For many of us, our dogs are part of our family. And that means including them in our family traditions like celebrating their birthday and Christmas.
Buying our dogs Christmas presents, like new toys, beds or treats, can help us share the excitement of Christmas with them. And who hasn’t enjoyed the sight of their dog excitably playing with wrapping paper or their new toys on Christmas morning?
It’s natural to think that sharing your Christmas dinner with your dog is a great way to spoil them on the big day. But many elements of our Christmas dinner can upset our dogs’ stomachs or even be dangerous for them.
Here, we cover how you can include your dog in Christmas Day indulgences without making them sick.
Dog-friendly Christmas roast
Meat is a core component of Christmas dinner for many, so it’s natural to think about sharing some of the centrepiece with your dog. But because we tend to baste our turkeys in oil and fat, they’re not healthy for our furry friends.
The PDSA recommends only feeding your dog small portions of any human food. If you’re planning on giving them a taste of turkey, make sure it’s only lean white meat and not the fatty skin or darker parts, which can be too rich for them.
The same rules apply to any other parts of your Christmas dinner. If you’re plating up a portion for your dog, make sure all of the vegetables are boiled or steamed without anything extra like butter, salt, or onion.
What not to feed your dog
Pigs in blankets sound like the perfect treat for your dog but, as they’re very fatty, they’re really unhealthy. Feeding dogs food which is high in fat, or cooked in fat, can lead to pancreatitis —the last thing you want on Christmas Day is a trip to your local vet!
Many people might consider giving their dogs turkey bones as an additional treat to chew on, but this is also dangerous. The jury is out on whether raw bones are completely safe for dogs, but cooked bones are definitely unsafe. They’re not only a choking hazard, but they can cause gut blockages and even pierce your dog’s throat or stomach.
Sweet treats are also out. No matter how much your dog gives you puppy-dog eyes when you’re tucking into your selection box. Even a small amount of chocolate can be poisonous to dogs. This also goes for Christmas pudding because currants, raisins, and sultanas are really toxic to dogs.
Festive-themed dog treats
It’s clear there are a lot of risks when it comes to sharing your Christmas dinner with your dog. The good news is that you can get festive-themed food specifically designed for your dog.
Pet food companies are widening their range of meals and treats on offer so you can give them dog-friendly foods with a festive twist. Dog advent calendars are a great way to give your pooch a small, festive treat each day. They also ensure your dogs aren’t being overfed, which is a risk at Christmas.
Christmas-themed treats are also becoming more common, giving your dog the chance to indulge in festive foods that are perfectly tailored to them. You can even get Christmas dinner-themed meals for your dog – perfect for them to indulge in while you’re tucking into your festive feast!
Canine Christmas without the side-effects
We share our Christmas dinners with our dogs because we love them and we want to involve them in our favourite festive traditions. But knowing what you can and can’t give them is important for their health.
Ciara Clarke, Veterinary Surgeon at Butternut Box, a provider of high-quality, freshly prepared dog food, commented: “At Butternut Box, we believe dogs deserve better, and that means a better Christmas dinner, not just scraps.
“You can adapt dog food so that your dog’s Christmas dinner is as special as yours. Adding cranberries and parsnips to our turkey recipe will allow your dog to enjoy a festive treat that you know is healthy for them.
“If your dog does pinch something they shouldn’t from the dinner table, we recommend feeding them a bland diet with plenty of fresh water. Speak to your vet if they’ve eaten anything poisonous like chocolate or raisins.”
Some parts of our Christmas dinner are not only unhealthy for our dogs but can be dangerous. While you can give them small portions of the dog-friendly elements, make sure to consider treats or sensitive stomach dog food created exclusively for your four-legged friends this Christmas.