If your golden retrievers are like mine, they sure love food! And this doesn’t stop during holiday time. In fact, all the extra tempting smells can make for extra excited and hungry dogs!
The good news is many traditional holiday foods are nutritious for dogs. These include meats, vegetables and more. But a few issues often arise, and it is important to share wisely.
Here are some common issues and ideas to make holiday foods dog friendly.
Dog Friendly Holiday Food Ideas
Foods with spice, salt, excess fat.
Problem: Many holiday foods are healthy, but are often spiced or flavored in such a way that they could cause belly aches. They may be too spicy, salty, fried or heavily flavored. This can be fine for our meals, but not so fine for theirs.
Solution: Set aside a little of some of the things like meat, vegetables, potatoes, squash. Keep them plain, and then you can share them with your dog. For a larger breed like the golden retriever, you could maybe save out a couple tablespoons.
Example: While making mashed potatoes, take a couple tablespoons out before adding cream, butter, salt and other ingredients. Set aside for when you feel comfortable sharing with your furbaby.
This is something I talk about often. Many times, I have witnessed a healthy homemade diet full of meats, vegetables, oils and other foods enhance health and even manage certain health issues. BUT…. I stress that we need to make a slow transition.
This means not serving a large amount of unfamiliar foods. The sudden change may upset a dog’s GI tract.
Instead, I encourage making a slow, but steady trend in the direction of a healthier diet. So, with that, I would stick to the above tablespoons of holiday foods, if your golden is not used to eating these kinds of foods.
When you are ready to make the slow but steady transition to a more nourishing diet, please visit my Services page to choose an option that works for you.
Some foods have additives that can upset a dog’s belly.
Problem: Turkey, often the star of the show, can contain additives that can cause issues.
Many store bought turkeys contain sodium phosphate. This has been linked to diarrhea, intestinal distress and possible kidney damage. It is not clear what amount causes harm, but I found this article about it: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a609019.html
For us humans, hopefully the amount we eat during a holiday indulgence will not harm us. But dogs are smaller and may have different digestive abilities, and / or sensitive bellies. So it may take even less to cause an issue.
I would suggest sharing just a taste of store bought turkey, if any. I will give my own goldens a mouthful or so, and not much more. If you are lucky enough to find a turkey with no additives, then that would be wonderful.
Solution: Don’t over-indulge your goldens in store bought turkey or other foods with additives. Maybe just a small sample. Focus on un-spiced side dishes like sweet potatoes, white potatoes and vegetables, or a taste of another variety of meat you might serve. Check the nutrition labels for additives or other ingredients that may potentially cause a problem.
Including your golden retriever in your holiday food routines should be fun, rewarding, healthy and happy. In fact, it can be such not just during the holidays, but year round!
Here is a short video of my sweet potato and white potatoes, prepared in a dog friendly way. Enjoy! ~ Sarah