Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and everyone celebrating this event will be busy stocking up on all the delicious goodies. Unfortunately for our furry family members, these traditional Chinese New Year goodies are not good for them.
Fret not! We have put together 8 pet-friendly alternatives, and now you can celebrate Chinese New Year with your doggies too!
1. Bak Kwa
A super popular Chinese New Year delicacy in Singapore. This sweet, salty, sticky barbecued pork jerky is delicious and even our dogs will agree to that. Bak Kwa’s deep red colour is considered auspicious in Chinese tradition and symbolising good luck.
We have a dog friendly alternative - The Barkery Bark Kwa Dehydrated Pork Dog Treats. Made only from the leanest parts of the pork leg and seasoned with a delicious blend of apples and cinnamon. This healthy and scrumptious snack will have your dog begging for more.
Chicken is a symbol of family. A whole chicken is usually served to represent family togetherness and prosperity. Steamed or poached chicken meat can be given as treats to your dogs. Serve without sauce to avoid excess salt intake. If the meat is drenched in sauces, rinse it before serving.
Do NOT give your dogs any of the cooked bones! They splinter into shards and can cause serious damage to the dog's mouth, throat, or intestines.
Fish (pronounced as 'yu' in Chinese) signifies abundance and is a sign of prosperity. Steamed whole fish is a traditional dish on a Chinese New Year dinner menu. Fish itself is not harmful to dogs, but fish cooked in too much oil can cause tummy upset in dogs.
Fish bones are small, brittle, and can lodge themselves in your dog’s mouth, throat. A little steamed fish without the sauce can be given as treats. Remove the fish bones, onions, and other allium commonly added during cooking, before serving.
4. Yu Sheng
Yu Sheng is a must-have for Chinese New Year. It is a symbol of abundance and prosperity. A typical Yu Sheng dish consists of thinly sliced raw fish, a combination of colourful, shredded vegetables, candied citrus or melon peel, bits of fresh pomelo, chopped peanuts, fried wonton skin, five-spice powder, plum sauce, hoisin sauce, and oil.
Here’s how you can make a pet-friendly Yu Sheng.
Dumplings signify family reunion. These are often eaten on New Year's Eve when family members gather at the reunion dinner. Dumpling represents wealth and prosperity because their shape resembles ancient Chinese money.
The Barkery Pork Muttballs Meal Toppers Frozen Dog Food is a healthy alternative to the traditional dumplings. Made from human-grade pork and lightly baked to perfection. Great as a healthy snack all on its own, or as a topper to your dog's dry or canned food.
Pineapple tarts are a staple every Chinese New Year but it is not recommended for dogs. You can, however, serve a few chunks of fresh pineapple to dogs. The tropical fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. Cube the pineapples and serve or add them to your doggy Yu Sheng.
7. Red Dates
Red is a lucky colour. As such, red dates are always eaten on jubilant occasions and served on Chinese New Year. If you are looking for a pet-friendly alternative, dried “red” cranberry is an excellent option. Try this oven baked crunchy treats made with pumpkin and cranberries, the Fruitables Pumpkin & Cranberry Dog Treats. Rich in antioxidants & vitamins, high in fiber and less than 9 calories each, which means guilt free indulgence for your pup especially if it has been indulging in many of the other goodies!
8. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds symbolise having many sons and grandsons in traditional Chinese culture. Raw or roasted, dogs can eat unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds in small amount. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin E. Offer no more than ½ Tablespoon of seeds a day for small dogs, and no more than 1 Tablespoon for larger dogs.
The Chinese believe that spring cleaning before the New Year allows luck to enter your home in huge droves. It would be wise to groom yourself and your dog before the New Lunar Year so you can absorb all the luck you can get. Finally, don’t forget to dress yourself and your dog in red, the good luck colour, to go with the festive and upbeat mood.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and have been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.