Come Christmas Day, dog-owners up and down the country will be met with a familiar sight: a wagging tail and big marble eyes lurking under the dinner table, possibly even a wet nose resting on laps – the sign of a patient pooch hoping to polish off any leftovers.
But there are certain festive snacks even Butch can’t stomach. PDSA vets have warned of the Christmas treats that can prove dangerous to dogs (and cats, for that matter) after a 14-year-old Parsons Russell Terrier from Kent wolfed down some Christmas tree chocolates and ended up on a drip.
Vet Soo Ming Teoh said: “With the festive season here, many of us will have lots of treats, sweets and chocolates in the house. But while Christmas is a time for indulgence, remember that some foods that are safe for us can be harmful to our pets.”
So what shouldn’t you be sneaking off your plate and into the mouth of your beloved fur-baby?
It might be tempting to throw a turkey leg or thigh to your pooch, but you’re strongly advised not to, say pet food experts at Canagan. Not only could your dog choke on the bone, but smaller splintered pieces could irritate its gut or in more serious cases puncture the stomach wall.
Gravy can contain alcohol and tends to have a high salt content so avoid letting your dog have a slurp. There’s also a high chance of gravy containing onions which – alongside shallots, garlic, leeks and scallions – are part of the allium family and are dangerous to dogs.
Onions, regardless of whether they’re cooked or raw, can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and harm to the red blood cells, resulting in anaemia. For the same reason, it’s probably wise not to let Fido anywhere near the stuffing and bread sauce, suggest pet food experts from PurePetFood.com.
Nuts should be kept well away from doggos, thanks to the high fat content and potential for choking. Macadamia nuts and black walnuts can make them especially ill. Signs of consumption include weak back legs, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors and fever.
Not So Sweet Treats
Christmas pudding, cake and mince pies are delicious after dinner treats but they’re very dangerous to our four-legged friends as they can contain currants, sultanas and raisins, which are toxic to dogs, and can cause kidney failure.
Some festive desserts also contain alcohol which, it goes without saying, shouldn’t be given to your pet.
Chocolate – whether white, milk or dark – is bad for dogs as it contains theobromine. It’s all too easy to leave your tub of Celebrations lying around on Christmas day but if you’ve got a dog (or two) then it really isn’t wise. Signs a pet may have eaten chocolate can include vomiting, diarrhoea, drinking excessively, shaking and restlessness.
At higher doses, signs can even progress to an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature, rapid breathing and seizures. Sweets can also be a problem as they often contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.
Lastly, it might be tempting to feed your pooch scraps off the Boxing Day cheeseboard but cheese and other dairy products like cream, milk and ice cream can also be problematic for dogs who struggle to digest them, and may end up with a stomach upset, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Is there anything you can give your dog?
Yes, of course. Feed them a bit of turkey meat (without the bones) and they’re also fine to eat Brussel sprouts and carrots – although we can’t be held to account for the wind that comes later.