How to "dog-proof" your Christmas Part Two: Naughty & Nice (foods)
At Christmas, we often have lots of different foods that we might not normally have in the house. Some common foods can be dangerous for dogs, so here’s a quick naughty and nice list to help you identify the dangers and those that are safe to eat.
CHOCOLATES / CANDY CANES
Chocolates and sweets are well known for being toxic to dogs!
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and can cause seizures, rapid heart rate and cardiac arrest, even proving fatal. The severity depends on the cocoa content of the chocolate, so contact your vet straight away if you believe your dog has eaten chocolate.
Xylitol is a sugar-replacement sweetener that is increasingly found in sweets as well as peanut butter, chewing gum, toothpaste and other common household products. It causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar in dogs, which may show as vomiting, weakness and lack of co-ordination, and can lead to seizures, coma and even death.
At this time of year, we have loads of chocolate, candy canes and other sweets around the house, all of which are potentially dangerous to our dogs.
Make sure you keep sweets and chocolates well out of your dog's reach this Christmas, particularly being aware around smaller family members who may not understand the dangers of sharing their favourite treats with their four-legged friends.
Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake, Mince Pies, Plum pudding - all the staples of the Christmas day meals - and all on the naughty list for dogs due to the raisins, currants and sultanas they contain.
Raisins, currants, sultanas and grapes can be highly toxic for your dog's kidneys. While not all dogs may be affected, those that are suffer from permanent and potentially fatal acute kidney failure.
Make sure you don't share your leftover puddings & cakes with your dog - instead why not treat them to their very own dog friendly version?
Here's a doggy Christmas pudding recipe for you to try on the Soopa Pets website
All nuts pose a choking hazard for your dogs, but macadamia nuts have additional risks. They can cause tremors, high fever and temporary loss of the use of back legs in dogs, as well as the potential to cause pancreatitis due to their high fat content.
Don't leave nuts out where dogs can access them, make sure they are out of reach or kept in cupboards unless being eaten.
You'll probably have seen plenty of rawhide chews on sale in the shops over the festive period, usually shaped and painted into Christmas themed shapes.
Rawhide can be very dangerous for your dog. They tend to be a by-product of the leather industry, where pieces of rawhide are cleansed in chemicals, glued and then painted to look attractive to the human buyers.
Aside from the risks of injesting these chemicals, rawhide chews are also prone to bits snapping off, which may then get stuck in the digestive tract and cause an obstruction.
There are far nicer, tastier and healthier chews available out there - Charlie, Dave and Remus are happy to recommend some tasty pigs ears for your dogs this Christmas!
To find out more about the risks of rawhide, check out this article from Dogs Naturally Magazine
Here are a few festive foods your dog can try this Christmas
RAW & COOKED MEAT
Both Raw and Cooked meat are fine for your dog to eat, although it's recommended to avoid too much pork, fatty meat or where there is a lot of added salt.
Gravy comes in many different varieties. You should avoid anything which contains too much fat, salt, garlic, onion and other known toxins, so if in doubt, don't risk it.
So it's absolutely fine to give them a little Christmas turkey as a treat!
PARSNIPS, CARROTS & BRUSSEL SPROUTS
Parsnips, Carrots and Brussel Sprouts are all great for dogs to eat raw or cooked, although it's a good idea to cut the brussel sprouts in half to prevent choking.
You can also puree these vegetables separately or together and add them to your dog's normal food, or use them as an ingredient in festive treat recipes!
Who loves Cranberry Sauce with their Christmas turkey?
Great news - your dog can enjoy cranberries too!
Make sure they are fresh with no additives or sweeteners - then you can give them to your dog to eat whole, cook them or eat them raw, or puree them to mix in with your dog's normal food.
Let's talk about BONES
It is a pretty typical image to think of a dog eating a bone, but when is it ok for them to have them?
Uncooked (raw) bones are generally fine for your dog as long as they are not from a weight bearing limb e.g. thigh. This is because the bones are too dense and may splinter.
All cooked bones are prone to splintering as the cooking process changes the density. Splintering causes sharp bits which scrape their insides and can cause internal injuries - so cooked bones should not be given to your dog.
As always, your dog should be supervised while enjoying their tasty raw bone treat!
MAKE YOUR OWN TREATS
Making your own treats is a fab idea if you have foods around the house that you need to use up (because of course you bought that 5kg bag of Brussel sprouts even though nobody likes them!)
The added bonus is that you know exactly what's in them so you can be sure they're safe for your dog!
Our favourites are Turkey, Sprout and Cranberry Bones, and Peanut Butter and Banana Stars. Both recipes are available from my friends at Potter Paws at this link