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Raisins, grapes, and sultanas
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Xylitol
  • Nutmeg
  • Cooked bones
  • Christmas ham

What Do I Do if My Dog Eats One of These Foods?

It’s crucial to determine how much of the food your pet has eaten and contact your vet, who will be able to determine if you need to make an emergency visit to the clinic. Symptoms to look out for, which will indicate if your dog has eaten something harmful, can include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tummy pain
  • Twitching
  • Vomiting

Never try to make your dog vomit at home unless told otherwise by a vet.

Why Do Dogs Eat Things They Shouldn’t?

You’ve just served your dog a wonderful Christmas meal, so why is he still trying to eat things he shouldn’t? It could be down to several factors. Dogs are curious, and they explore the world with their mouths and can sometimes swallow things they pick up to investigate.

It could also be down to boredom, stress, attention seeking, or even lack of nutrients. If your dog is eating non food items such as socks you should speak to your vet for advice.

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Christmas is a time for family, and it’s a special day when our dogs can join us for a hearty meal. They won’t enjoy the same meal, but with a few adjustments, such as serving plain food without seasoning, your canine can experience delicious holiday food. Remember that any change in diet from their usual can cause an upset stomach.

Featured Image Credit: Perfect Wave, Shutterstock

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