Table Scraps – Celebrating the Holidays with Your Dog

By: Ashley Bickford

The holidays are a fast approaching and with them come the gathering of family and friends to celebrate over a delicious meal. Sometimes the canine family members get left out of the festivities, only being served their same old bowl of kibble while everyone else enjoys the turkey and the fixings. While there are definitely some foods served during the holidays that could pose harm to your best furry friend, there are also some that would make a great, healthy addition to their dinner and give them a little something extra to be thankful for.

Turkey: The main event! Turkey is perfectly safe to give to your dog in moderation. Just make sure it is skinless as turkey skin is very hard for dogs to digest and the gristle and fat can lead to complications such as pancreatitis. And just stick to the meat, not the bone. Cooked bones can splinter and damage your dog’s GI tract.

Sweet potatoes and pumpkin: Making a sweet potato casserole? Prepare some extra sweet potato for your pup! Just serve it plain without the added marshmallows, brown sugar, and maple syrup. This also goes for pumpkin too! Fresh, cooked pumpkin is great but you can also used canned as long as it is straight pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix. Both are high in fiber so can be great if your dog has any digestion issues. Pumpkin also makes a great Kong filler! Stuff and freeze one ahead of time to give your dog something to occupy them and keep them from begging at the dinner table.

Cranberries: Whole or dried, unsweetened cranberries are a great treat. Avoid cranberry sauce or jelly as those contain added sugars or other ingredients that may be harmful. If your dog suffers from any urinary issues, cranberries also do double duty of promoting good urinary health!

Green beans: Like with the sweet potato, if green bean casserole is on the menu, set aside some raw or steamed green beans especially for your pooch. Green beans are filling and very low calorie so they make a great treat or food mix-in for dogs that are watching their figures.

Of course, there are foods you most certainly want to avoid sharing no matter how many times you’re given the sad puppy eyes. Onions, chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and candy (especially those containing xylitol) are incredibly toxic to your dog and should never, ever be given to them. You also don’t want to share anything with butter, cream, or seasonings as those can very easily upset your dog’s stomach. Also, if your dog’s usual dinner doesn’t stray too far from the kibble bag, add in new foods slowly to keep from upsetting their digestive systems.

Your dog doesn’t have to be left out of the feasting during the holidays. Just remember, keep it simple and your dog will be one happy pup!

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