What you shouldn't feed your dog this Christmas!
Christmas is here and shopping trolleys up and down the country are filled with the best beer, wine and juice and finest Christmas foods as people prepare their banquets for visiting family and friends. For most, preparation begins days in advance and with so much focus on food, presents and celebration.
The best thing about Christmas dinner is the leftovers that will feed your family till the new year. Every year we are told horror stories from our customers about Christmas visits to the vet, usually because the unsuspecting guest or family member had so much on their plate they thought it would be okay to share. This year, we have made a list of good food and bad food for your dog so that you, your family and your guests can make sure everyone enjoys their food this Christmas.
What your dog can't eat:
If eaten in large amounts, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, seizures and even death. Chocolate contains caffeine-like stimulants called methylxanthines. Some dog owners will tell you that their dog has eaten chocolate before and never had an issue, but be aware that different types of chocolate will have stronger or weaker effects than others. Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate and white chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. The exact cause of the kidney failure isn't clear but history shows that even a small amount can leave a lasting, life long effect.
Alcoholic drinks and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinary surgeon immediately.
Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic have been known to cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats tend to be at a larger risk with these foods, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.
Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxin called persin that can cause an upset stomach and in some cases breathing difficulties for your dog. Dogs are at far less risk than other animals including birds, rabbits and horses, but should be avoided anyways.
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Symptoms will appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12-48 hours. If you do notice that your dog has consumed any macadamia nuts we advise that you monitor for symptoms in that initial 12 hour period and if in doubt contact your veterinary surgeon or one of our helpful Petsense Direct team members for advice.
Almonds, pecans and walnuts
Like macadamia nuts, most other nuts can also cause health issues for your dog. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts contain high amounts of oils and fats. These fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea and potentially pancreatitis.
What your dog can eat:
Giving your dog the occasional tablespoon of unsalted peanut butter is a treat you can both enjoy as it's a great source of protein and healthy fats for dogs. Some peanut butter may contain Xylitol, an ingredient that is harmful to dogs, so always double check the label.
High in protein and calcium, plain yogurt is an ideal treat for dogs, especially for those dogs with digestion problems. Always read the label before hand and avoid feeding any yogurts with added sugar or sweeteners.
Oatmeal is a good source of fibre, making it great for dogs with gastrointestinal problems. It is also the perfect treat for dogs who suffer from wheat allergies. Cook as per the instructions on the packaging and serve plain without any added sugar.
Plain cooked chicken is a favourite with most dogs. Whether your dog needs a high protein diet, you're out of dog food or it's being served up as a treat, dogs will love every bite and come back for more.
The Omega 3 fatty acids contained in cooked salmon will leave your dog with a stronger immune system and a healthy, shiny coat. Salmon is protein rich and full of nutrients, so makes the perfect treat if your dog has recently suffered from a skin condition. It has also been known to reduce inflammation which will also benefit older dogs with mobility issues or arthritis and promote brain health in developing puppies.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and vitamin A. This is another great option for dogs suffering from gastrointestinal issues and can be served up raw or cooked.
Green beans are low in calories and packed with nutrients so are a good choice that will load dogs up with iron and vitamins. Make sure to feed your dog only fresh beans or canned ones with no added salt.
High in calcium and protein, cottage cheese is a good addition to dog food. If your dog has a history of struggling to digest dairy then we recommend you avoid this.
Low in calories and high in fibre and vitamins, crunching on carrots can be good for dogs' teeth. It may also help them see better in the dark but this hasn't been confirmed by experts.