As Christmas comes around we think about how we can treat our four legged family members, but before reaching for all manner of sweet treats and savoury delights you might want to think again. This year The Dogs Trust has urged pet owners to think twice about indulging their pet with Christmas food, warning some festive favourites could prove fatal. Read here to find out some surprising festive treats and items that could leave you with a poorly pup this Christmas.
Festive foods such as mince pies, chocolate decorations and even some sugar-free sweets can cause serious issues for dogs. Dogs Trust veterinary director, Paula Boyden, says: “As a vet I have seen some terrible examples of dog poisoning over the Christmas period. In many cases the owner was totally unaware of the hidden dangers and was simply intending to be kind to their dog who was eager to share in the festive treats.”
To help here is a list of festive items which can be harmful to dogs:
•Alcohol - Keep alcoholic drinks (and food containing alcohol) out of your dog’s reach. It has similar side effects to humans and can cause serious liver damage.
•Antifreeze - Antifreeze can be found in puddles in the street so during the winter months it is best not to let your dog drink out of puddles. It has an attractive taste for dogs and cats but can prove fatal even in small doses.
•Apricot (stones/kernel) - The stones from apricots can be fatal for dogs, so make sure they’re kept out of reach.
•Aspirin and Ibuprofen - If you’ve stocked-up on painkillers for your boxing day hangover, keep them out of your dog’s way as they can be harmful if swallowed.
•Batteries - Although we use batteries all year-round, at Christmas they can be easily left on the floor by children or in toys that an unsupervised dog may play with or chew. They can cause serious damage so care should be taken so they’re out of your dog’s reach.
•Chocolate - A chemical in chocolate known as theobromine can cause serious harm to your pet, even in small quantities. The darker and higher the percentage of cocoa, the more theobromine is in the chocolate. Make sure to keep it out of reach of your dog.
•Christmas cake and Christmas pudding - Raisins can cause kidney failure and can be fatal - if your dog is a scavenger it may be best to keep any left overs in a cupboard out of his reach.
•Cooked bones - Turkey, chicken, lamb, beef and pork bones that are cooked can easily splinter and perforate your dog’s stomach. They are dangerous and should never be fed to a dog.
•Holly (berries) - Causes upset stomach, tremours, seizures, loss of balance - be sure to keep them away from your dog, especially if he is known for eating things he shouldn’t.
•Mistletoe - Causes stomach problems, and may cause skin irritations. If it is eaten by a small puppy, a few berries can be fatal.
•Poinsettia (leaves, stems and sap) - These popular Christmas plants can cause diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. Their sap can cause irritation or even blindness if it gets into your dog’s eyes
•Sugar free sweets and mints - A chemical known as xylitol, used to sweeten mints and sweets that are sugar-free can cause serious damage to your pet.
Please be aware that this is not a comprehensive list. If you’re concerned about any food your pet may have eaten the best advice is to check with your vet. Be sure you know the number of an emergency vet as your regular surgery may be closed over Christmas.
What can I feed then?
It is completely natural to want to treat your dog on this special day. Our advice is to sprinkle your dog’s Eukanuba food with some turkey and gravy and serve with a fresh bowl of water for a special (and yet safe and healthy) Christmas treat.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.