Christmas: lots of eating, lots of drinking, rich foods we don’t usually eat the rest of the year. For the family dog though, rich human food can lead to serious health issues.
Christmas cake is a potential grenade
Apart from lashings of sugar and butter, they contain dense amounts of sultanas, raisins, cherries and citrus peels (toxic for dogs). Nuts like macadamias are also toxic for dogs, and walnuts too if they are mouldy (contain tremorgenic mycotoxins causing neurological problems).
Fancy platters: Fruits, nuts and cheese anybody?
They’re laid out the coffee table (just where Bluey can reach them.) Nuts and fruit: refer above. Cheese, rich in fat and salt, is not the best either.
A dog’s pancreas cannot handle much fat (there are so many dogs with pancreatitis nowadays!) Christmas ham is a major culprit. (Never mind ‘Yum’, Digger!)
Christmas or any time of year, cooked bones are a bad idea. Fragments can easily splinter and damage your dog internally. Scratches to the mouth and internal organs can lead to infections which could be fatal.
Certain raw foods
Raw foods can be a valuable addition to your dog’s diet, but obvious precaution is to avoid ‘off’ foods which may be infected with salmonella. Uncooked pork can contain parasites.
Gravy: A tasty addition to human food
May be a bit fatty for your dog – and onion and garlic if present are toxic to dogs.
Sweet treats Chocolate is right out: contains theobromine which can build up in the canine system. In high quantities, chocolate can kill dogs. In low quantities, a dog may suffer vomiting and diarrhea. Candy canes or other lollies won’t do your dog any favours either.
They are highly toxic for dogs. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop severely and can lead to liver failure.
Keep your dog away from human drinks at Christmas. Obviously no alcohol, and no sweet drinks. There’s no need for your dog to drink anything other than water.
OK, so what can I eat at Christmas?
Fresh seafood – salmon, tuna, prawns – why not? Turkey, lamb and well-cooked pork are also fine (bones out!)
Fruits and Vegs
Carrots, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cucumbers, watermelon, fresh apples, blueberries, and bananas are all safe for your dog. If you’re giving your dog watermelon, ensure seeds and rind removed.
Eggs and Dairy
Leftover scrambled eggs are OK, milk, cheese, and plain yoghurt can be given in moderation.
Rice and other grains
All fine, healthy foods for most dogs.
Tips for Christmas: Hassle-free, dog-friendly
- Feed your dog a substantial meal before the humans arrive so that he/she will (maybe!) be less interested in human food.
- Take your dog out for a walk before the festivities begin so that any pent-up energy isn’t spent on hassling guests for food.
- Make special mention to guests that you don’t want your dog fed treats or leftovers. If you’re worried they won’t comply, keep Dodger outside during the meal.
- Keep treats well away from dogs. Easier said than done – but it’s vital.
Your dog is family. Christmas is a family time. We wish you all well and especially wish for you to avoid any unnecessary (and very expensive) visits to the vet during your Christmas break.