Whether you like gifting your dog their own wrapped-up presents, dressing them up in a cute festive jumper or preparing them their own Christmas dinner, if your four-legged friend is having a good time, it really can make the festive period feel perfect.
But while we tuck into our delicious turkey dinners and selection boxes, it’s important to remind ourselves that not every Christmas treat is designed to be suitable for our dogs.
Pet food company tails.com warns that there are a number of festive dishes that you should not share with your pooch, no matter how eager they are to have a bite. The nutritional experts share advice on what to do if your dog has eaten any of them.
It might be an obvious one, but with so much chocolate around at Christmas time it can be hard for our dogs to resist, and even harder for dog owners, especially the kids, to resist those puppy dog eyes.
While selection boxes and assortment trays are fun festive treats for us humans, chocolate is extremely poisonous for dogs because of its high theobromine content, which is highly toxic for dogs as they are physically incapable of metabolising it. Chocolate can also cause your dog to experience an increased heart rate, as well as stress on their kidneys and nervous system.
If your pup does end up pinching a piece of chocolate when your back is turned, the nutritional experts at tails.com recommend how to handle it:
“If your dog eats even a small amount of chocolate, you should arrange an immediate appointment with your veterinarian, and in the meantime monitor their behaviour very closely for any symptoms or sickness”.
The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is for your dog, and as little as 8.5 grams of cocoa-rich chocolate may even be enough to kill a small or young dog.
Mince pies are packed full of dried fruits such as sultanas, raisins, currants and grapes which can be extremely toxic for your dog. Even small amounts of these kinds of fruits can lead to severe kidney failure in your pooch.
Much like mince pies, Christmas puddings are full of dried fruits that can be toxic for your dog. An added danger of the Christmas staple is that they also often contain alcohol, making this dessert even more harmful for your canine companion.
It might seem like common sense to most dog owners, but giving your dog alcohol is never okay, and It goes without saying that any food containing spirits, beer or wine, should not be given to your dog either.
We know that our pups have a special gift to sniff out forgotten scraps days after Christmas day has passed. But when food gets left for too long it can become a breeding ground for mould and bacteria, with bread, meat and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt being particularly susceptible.
The nutritional experts at tails.com recommend that: “it is important to keep any leftovers out of reach from your pet, and extra important to not keep any leftovers in the fridge for any longer than 24 hours or the recommended amount of time on the product’s packaging”.
Skin and Bones
While it is fine to feed your dog small portions of leftover turkey, it is important to keep your pooch away from the skin and bones of the bird.
Turkey skin is far too fatty for your pooch and eating greasy foods like this can lead to pancreatic issues and obesity, especially in smaller dogs.
Not only are meat bones a potential choking hazard for your dog, but they may also cause internal damage to their organs, as they are too hard to digest properly. So, despite the phrase ‘give a dog a bone’ being a popular one, it is not actually good advice.
Likewise, you need to be careful with the amount of gravy you are giving your dog. Although, your pooch would gleefully slurp up litres of the meaty sauce if they had the choice.
Onions, Garlic, Shallots and Leeks
While onions, garlic, shallots and leeks are tasty for us humans on Christmas day, they all belong to the allium plant family, which is poisonous for dogs.
Things like onions and garlic contain a chemical compound called thiosulfate which can be toxic for dogs as it causes damage to their red blood cells, which may result in your dog becoming anaemic.
For this reason, it is important to resist the urge to feed your dog any leftover stuffing from your Christmas dinner, as it tends to be packed full of onions and garlic.
Although not all nuts are toxic, they are all high in fat and serve as potential choking hazards for those extra-greedy dogs who are too excited to remember to chew properly. Also, feeding your pooch nuts that are overly salty can also lead to complications with their water retention.
“Macadamia nuts are a popular festive treat, but they can be extremely harmful to your dog as they are extremely fatty and even small amounts can cause your pooch to experience diarrhoea, vomiting and weakness in their hind legs, or in the worst-case scenario may even lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)”.
If your dog has consumed a large number of nuts and appears to be showing symptoms, then you are advised to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.