Christmas is a time for fun, family and food and it is no surprise that those of us with dogs want to include our four legged pals in the seasonal festivities, especially the central point of the day – Christmas dinner. In the midst of all the excitement it is easy to become complacent with food items that can be potentially harmful to your dog, therefore we have compiled a brief guide to help you remain vigilant.
Not all human food has an adverse effect on dogs, but nonetheless it should be given in moderation.
Turkey – It is safe to feed your dog a little bit of the Christmas turkey. However do not be tempted to add gravy, it is an unnecessary carrier of fat and salt and your dog won’t know the difference. It is best to avoid giving any turkey or chicken skin either since they are too fatty for canines. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis.
Bones – We tend to cook a lot more meat joints at Christmas. Bones whether cooked or not are a choking hazard for your dog and if the bone splinters there is also a high risk of perforation. You may think you have it covered by keeping bones away from your dog at the dinner table, but be wary of leaving rubbish bags open and within reach of your pet. They will find it hard to resist the smell!
Vegetables – Small amounts of vegetables are fine to give to your dog including carrot, parsnip, green beans, courgette, Brussels sprouts, broccoli florets (very small amount only), peas, spinach, cauliflower. When preparing their portion, do not add any salt, butter or type of fat. Potatoes can be given either mashed or boiled but again avoid adding unnecessary extras and keep the portion small as too much starch can be painful.
Fruit – Grapes can cause serious harm to your canine pal, whether it is a few or many. Currants, raisins and sultanas have a similar impact since they all come from the same family food group. Subsequently do not share with your dog Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or mince pies. Other fruit can be given in moderation as long any pits/stones are removed first and if there is rhubarb on the menu, make sure your dog doesn’t have any as the plant is very dangerous for them.
Onions, garlic and other bulb vegetables (e.g. chives, leeks, shallots) – Avoid at all costs including variants such as onion powder. Garlic does not post any immediate threat in dogs but if given consistently the cumulative effects are harmful.
Chocolate – We have a lot more cocoa products available at this time of the year but they should be kept well out of reach of dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine which can be deadly for your pet.
Follow these simple rules for a trouble free, peaceful Christmas. Remember if in doubt; always seek advice from a veterinarian