What Do Santa’s Reindeer Eat? Give Them These Healthy Treats

You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen; Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen… You clearly remember Rudolph, the most famous reindeer of all. The Nine Nobles spend every Christmas Eve pulling toys and the big guy around the world, but what do Santa’s reindeer eat? They need a lot of fuel for their trip, after all.

One of my beloved family’s traditions is to leave a tray of cookies and a glass of milk out for Santa for a snack every Christmas Eve. We have a setting complete with a fancy decorative plate and antique Christmas glass. But if Santa’s reindeer are doing all the heavy lifting, shouldn’t they get the same five-star treatment? Or at least a handful of oats sprinkled on the floor?

What can a reindeer eat?

Reindeer are animals just like dogs and cats and need to follow a proper diet to stay healthy. If you’ve ever wondered what reindeer eat as they gear up for the busiest night of the year, Dr. Danielle Bernal, a veterinarian at Wellness Natural Pet Food, gave Romper the scoop.

“Reindeer are, of course, a very healthy eater,” Bernal tells Romper. “As a herbivore—an animal that only eats plants—reindeers simply love vegetables and when they are in the Arctic, they often graze most of their day on wild grasses, hay, leafy greens, shrubs, mushrooms, berries, and sage.”

As it turns out, eating is actually the activity reindeer love most—aside from steering Santa’s sleigh, of course. Bernal explains that these wonderful creatures really love to eat and actually spend most days in the Arctic grazing their favorite vegetables. “In just one day, they can eat up to 18 pounds of vegetation to ensure they have all the energy and stamina they need before the big Christmas Eve with Santa.”

Andhra Boda / AIM / AIM / Getty Images

What to leave for a reindeer on Christmas Eve

Similar to household pets, Santa’s reindeer really enjoy a special treat every now and then and Christmas Eve is the perfect time to give them the gift of a fun snack to enjoy with Santa. But here’s the thing, you can’t just feed a reindeer anything old.

“When it comes to Christmas, carrots, apples, and oats are like a special treat for Santa’s reindeer, and best of all, they’re good for them too,” Bernal tells Romper. Now, don’t worry if your home also doesn’t have a safe place where you can leave these, these perfect reindeer snacks can easily be brought back to the sled by Santa for Dasher, Prancer, Blitzen and the rest of the reindeer eat and help fuel their night in Traveling around the world! “

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On Christmas Eve, you can leave Santa’s reindeer his own treat on a plate or pack it in a fun and cute bag for Santa to take back to the sleigh. They will be so excited to enjoy a delicious (and healthy!) snack to ease their journey.


Dr. Danielle Bernal, veterinarian at Wellness Natural Pet Food

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