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Christmas Treats and Foods to Avoid

Food glorious food, it’s what Christmas is all about for many of us. When we sit down to feast on turkey with all the trimmings our thoughts are likely roam to our dogs and what we can do to ensure they’re happy and included in the family celebration - especially if they’re sitting patiently beside the table, pulling a well rehearsed deprived face.

The temptation to feed pets traditional yuletide fare from the table is strong, so it’s wise to learn what’s hot and what’s not. We’re taking a look at a few of the common festive staples enjoyed by humans and sought out by dogs, while sharing some basic food advice from leading vets and animal welfare authorities.

Low in fat and rich in protein, turkey is a healthy food for many dogs. Best to feed it without skin or gravy. Be sure to remove all bones too, as they can stick in the throat and cause perforations in the digestive tract. You may want to set aside a portion of meat before adding butter, cheese, sugar, or onions to the mix, which are not recommended for your dog in any shape or form.

Potatoes, carrots, brussels, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower and green beans can all be safely shared with your dog. If you do pop a few leftovers in their bowl, try and remember to wash away any butter, oil or gravy first.

Booze in the tiniest of amounts can prove fatal if lapped up by your pet dog. Keep alcoholic drinks, especially if sweetened, where they cannot be reached.

Cranberries tend to be perfectly safe for dogs, along with apples, bananas, oranges and pears.
Be sure to wash all fruits and remove rinds, inedible skins, seeds, and stones before feeding to your dog, as some of these elements can be toxic. Apricots, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries and strawberries are fine too, provided they’re not coated in anything or swimming in syrup or ice cream.

Nuts and raisins
Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure, so the last thing you should feed your pet is Christmas pudding, cake or mince pies. Some nuts, such as walnuts and macadamia are poisonous, so better to steer clear of all nuts and foods that may contain them.

It might be very popular with some humans but chocolate can be very damaging when consumed by dogs - sometimes fatal. The cocoa beans used in its production contain theobromine, which can cause canines many health problems, as they are very slow to metabolise the chemical.
It might be worth noting in the countdown to Christmas that onions and desserts containing artificial sweetener are not to be consumed by dogs. Both are highly toxic.

Check with your vet before changing any aspect of your pet’s diet. The recommendations given are for guidance only and every owner should assess their dog’s dietary needs on an individual basis.

16 December 2014

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