Christmas Day is nearly here (how did that happen?!) and we all know what that means... Food galore! We love to indulge in delicious food and sweet treats at this time of year and we like to make sure our pets get their share of some of the good stuff too.
Hence, this is the perfect time to remind everyone that our animal companions can't tolerate the same foods as us, and we should be careful what we feed them this holiday season. To make it easier on you, we've compiled a list of things that your dog shouldn't be able to get their paws on this Christmas! We've also got a list of foods that our feline friends should avoid eating too, so you know how to keep them out of harm's way over the holiday.
Chocolate: There will be a ton of chocolate and chocolate wrappers lying around this Christmas day (no point trying to deny it!), but these treats contain a chemical called Theobromine which is toxic to canines, even in small quantities.
Bones: Poultry bones, pork bones and any cooked bones should be strictly forbidden from being given to your dog. They are a huge chocking hazard as they splinter into shards and can cause serious damage to the dog's mouth, throat and intestines.
Rich, fatty foods: Foods such as skins, pork crackling, sausages (especially pigs in blanket), roast beef, and ham have a high fat content and can lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in dogs. Gravy is another one as it's fatty but also simply too salty for our furry friends.
Bulb vegetables: This means onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives and anything that has these as an ingredient. Onions and other bulb vegetables can damage dogs' red blood cells so best be vigilant that they don't consume any at all. Yep, this means no stuffing for them! Stuffing is also bad because of the next no-no food...
Herbs and spices: As our dogs' usual food doesn't contain herbs and spices, an upset stomach can occur when they do ingest them. Thus, it's best to avoid giving them heavily spiced foods. A specific spice they should not come in contact with that may be used more during the Christmas period is nutmeg, which contains Myristicin (essentially a drug, so too much could cause your dog to show side-effects).
Grapes, raisins, currents, sultanas, (some) nuts: Phew! Big category. But it's super important that your dog doesn't ingest any of these foods as they are all toxic to canines. Macadamia nuts and walnuts in particular in the nut family is to be avoided. However, peanuts, almonds and cashews seem to be ok.
Alcohol: We bet you have a stack of bottles just ready to be consumed over the holiday (I mean, we ALL do) but please ensure your dog doesn't decide to join you in becoming merry this Christmas! If they have even a sip, the alcohol can cause low body temperature, low blood sugar, seizures, and in extreme circumstances, coma.
Christmassy desserts: The beloved mince pie, Christmas pudding and fruit cake are all bad for our doggies. Truth be told, no human dessert/sweets should be given to our pets as they contain such a high level of sugar, but these festive desserts contain dried fruits and alcohol as well which are toxic to dogs.
Dairy products: Like us, dogs can be lactose intolerant but even if your one isn't, dairy products shouldn't be shared with them. Blue cheeses in particular are harmful to our pets as they contain Roquefortine C which is known to cause tremors and seizures in dogs for up to two days.
Avocados and other fruits: Avocados are popular around this time of year but unfortunately they contain a chemical that is toxic to dogs. Not only this but the pit is a risk of obstruction to them as well so make sure they keep their paws off of this favorite fruit. Similarly, fruits such as apple, cherry, peach, pear, plum, and apricot's pips/stones can contain cyanide which you most definitely do not want your dog to ingest - so if they are lucky enough to have a taste of these fruits, ensure there isn't a pip or stone in sight.
Festive plants: Mistletoe, holly, poinsettia, ivy and potpourri are a danger to our furry friends. A real Christmas tree is also a risk as the oils from the needles can irritate the dog's mouth and stomach which can easily lead to diarrhea and vomiting. Christmassy plants such as the Christmas tree and holly are also sharp and can cause physical injury.
Non-edible things that dogs shouldn't scoff down are decorations, wrapping paper, batteries, silica gel sachets and small toys!
Although this seems like an endless list, there are some yummy foods that your furry friend can have a taste of this Christmas. How about some turkey (plain white - not fatty dark bits, and in moderation), cranberry sauce (not too much), potatoes (not fried) and dog-safe veg on the side? Sounds delicious.
The list of holiday foods that felines shouldn't eat is pretty similar to the dogs' one actually, so we won't go into too much detail about why here.
You should know that these festive foods can be harmful to your cat:
- Bulb vegetables
- Dairy products
- Grapes and raisins
- Fat trimmings, raw meat, raw eggs and raw fish
And there you have it!
If you've witnessed your dog or cat eating something they shouldn't have, or can see that they're uncomfortable, acting strange or showing signs of illness then please seek advice or help from your vet immediately. Hopefully, all the pets in Wanaka will have a safe and happy Christmas with no upset stomachs or any other symptoms of poisoning.
Have a very merry Christmas, pet-owners!