Holidays with the family typically means sitting around the dining table consuming huge meals filled with oodles of deliciousness – and leaving behind a ton of leftovers. For many of us, sharing those leftovers with our nearest and dearest also means giving our furry family members a taste of holiday cheer. By consulting the list below, you’ll get an idea of what kinds of holiday foods you can share with your dog – and what kinds of foods you need to keep strictly for the humans in your family.
– Baked turkey or chicken is an excellent source of protein; one ¼- to ½-cup serving will typically give your dog her daily needed amount depending on her weight. Turkey and chicken is also packed with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B, B6, C, D, E, B12, and magnesium. Because we don’t recommend feeding your dog the skin, they are also very low in fat. Please note: Giving your dog cooked chicken or turkey bones to chew on can be dangerous. These bones tend to splinter apart and, if swallowed, can puncture your pup’s esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
– Plain, baked sweet potatoes can be a nutritious source of fiber for your dog and can help with digestive issues. They are also fat-free and filled the beta-carotenes needed to fight chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Rich in potassium and Vitamin C, the nutrients in sweet potatoes work combat diseases related to inflammation, including canine asthma and osteoarthritis. Leave off the butter, nuts, and sweet toppings to avoid causing any tummy upsets.
– Plain mashed potatoes without all the butter, salt and pepper and other additives, are an excellent source of several nutrients, such as vitamins C and B6, potassium, pantothenic acid, niacin and dietary fiber. The protein in potatoes contains lysine, an essential amino acid that works as an anti-viral agent and helps build muscle. The lectins (proteins that specifically bind with carbohydrates) found in potatoes are known to inhibit cancer cell growth.
– Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and beet greens, are probably the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food for your pet…or you. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. Slow to digest, greens are a great source of fiber and have negligible amounts of carbohydrates, so they’re the perfect food for dogs on a weight-loss regimen. Make sure to feed your pet greens without any seasonings or pork fat as those ingredients can cause intestinal issues.
– Plain green beans, not the ones found in everyone’s favorite crispy onion-topped casserole, are rich in various nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iron, potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium and thiamin. These vitamins and minerals enhance your dog’s immune system, allowing the body to heal faster. They also protect the body’s cells from damage and abnormalities, lower the risk of arthritis, and help with the absorption of other nutrients into the body.
– Any type of plain, fibrous vegetable, such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or legumes (most beans) can help to prevent or relieve constipation in your dog and normalize loose stools. Additionally, these veggies help your pooch maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of her contracting diabetes mellitus by helping to control blood sugar levels. Fibrous vegetables have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, and reduce your pet’s blood pressure.
– Baked or steamed squash (acorn, butternut, zucchini, or yellow squash) is low in calories and carbohydrates and cholesterol-free. It is a rich source of Vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A, fiber, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus. Squash is abundant in the magnesium and potassium needed to provide your dog with muscle energy, reduce her high blood pressure, and keep her electrolytes balanced – a key element to heart health.
Away from the holiday table, one of the best snacks you can give your dog is a spoonful of all-natural, organic peanut butter. Full of Omega-3 anti-oxidants and Vitamin E, peanut butter can protect your pet’s hair coat and prevent the dry, itchy skin that causes hot spots and hair loss.
Please note: Feeding your dog fatty and/or sweet scraps from your holiday table can lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas characterized by extreme bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. If you notice your pet having these problems after a particularly heavy meal, contact your veterinarian immediately as pancreatitis can be deadly if left untreated.
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