Christmas is a truly special time of the year to spend with friends, family and loved ones — and most pet owners consider their dogs to be all three, so what better way to include them in the festivities than making them their very own Christmas doggie delights?
To help inspire you, the pet care experts at Webbox have shared their top tips…
Things to avoid
Firstly, and most importantly, consider what your dog can and can’t eat. Every owner’s priority is to keep their pooch happy and healthy, so whenever you want to feed them something a little different, always refresh your memory and check whether it’s safe. Below are some Christmas staples you dog definitely shouldn’t have:
- Chocolate – even in small amounts, it’s well known that this is toxic to dogs, so make sure that they don’t get their paws on any leftover desserts or boxes of chocolate.
- Dried fruit and macadamia nuts – classic dishes like Christmas pudding contain ingredients like raisins, sultanas, currants, or macadamia nuts, and these can be harmful to your dog’s kidneys and digestive system if ingested. Always keep any bowls of trail mix out of your dog’s reach.
- Onions and garlic – it’s important to check the ingredients of anything you feed your dog over the holidays, as these are hidden in lots of Christmas dishes (such as stuffing) and can be toxic to dogs.
- Bread and Yorkshire puddings – your pup might want to join in on the fun when you make leftover sandwiches on Boxing Day, but dogs can’t process carbohydrates as well as us. A high-carb diet can therefore upset their digestive system and make them hyperactive. It isn’t toxic, however, so if your dog isn’t overweight and doesn’t suffer from any allergies, you can give them a small piece of Yorkshire pudding as a Christmas Day treat.
- Dairy – dogs also can’t process lactose as well as humans, so it’s best to avoid giving them a taste of your ice cream or custard too.
A simple yet very effective recipe, these meatballs are healthy and full of classic festive flavours your pooch is sure to love. Not only this, but they only use a few ingredients and can even be made with any leftovers on Boxing Day. This makes them the perfect meal for your pup to enjoy while you serve up Christmas dinner for the whole family.
To make a batch of festive meatballs, combine 50g of lean turkey mince with one large egg, 100g of grated carrot, and 50g of chopped Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and sage to the bowl and mix thoroughly until everything is well combined. Avoid adding standard seasonings like salt and pepper, as food with a high salt content isn’t healthy for your pup and pepper can be too strong.
Spoon out small portions of the mixture and shape them into meatballs. Bake in an oven for 25 minutes at 180⁰C, ensuring that they’re fully cooked through. Be sure to let the meatballs cool before serving them to your pup, and they’re guaranteed to be a hit. Not only are these lean meatballs healthy, but making your pup their own special meal means your guests are less tempted to sneak them a bite of turkey that could contain seasonings, bone, or skin (all of which are bad for dogs).
Healthy Festive Biscuits
Not only is turkey a Christmas staple, but it’s also a brilliant lean meat that your dog will love. However, if you want to make some lighter snacks for your pup to have in between meals, give these veggie biscuits a try. Packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for your pooch’s overall health, these use seasonal ingredients like pumpkin and carrot for a deliciously festive treat – a perfect Christmas doggie delight!
Start by preheating your oven to 180⁰C and lining a baking tray with parchment paper. Then, add a cup of pumpkin puree, a quarter cup of peanut butter, and two large eggs to an electric mixer and beat for a few minutes until well combined. Be sure to check that your peanut butter is free from sweeteners, as artificial sweeteners like xylitol can be toxic for dogs.
Gradually add two cups of wholewheat flour and half a cup of whole oats to the wet ingredients in your mixer, and beat on a medium setting until the dough is no longer sticky. Once your dough is almost ready, mix in one carrot and one courgette (peeled and shredded) along with a handful of chopped spinach. You can then knead your dough on a floured surface, rolling it out to around a quarter-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to create a full tray of biscuits and then bake in the oven until the edges are golden brown (around 20–25 minutes). For extra presentation points, use a bone-shaped cookie cutter, or opt for festive shapes like Christmas trees or snowmen!
Mini Pup-kin Pies
While you and the family tuck into your Christmas pudding, why not give your pooch a little something sweet too? These bite-sized treats are made with a dog-friendly pie crust containing no butter or refined wheat flour, so they’re safe as well as delicious.
After preheating your oven to 190⁰C, mix 120g of rice flour, one medium egg, and two tablespoons of apple sauce in a food processor until it blends into a dough. Roll your dough out in between two layers of parchment paper, and then use a glass tumbler to cut out circles. Lay these circles in the wells of a mini muffin tin and bake for 6–8 minutes until golden.
To make the filling, lower your oven temperature to 175⁰C and start whisking 185g of pumpkin puree with another medium egg and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Spoon this mixture into your pastry cases and bake for another 40 minutes until firm, allowing them to cool before serving. With this dog-friendly pastry recipe, you can also get creative with different fillings. For example, as your pup can’t eat raisins or dried fruit, you could add a literal twist to a classic mince pie and fill the pastry cases with savoury cooked mincemeat.