Common Christmas Food Dangers for Dogs

We all want to treat our animals at Christmas but be aware some Christmas treats can do more harm for your pet than others, here are some top tips for your dog this year.

Grapes

Exactly why and how these are poisonous to dogs is unknown and the exact volume needed to cause symptoms is difficult to predict. Some dogs will eat one or two grapes and become seriously ill but others can eat many of them without apparent signs. The only way to be safe is to keep them out of reach of your dog.

Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake and Mince Pies

These Christmas fancies are bad for dogs for a number of reasons:

  • They are jam-packed full of current raisins and sultanas. These are all a variation on the ‘grape’ and as such have the same serious health risks. It is common for them to ingest far more ‘grapes’ in this form than they would fresh grapes because there are so many packed into these cakes and they are smaller.
  • They are full of fat, suet etc which can often give them severe stomach troubles, vomiting etc but also, more worryingly high fat meals are one of the high risk factors leading to pancreatitis. This can be a very serious and costly disease to treat.
  • They are usually laced with large amounts of alcohol which can cause many of the symptoms of intoxication seen in people.

Chocolate coins and other choccy decorations

Most people are aware of the dangers for dogs from eating chocolate and take steps to avoid leaving any near their dogs. However, it is not uncommon for people to forget about the chocolate coins or decorations and leave them in an irresistible location. As well as the dangers of the chocolate the actual wrapping foil can be problematic as they work through the gut system.

Bones

At this time of year we often cook far more meat joints than usual and this normally results in many more bones lying about. Once cooked all bones become brittle and splinter easily. This can lead to larger fragments getting ‘stuck’ causing obstructions but also smaller pieces can cause gut irritation and perforation or even just difficulty toileting.
Most people avoid the initial pitfall of your dog ‘borrowing the bones off the work surface’ only to get caught out later on by putting the deliciously tasty smelling carcass/bone into the bin where is gets raided in the night. Make sure you dispose of the string from any meat joints as this can be a tempting toy for your dogs and could be harmful if ingested. The best thing is to take it straight outside into a sealed bin.
N.B. Birds (turkey/chicken/goose) are all hollow boned animals and as such these bones will splinter either raw or cooked and so must never be given to your dog under any circumstances.

Macadamia nuts

Within 12 hours of ingestion macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia (increased body temperature). These symptoms tend to last for approximately 12 to 48 hours, and as with all the other food groups mentioned if you suspect your dog has consumed macadamia nuts note the possible quantity consumed and contact your vet.

Alcohol

We tend to use much more alcohol in our cooking at this time of year and so even normal titbits can be potentially problematic over the Christmas period. As it is for people, alcohol is also intoxicating for dogs and can cause similar unpleasant side effects.
If your dog does get into mischief and consumes any of these things then the first thing to do is contact your local vet for advice. Often the quicker treatment is sought the easier and more successful the treatment.


Please note: This advice is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health – even if they are closed, they will always have an out of hours service available. 

Common Christmas Food Dangers for Dogs

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