As devoted puppy-parents we all know the feeling around Christmas: we would like to make our fur-babies feel included too, especially when it comes to all the yummy festive foods.
As tempting as it is, it’s good to keep in mind that our main responsibility as puppy-parents is to keep our pups healthy. After all, they don’t really grasp the idea of Christmas, and whilst they will happily eat most festive treats you will give them, a lot of them aren’t actually suitable for them and might cause painful digestive upsets or more dangerous consequences at worst.
There are however some festive foods that are safe for your pup to enjoy as long as it’s in moderation. Below are some hopefully helpful guidelines you can use to decide what to put in your pup’s bowl at Christmas dinner, and what you should avoid at all cost.
Safe festive foods for puppies
- Turkey or chicken – small amounts of boneless, skinless white meat is safe for your puppy. Just keep it plain and don’t add gravy or cranberry sauce. Your puppy will not know to miss any seasoning and will enjoy the meat as much without it.
- Potatoes – whether boiled or mashed, make sure they are plain too. Also remember moderation. Potatoes are starchy so too much might be hard for your pup to digest.
- Vegetables and root vegetables – a little bit of carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, swede and green vegetables such as boiled green beans are also safe for your puppy to enjoy. But keep the amounts small and don’t add any seasoning to any of it.
- Eggs – a small amount of e.g. scrambled egg without salt or butter is also safe for your pup. Eggs are high in protein and nutrients so it’s a healthy little treat option to consider.
- Fruit – some mild fruit in moderation can be ok, as long as you make sure you always remove any seeds and stones first.
- Last but not least, gourmet dog foods, tasty chewy bones and dog biscuits – perhaps the safest option to treat your pup is with some special, tasty dog foods. Something a little nicer than he is normally used to, but still not too different to cause any digestive issues.
Foods to keep your puppy away from
- Chocolate – contains Theobromine which can be fatal to dogs even in small amounts. Make sure you keep your Christmas choccies out of your pup’s reach.
- Cooked bones – don’t give your pup cooked bones of any kind. They can splinter into shards that can cause serious damage to dogs’ throat or intestines.
Stone fruit seeds – these can both fracture your pup’s teeth but also cause damage to its intestines.
- Turkey or chicken skin – the skin is too fatty, hard to digest and can lead to inflammation in the pancreas.
- Gravy – whilst your pup would no doubt find it tasty you should avoid giving it to him, it’s both too salty and fatty for him.
- Onion, garlic and bulb vegetables – onion in any form is toxic for your pup so you should definitely avoid it and any foods that contain it (e.g. stuffing). You should also avoid bulb vegetables (leek, shallot etc.) as well as garlic.
- Herbs and spices – these can upset your dog’s stomach.
- Sausages, bacon etc. salty and fatty meats – these are too fatty and salty and also hard for your pup to digest.
- Grapes, raisins, sultanas – these can be fatal to your pup so make sure he doesn’t have access to any.
- Avocados – both the fruit and the stone contain a chemical that is dangerous to dogs.
- Festive treats like mince pies, Christmas pudding, fruit cake or any human desserts or sweets – these are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners and fat, all harmful for your pup, its teeth and waistline. They also often contain fruit seeds and alcohol that can be potentially dangerous to your pup.
- Yeast and uncooked dough – yeast will rise and ferment in the stomach and can be painful and potentially fatal to dogs. Make sure your pup can’t reach any of your dough while you’re doing your Christmas baking.
- Dairy products – dogs have difficulty digesting lactose so whilst not dangerous, dairy can cause excessive wind or an upset stomach to your pup.
- Nuts – macadamias and walnuts are toxic for dogs but other nuts are also hard for your pup to digest so it’s a good idea to avoid it all.
- Anything with caffeine or alcohol – for obvious reasons!
To play it safe, it’s good to always clear all human food leftovers, wrappers, bones etc. after eating so that your dog doesn’t have access to it while you’re not watching. Make sure you also keep your holiday plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe well out of reach of your puppy, as these will be poisonous to it.
Moderation is key
Finally, even with foods that are safe for your pup to eat you should only feed him with an amount appropriate to his size and weight and not let him overeat. Too much of any foods that your pup is not used to, can upset his tummy. So keep human foods to a minimum to make sure your pup can enjoy the festive season to the fullest feeling healthy and happy!
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