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Keep your dog safe at Christmas

Christmas is the season of overindulgence for most of us, and our pets are no exception! We all like to treat our doggies from time to time, but feeding them the wrong foods can have serious consequences and the potential to be fatal. Awareness of danger foods and by being careful to keep them out of reach of our canine friends will help to keep them safe over the festive period.

Harmful Foods for dogs:-

Chocolate contains theobromine which is poisonous to dogs. Darker chocolate has a higher content, but it is also present in milk chocolate and white chocolate. Symptoms will include vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures and can occur between 4-24 hours after your dog has consumed chocolate and will vary depending on the amount and type of chocolate eaten by your dog.

Grapes, Raisins, Currants and Sultanas can cause kidney failure, dogs that already have underlying health problems are at greatest risk and just one raisin can be severely toxic. As these are used in a variety of foods this season Mince Pies, Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding are also poisonous to our doggies.

Cooked bones can cause a dog to choke and they can also splinter causing internal injuries. So be very careful where you leave the turkey carcass to keep it out of your doggies reach and dispose of it carefully so that your doggy does not raid the kitchen bin when everyone has gone to sleep at night.

Alcohol and foods that contain alcohol are significantly more toxic to our doggy friends. Even a small amount can be potentially fatal. Be careful where you put your glass to keep it out of your dog’s reach.

It’s not known why Macadamia Nuts are poisonous to dogs, but they can cause your dog to experience weakness, become sleepy, sometimes wobbly on their feet or pain/stiffness when walking, vomiting and an increased body temperature. Macadamia nuts covered in chocolate pose a double risk to your doggy.

Blue Cheeses contain a substance called roquefortine C and dogs appear sensitive to this and in more extreme cases can cause dogs to quickly develop muscle tremors and seizures.

Mouldy Food – Be careful when feeding the birds your leftovers that your dog cannot eat these too as mouldy foods contain toxins that can make your doggy very ill.

Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives can cause stomach and gut irritation. These plants contain a substance that can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia. Make sure that your doggy does not eat raw, cooked or dried versions of these vegetables or takeaways that include these veggies and herb.

Xylitol an artificial sweetener is found in many sugar-free gums, sweets, cakes and foods. Even a very small quantity can be toxic to dogs, potentially leading to fatal hypoglycaemia (lowered sugar levels). Symptoms can include weakness, vomiting lethargy or they may collapse.

Avocado contains a toxin called persin which can cause stomach and gut irritation. And the avocado stone is dangerous if consumed by your dog as it could block the gastrointestinal tract leaving your dog requiring surgery.

The best advice of all to keep your dog safe is to keep them to their normal meals and treats, and make sure they don’t overeat, it is as important for them to look after their waistlines as it is ours.

As with anything concerning your dog’s health if you are at all worried contact your vet for advice.

Household things to be aware of :-

Poisonous Plants like holly, ivy, mistletoe, lillies and poinsettia are all toxic to pets if they eat them. Keep them out of your pet’s reach.

Our dogs can get excited and love our Xmas Gifts and Decorations but these can pose serious risks. Always be cautious with fairy lights, baubles, tinsel and wrapping paper which can easily be chewed or swallowed and cause an obstruction in the stomach. If you hang chocolate or sweeties on the tree keep them out of your dog’s reach. Our dogs can be very interested in our Christmas gifts such as soft toys, small toys or anything edible or chewy! If your dog has eaten anything they shouldn’t have – contact your vet immediately for advice.

Christmas trees, be aware that the sharp points of pine needles can cause damage internally if eaten.

Healthy treats for your dog

As with anything new you feed your dog, make sure it is cleaned and if new it is introduced to their diet gradually, and everything in moderation.

Carrots – a raw carrot is good for your dog to chew and helps keep their teeth clean too. Cut into slices or sticks make a nice easy to give treat too.

Cucumber – a few slices make a nice refreshing treat.

Dehydrated vegetable treats – there are a number of companies now offering dried vegetable treats for your dog, helpful if you don’t happen to have a dehydrator to hand.

Fish skin chews – There are companies like Fish 4 Dogs, Skippers and Sea Treats that make tasty fish skin chews for your dog that will be good for their teeth and low in fat.

Dried Tripe – don’t be put off, this is a treat that will keep your doggy busy for a while and is low in fat too.

If you’d like to make some nice Homemade biscuits try this recipe from RSPCA


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