What parts of a roast dinner are safe for dogs?

Christmas is a busy time of year, but also a lot of fun. We want our dogs to feel special, too, but giving them their own Christmas dinner and roast dinner leftovers as a treat can quickly rack up the calories, or even give them a stomach upset.

Before giving a food treat to your dog, think about whether they’d be just as happy with the Christmas gift of a toy (new or rediscovered), quality time with you, or a variation in their walk to pick up new and exciting smells.

It’s important to remember that if you’re giving your dog a food treat to make sure you don’t give them too much. Even the smallest bit of food is a big treat in your dog’s eyes, so no need to give them a full sized dinner! Take any treats into account by cutting down the amount of dog food in the rest of their meals for that day to balance out their daily calorie allowance.

Don’t forget that not all of our festive foods are dog-friendly! Some things we eat at Christmas could be toxic to our dogs. Read on to find out more.


Dog safe Christmas dinner

You shouldn’t feed your dog a big Christmas meal. Very often the food we give our dogs at Christmas isn’t their usual food and it can cause tummy ache and excessive wind, which can be really uncomfortable. In extreme cases this can be dangerous if you exercise dogs within a couple of hours of feeding them. If you can’t resist giving them a titbit as a special Christmas treat then it’s good to know which parts of your roast dinner are potentially poisonous and which are less likely to cause them problems.

One risk with feeding your dog part of your Christmas dinner is that they will come to expect this every time you have a roast and it can be difficult to resist those puppy-dog eyes. To avoid this, keep their treat aside until after the main event and give it to them in their dog bowl some time later, rather than from the table or while you are tidying up.

It’s safe for your dog to have a small portion of some of the following as a festive treat:

  • Lean parts of the white turkey meat, as the dark meat can be far too rich for them (plain and boneless)
  • Carrot and swede mash (with no added extras like butter, salt or onion)
  • Plain boiled or raw carrots (without any glaze or oil)
  • Plain boiled parsnips (without any glaze or oil)
  • Plain boiled or steamed green beans
  • Plain boiled or steamed Brussel sprouts (no sauce)
  • Plain boiled or steamed broccoli
  • Plain boiled, steamed or mashed peas
  • Plain boiled, wilted or raw spinach
  • Plain cooked cauliflower (no sauce).

Always feed your dog an amount that is appropriate for their size and current weight. Try not to go too overboard – even a little treat will brighten their day.


Foods that are too high in calories

Any food with high fat content or that has been cooked in a lot of fat not only causes your dog to become overweight but it can make your dog very poorly. Some foods that are too high in calories include:

  • Any vegetables roasted or fried in fat, butter or oil
  • Cheese sauces
  • Bacon
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Potatoes
  • Turkey or chicken skin
  • Pigs in blankets
  • Human desserts.

Be careful to keep the meat-roasting pan well away from your dog as the fat produced by the roast meat will be incredibly tempting but can cause life-threatening illness, such as pancreatitis.


What to avoid feeding your dog for Christmas dinner

Some foods are dangerous for dogs – either because they are a choking hazard or because they can actually poison your pet.

You’ll need to avoid feeding your dog the following:

  • Bones (especially as they will be cooked) – these are a choking hazard, but can also splinter causing rips and tears to your dogs’ insides, which is extremely dangerous
  • Onions (including anything with an onion sauce) – these are toxic to dogs
  • Garlic (including anything with a garlic sauce) – this is toxic to dogs
  • Leeks and shallots (in the same family as onions and garlic) – these are toxic to dogs
  • Mincemeat, currants, raisins and sultanas (including in Christmas pudding or mince pies) – these are toxic to dogs
  • Any food or drink containing alcohol – obviously, this is toxic to dogs
  • Chocolate – this is toxic to dogs.

Watch out for foods that might contain onions, garlic or leeks as one of their ingredients, as these will also be harmful, such as:

  • Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Bread sauce.

Remember to read up on what to do if your dog accidentally eats something they shouldn’t.

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