Dog Health

Give Your Dog a Christmas Dinner, but Just Avoid These Lethal Foods

We all know there are certain foods our dogs would love to eat but we shouldn't feed them. But when you have a house full of friends and family, it can sometimes be hard to avoid others sharing small bites with our pets.

Make sure everyone knows what your dog can and can't eat this year by sharing the advice below with them.

Chocolate:

According to new research by Direct Line Pet Insurance, one in ten dogs will eat chocolate this Christmas, which is worrying as it contains a substance called theobromine. Like caffeine, the stimulant in it is poisonous to dogs and can affect the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, heart and central nervous system.

Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs

Symptoms can occur from two hours after ingesting chocolate and can include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate and seizures.

Bones:

Leftover bones from joints of meat can cause serious problems.

Cooked bones, including small ones, can get lodged in a dog or cat's windpipe and get stuck in their stomach, or even break teeth.

Alcohol:

Alcohol can cause pets to experience metabolic acidosis when the blood becomes too acidic, which can cause an animal to experience a cardiac arrest.

Signs of alcohol poisoning in dogs and cats

Even low volumes of alcohol can harm the liver and kidneys and pose a risk by reducing the animal’s coordination.

Dried fruit:

Since our pets have different digestive systems to us, dried fruit, such as raisins in mince pies can cause stomach upsets and kidney damage.

Other Christmas foods pets should avoid

Onions, including gravy made with onions. Grapes too should be avoided. Christmas cakes and chocolate logs should also be considered dangerous.

Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse at Direct Line, shared this advice, “It is understandable that owners want to treat their pets to something special over the holidays, but dog and cat owners must be careful when feeding their pets human foods. It is important that pet owners read up on what their pets can safely consume, as things like cooked bones, chocolate, dried fruit, onions and alcohol can all be fatal, meaning that a seemingly harmless Christmas treat could have severe consequences.

“We appreciate it is difficult to say no to begging puppy eyes, but it is important to carefully consider the nutritional impact of different ingredients. We encourage owners to treat their pets in moderation and consider pet substitutes to human foods [for example, tins of Christmas dinners for pets]. By doing so, the risk of over-feeding is significantly reduced and it eliminates the chance of food poisoning.”

If your pet needs emergency treatment this year and is insured with Direct Line, the insurer is reminding customers that their pet insurance policy offers access to live chat and video calls with qualified, experienced vets at PawSquad.

Sarah Page-Jones, Chief Veterinary Officer at PawSquad, an online and mobile veterinary service, commented: “We want everyone to have an enjoyable Christmas and so suggest pet owners take a few precautions to keep their pets healthy over the festive period.

"It is also important to keep toxic plants like poinsettia, mistletoe and holly out of reach, together with Christmas decorations that can shatter, be chewed or swallowed by inquisitive pets.”

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