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Christmas dinner for dogs: What's safe and not for your pets

christmas dinner for dogs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Christmas dinner for dogs is a real thing - just make sure you know what's safe and not this festive season. 

You may have already gotten them an outrageous Christmas gift, or played them the first ever Christmas song for dogs, but what proves your love for them more than getting them involved with the Christmas meal? 

That's why we've come up with our own menu so you can serve Christmas dinner for dogs in a safe way that won't give your four-legged friend a bellyache. They'll enjoy the treat and change-up from their usual dry dog food and will gobble these recipes down faster than you can say "happy holidays." 

As our canine companions have a tendency to eat anything you put in front of them, we've listed a rundown of foods that are safe (and the ones that are not) this festive season. 

Also, if you aren't looking to just share your table scraps and want to whip up something just for them, there are also four festive recipes for a menu that’ll make your mutt as merry as the rest of the family.

Safe foods for dogs at Christmas

Fortunately, there's plenty of festive foods they can enjoy safely, so you can celebrate the holidays with your hound without worrying about them getting sick. In small amounts, dog-safe holiday foods include:

  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Broccoli
  • Brussell sprouts
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Turkey meat (without the skin)
  • Pumpkin
  • Yorkshire pudding

These foods have tons of important vitamins and minerals that help keep your dog happy and healthy - just make sure not to add any seasoning to your Christmas dinner for dogs, as this can upset their stomachs, too.

Dangerous foods for dogs at Christmas

It's important to be safe when doing Christmas dinner for dogs! Dangerous festive foods for dogs you'll want to avoid this holiday season include: 

  • Chicken and turkey bones
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Christmas dinner for dogs recipes

Festive Meatballs

Christmas dinner for dogs

(Image credit: Sitstaylove)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes 15-20 meatballs

Ingredients
½ lb (230g) ground turkey
½ cup (120ml) pumpkin puree
1 egg
½ cup (120ml) spinach, loosely packed
2 tbsp parsley
½ cup (120ml) carrot, finely grated
1 cup (240ml) brown rice, cooked

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and prepare a baking sheet.
2. Start cooking the brown rice.
3. Blend the pumpkin, egg, spinach, and parsley in a food processor.
4. Add the blended ingredients to the ground turkey in a large bowl and mix together.
5. Next, mix in the grated carrot and rice.
6. Take a spoonful of mixture and roll in your hands into a ball. Place onto the sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tip
To check if the meatballs are ready, just poke them with a fork. If they crumble easily, continue cooking them for 3-5 minutes.

Recipe via SitStayLove (opens in new tab)

Healthy Turkey Loaf

Christmas dinner for dogs

(Image credit: skinnyms.com)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
1 lb (455g) lean, ground turkey
1 large egg
⅓ cup (80ml) old fashioned oats
⅓ cup (80ml) diced tomatoes (with liquid and no sodium)
½ cup (120ml) carrots, finely diced
½ cup (120ml) green beans, diced
½ cup (120ml) brown rice or quinoa, cooked

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C).
2. Cook the brown rice or quinoa.
3. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Spread mixture into a 5x7-inch loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
4. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Store covered in the refrigerator, or freeze.

Tip
This is a great recipe for preparing ahead of time, so you can get on with cooking for your human companions! Once the loaf is cooked, let it cool, then slice it into individual servings and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Remove the slices as you need them and defrost them in the fridge overnight.

Recipe via SkinnyMS (opens in new tab)

Flavor-Bomb Biscuits

Christmas dinner for dogs

(Image credit: queenbeeskitchen.com)

Prep time: 35 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
Makes 25 biscuits

Ingredients
1 lb (230g) ground turkey
2 tbsp canola oil
2 medium-sized carrots
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1 cup (240ml) rice flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (240ml) quick cook oats
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp honey
2 eggs, well beaten
⅓ cup (80ml) dried cranberries, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180C).
2. In a large skillet brown the turkey with 2 tbsp of canola oil until thoroughly cooked through.
3. Drain the turkey to remove excess oil and set aside to cool.
4. Trim the  ends off of carrots, cut into thirds and place in a bowl, cover with water and microwave for 4 minutes on high; remove from water and set aside. When cooled, finely dice the carrots.
5. Prick both sweet potatoes with a fork, about 5 to 6 times each. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes or until soft all the way through. When cooled, remove skins and mash until there are no lumps.
6. Add the dry ingredients into a small bowl: rice flour, oats, garlic powder, cinnamon and ginger, mix well.
7. Next, into a medium mixing bowl add the sweet potato, honey and egg - mix well, then add in the turkey, carrots, cranberries, and parsley and stir to combine.
8. Add in the dry ingredients to the wet; mix with your hands and form the mixture into a ball.
9. Place on a rice flour dusted surface.
10. Roll out with a rolling pin to about a 1/4" thickness (not any thinner as they will break).
11. Cut out biscuits using a cookie cutter and then place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
12. Cook for around 25 minutes or until the edges start to turn light golden brown.
Allow to cool completely.

Tip
You can prepare these before hand and store the biscuits in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze them and defrost as needed.

Recipe via Queen Bee's Kitchen (opens in new tab)

Apple and Cranberry Dog Treats

Apple and Cranberry dog treats

(Image credit: Doggy Dessert Chef)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 2-3 dozen treats

Ingredients
1 cup (240ml) fresh cranberries
1 cup (240ml) apple sauce
2 cups (480ml) whole-wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60ml) milk, almond milk, or water

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Puree the cranberries and mix them in with the apple sauce.
3. Once combined add milk, cinnamon and whole wheat flour until the dough is well mixed.
4. Knead the dough into a ball and roll onto a heavily floured surface until a 1/4 inch thick, then cut with a cookie cutter of your choice.
5. Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned at the edges.
6. Cool and refrigerate.

Tip
If you don’t have fresh cranberries, you can substitute with dried cranberries. Skip the puree step and mix the dried cranberries with the apple sauce. 

Recipe via Doggy Dessert Chef (opens in new tab)

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.