I lived in Canada’s Arctic for a decade and spent part of that time working for the Department of Renewable Resources. Santa & I were practically neighbors! Therefore, I feel especially qualified to share this important information about the natural diet of Reindeer as we approach Christmas Eve.

Many girls and boys will be adding a snack for the reindeer when they leave a treat for Santa. These hard-working, magical Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) need proper nutrition on Christmas Eve more than ever. Just like in the wild, Santa’s Reindeer must cope with harsh weather and constant movement.

What Do Reindeer Eat?

Everyone knows you leave carrots or apples for Reindeer, right?  Sure, those are great treats for reindeer but they shouldn’t eat too many treats, just like humans.  If you want to help them do their most important job for Santa, they need a full load of nutrients similar to what they’d eat in the wild.

In Summer, Reindeer enjoy a variety of grasses, plants, herbs, ferns, leaves, moss and fungi.

Arctic animals have adapted in a variety of ways in order to live in such an unforgiving environment.  In Winter, food is very difficult to find for ruminant animals that primarily eat vegetation. To prevent starvation, their digestive system evolved to allow them to utilize the nutrients in lichens. They survive by eating a lot of Cladonia rangiferina, also known as Reindeer Lichen.  Interestingly, Reindeer Lichen is also believed to have healing properties.

Santa’s reindeer live with him so they’re provided with much more tasty, fresh greens in Winter, along with hay.  You can help them on their way by leaving them Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Kale, Collard Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Turnip Greens, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Red Lettuce, Cabbage, Watercress and sprouts. Yes, Reindeer LOVE to eat salads!

Offering complete, natural food for Reindeer will give them lots of energy and endurance on Christmas Eve, and you’ll help to keep Rudolph’s nose glowing red.

All of us here at All Natural Pet Care would like to wish you a safe and magical holiday season!

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
How to Add Natural Holiday Color To Homemade Pet Treats
45+ Animal Charities with Gift Shopping
Holiday Pet Safety Tips


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4 thoughts on “What Do Reindeer Eat?

  1. REindeer are really interesting animals and man so tough! Imagine living in the arctic outside all winter! No wonder santa chose them to help deliver presents!

  2. I thought it would be a fun little learning opportunity that would also pass some time Christmas eve so I googled reindeer food. Thanks for the great information with a special Santa twist. My kids got so into it they had some “reindeer salad” too!

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