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Healthy Holiday Foods You Can Share (Safely!) With Your Pet

Healthy Holiday Foods You Can Share (Safely!) With Your Pet

Healthy Holiday Foods You Can Share (Safely!) With Your Pet

As the holiday season approaches, it's only natural to want to share the joy of good food with your pets. After all, our pets are an integral part of our families, and it's only fair to include them in the festivities!

However, it's important to remember that not all holiday foods are safe for our four-legged friends. Read on to learn what items from your holiday spread are healthy for pets to enjoy, and which foods are off-limits.

Tips For Safe Sharing Safely

Do you like to sneak nibbles off your plate and under the table to a patiently waiting pet? While some foods can make good treats for pets, it’s important to practice moderation and make careful choices when treating our pets. Just like humans, pets have specific dietary needs, and overindulgence in certain foods can lead to health problems (like indigestion, weight gain, or even more serious conditions). When sharing holiday foods with your pet, always keep the following principles in mind:

  • Moderation
    Table treats should be just that – treats. Even healthy foods can cause issues if overconsumed. Make sure to limit the portion size and consider your pet's size and breed.
  • Safety First
    Always ensure that the food is safe for your specific pet and any medical conditions they may have. Some animals have allergies or sensitivities, so it's best to consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods.
  • Watch for Bones
    Dogs love bones, right? Actually, the wrong kind of bone can be extremely dangerous to dogs. If you're serving meat to your pet, be extra cautious about bones. Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking hazards or internal damage. Stick to boneless meat options, and if you want to “give a dog a bone,” purchase one at a trusted pet store.
  • Skip Seasonings
    Pets have different dietary needs, and seasonings can be harmful. Avoid adding spices, salt, or sugar to any food you give your pets, and avoid giving them food that has already been highly seasoned.

Now, let's explore the delightful healthy holiday foods you can share with your pet.

Share the Joy: Healthy Holiday Foods You Can Share with Your Pet

Planning on hosting a holiday feast? You may want to include your pet or share your leftovers with them. If so, these foods are generally considered safe to share. However, it’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian first, as different pets have different needs and restrictions.

  • Baked or Roasted Meat
    What’s a holiday without a turkey or roast beef as the centerpiece? Lean, cooked meats can be a fantastic holiday treat for your pet. It's an excellent source of protein, and most dogs love the taste. Just remember to remove the skin, bones, and any excess fat before sharing a bite or sprinkling over their normal food.
  • Sweet Potatoes
    These orange gems are packed with vitamins and fiber and are just as good for pets as they are for humans. You can share plain, cooked sweet potatoes with your pet, as long as they are unseasoned and not prepared with any harmful ingredients like onion or garlic, or excess butter or sugar.
  • Pumpkin
    Plain, canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) is a great source of fiber and can help with digestive issues in dogs and cats. Consider adding a dose of Slippery Elm tincture to a small portion of pure pumpkin to help pets struggling with gut issues. Or, mix in a dose of Turkey Tail Mushroom powder to boost their immunity during the winter months.
  • Cranberries
    Fresh cranberries are safe for dogs and cats in small amounts. They are rich in antioxidants and can help boost your pet's immune system. But, avoid the sweet cranberry jelly or sauce which typically contains too much sugar for pets.
  • Apples
    Apples (either cooked or raw) are a good source of vitamins and fiber for pets. Be sure to remove the seeds and core, which can be toxic to dogs.
  • Carrots
    Raw or cooked, carrots are a low-calorie, crunchy snack that many dogs enjoy. They are packed with vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene for healthy skin, bones, and teeth.
  • Green Beans
    Preparing a Christmas casserole? Reserve a few fresh or steamed green beans as a healthy treat for your pets. Green beans are high in fiber and low in calories, making them a great treat for pets (especially those who need to lose weight).

Humans Only: Holiday Foods that are NOT Safe to Share with Your Pet

While there are many classic holiday foods that pets can enjoy, not every ingredient is safe. Let's take a closer look at the holiday foods that are reserved for humans only.

  • Chocolate
    Most pet owners know that chocolate is off-limits for pets. But why? Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and cats. Even small amounts can lead to symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and, in severe cases, death.
  • Alcohol
    Alcohol consumption is dangerous for pets and can lead to alcohol poisoning. While you may not plan to share a cocktail with your pet, it’s important to make sure pets can sneak a taste of your party guests’ drinks. Keep alcoholic beverages out of reach and ensure your pet can't access any spills.
  • Grapes and Raisins
    These seemingly harmless fruits are known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Even a small quantity can be dangerous, so keep them and any baked goods that contain them away from your pet.
  • Onions and Garlic
    Onions and garlic show up in all kinds of holiday recipes, from stuffing to roasted veggies to soups and salads. Unfortunately, these common ingredients can be toxic to pets. Ingesting them can lead to gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, and, in severe cases, damage to red blood cells.
  • Bones
    As we learned before, not all bones make good treats. Cooked bones, especially from turkey or chicken, can splinter and pose a choking hazard or cause internal injury. Always remove bones from meat before offering it to your pet!
  • Nuts
    Some nuts, like macadamia nuts and black walnuts, can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, nuts are high in fat and can lead to digestive issues in pets. It’s best to skip nuts altogether and share other satisfying treats instead.

Enjoy a Safe and Healthy Holiday with Your Pet

Sharing the holiday season with your pets is a wonderful way to create lasting memories and strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. With the right choices, you can ensure a joyful and safe holiday celebration for everyone in your family, including your beloved pets. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about your pet's dietary needs.

Looking for more natural ways to support your pet’s health during the holidays and beyond? Shop our collection of herbal medicines for pets to help with issues such as arthritis, immunity, digestion, cancer support, and more.