Can a dog eat vegetables? This pup creatainly wants cookies watches its owner prep a yummy meal.

Christmas Dinner: What Foods Can My Dog and Cat Eat?


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Christmas is a time to relax with our nearest and dearest. If your dogs and cats aren’t part of the ‘close family’ umbrella, then…umm…you’re doing it wrong! Loads of us pet owners will put a little pressie under the tree or give our furkids a special treat for dinner. Some of us even invite them to join the family meal with all the trimmings. But wait – before you make a Christmas dinner for pets, here’s the lowdown on whether dogs can eat vegetables and so much more!

Christmas dinner for dogs

Let’s start with the canine side of things. Most dogs eat pretty much anything, given the opportunity, so a Christmas dinner plate is full of delicious temptations for dogs. Ok, except the brussels sprouts…

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you could simply dish up an extra plate for your dog, but it’s not quite that easy. As much as they might try to convince you otherwise, some of our indulgences don’t make a great Christmas dinner for dogs.  To find out whether dogs can eat vegetables and much more, keep reading…

Can a dog eat vegetables? Corgi sitting beside Christmas presents.

Can dogs eat turkey, chicken, or beef?

Yes, dogs can eat turkey, chicken and beef. Remember to give them skinless and boneless pieces though.

Why is that important? Skin is very fatty, which can cause digestive issues and isn’t healthy for your dog. Bones, especially once cooked, can splinter and cause serious internal damage.

What dogs can’t eat when it comes to meat is cured and salted items like ham. The high sodium content is bad for them in large amounts and can cause bloat.  And as mentioned above, dogs also don’t digest very fatty meats that well. So, they might have an upset stomach enjoying your Christmas roast pork or ham plate.

In more severe cases, very fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Stick to lean meats like chicken for your doggo. Even fish is ok, as long as you’ve removed the bones!

Can dogs eat gravy?

Gravy is the best part of Christmas dinner if you ask us. Your dog might love the smell and taste of it (can you blame them?) but it’s better to leave the gravy off.

Gravy is very salty and fatty. It also often uses onion and garlic powder, both of which can be toxic. However, there’s lots of special dog gravy on the market you could add to their chicken.

Next! So, can a dog eat vegetables…?

Dog enjoys eating a carrot.

Can a dog eat vegetables?

Yes. Veggies should be fine for your dog’s Christmas dinner, as long as they aren’t heavily seasoned or doused in oil. Dogs are omnivores rather than just carnivores, so vegetables are actually good for them too! They can tolerate almost all of our vegetables including carrots, broccoli, peas, green beans, and cauliflower. Just remember to rinse or wipe off excess butter or oil.

This funny food review video starring Tucker and his veggie-loving girlfriend Journee is sure to make you smile:

What do I do if my dog eats chocolate?

For both cats and dogs, chocolate is toxic. So, while you can tuck into some after dinner (or at 10am!), keep it out of reach of your pets.

It usually takes 6 to 12 hours for chocolate poisoning symptoms to appear. Both theobromine and caffeine are present in chocolate, which can stimulate the nervous system of dogs as well as speed up their heart rate.

If you believe your dog or cat has ingested chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately. Having information about the amount and type of chocolate your dog ate will help your vet determine the severity of the situation. For more information, read our Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs and Cats article.

Under a green Christmas tree, a white cat with blue eyes waits for its Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner for cats

We wouldn’t dare forget about our feline family members who are aaaalll about the roast meat this Christmas. We know that these floofs can be a bit – ahem – aloof, but have you ever tried to give a cat some broccoli? Let’s just say that disgusted is an understatement.

Here’s what your cat is hoping (expecting, who are we kidding) to get on their plate this Christmas...

Can cats eat Christmas dinner meat?

Cats are obligate carnivores, so you can bet they’re going straight to the meat. Your cat will adore you forever (ok, ok, for five minutes) if you share some of your roast turkey with them. The same rule for dogs applies to cats too when it comes to a meaty Christmas dinner for pets. They’ll be perfectly healthy with some lean turkey or chicken in their tums and can even have a bit of cooked beef.

Stick to boneless and skinless to keep the fat and salt levels down, and don’t dunk it in sauce or seasoning before you serve it to them. On a silver platter, naturally…because that’s what cats expect from their human servants.

What about some cream for their dessert?

It can be tempting to feed your cats milk or cream for a special occasion. The saying ‘’you look like the cat who got the cream” didn’t come from nowhere! But actually, cats are lactose intolerant. They’ll definitely enjoy their milk or cream, but they won’t digest it well. Best to stick to water for the cats’ Christmas drink then.

Still not sure what else you might be able to safely feed your pet from the table? Here’s a guide to things that can poison your pet – so you know what to put away safely in the cupboard.

Brown tabby cat beside a green Christmas tree.

Can cats eat ice cream?

The answer is: No

A few licks at Christmas dinner won’t hurt, right? Nuh uh, that’s one of those cat myths. There are certain flavours that may be toxic to your cat, such as chocolate, but ice cream is never a good idea regardless of the flavour. Here’s why…

  • In addition to being lactose intolerant, cats could develop pancreatitis from ice cream due to the high fat content.
  • Introducing anything new to your cat’s diet can upset their stomach. Something rich and decadent like ice cream will most likely cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, may be present in ice cream. Xylitol is toxic to cats.

Ice cream is a tempting treat to give your tabby cat, especially during the festive season. There are, however, plenty of healthier snack options that are non-toxic and nutritious.

If you share our passion for cats, check out these articles packed with useful information about these furballs:

  1. Is Giving a Kitten for Christmas a Good Idea?
  2. 10 of the Cutest Cats on the Planet
  3. What Do Cats Like to Eat for Breakfast?
  4. Cat Allergies! What to Do?
  5. Pros and Cons of Cat Collars

You might even want to get breed-specific:

  1. Exotic Shorthair Cat Must-Knows
  2. All About Maine Coon Cats
  3. Top Facts on Toyger Cats
  4. Siamese Cat Profile
  5. Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds

Can a dog eat vegetables? This pup creatainly wants cookies watches its owner prep a yummy meal.

Toxic foods to avoid

Chocolates, mince pies, Christmas pudding, and fruit cakes are toxic to cats and dogs. Raisins and sultanas are also toxic to both dogs and cats. And, as we said, hold the cream at Christmas dinner too.

We’ll reiterate here that onions and garlic are both toxic to pets as well. That means that any stocks, sauces, or powders containing onions or garlic are to be avoided. While garlic has to be ingested in reasonably large amounts to cause toxicity, onions can be very harmful even in small amounts.

What not to avoid

Don’t let us deter you from not treating your dog or cat at all this festive season! We have some great Christmas dog food recipes (can a dog eat vegetables? oh yeah) and some recipes for homemade cat treats that will get their whiskers twitching.

Or, perhaps you’ve decided it’s best to spoil your pet aside from plopping something a little extra on their plate? Why not read our ideas on Christmas gift ideas for pets and our guide to ethical Christmas gifts for your pet.

Pet Insurance is here to save the day!

If your pet just can’t resist the temptation and somehow gets hold of the chocolate sauce or stuffing, pet insurance can help. Accidents and illnesses happen all too often, but finances shouldn’t be what stops you treating your pet. Check out our award-winning cat insurance plans and dog insurance plans.

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