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Seasonal treats for your dogs. Or are they?

It’s that time of year when we look forward to stories of Father Christmas, the giving and receiving of gifts, yummy food and spending time with loved ones, which includes our dogs.

Let’s be honest there are few greater pleasures in a dog’s life than chowing down on tasty food and as pet parents we love feeding them tasty food which we hope they enjoy.  It warms our hearts and makes us smile. 

As valued members of our family of course we want our dogs to join in with the eating and festivities, but do try to remember that some treats can be toxic to dogs.  

To help here’s a short list of foods to keep away from your dog this festive season:

Alcohol usually floats around in higher volumes at Christmas and although enticing your dog to drink some of Aunt Maud’s Sherry might sound like fun, its best avoided.

Alcohol can cause serious illness to your dog, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, poor breathing, liver damage, a coma and in some cases can be fatal. This is quite confronting, but for us pet parents it helps to be aware of the dangers. Now you might say this is no different to what could happen to us humans (and in some instances you’d be right) however dogs are much smaller and therefore far more susceptible to intoxication.

Apricot (stones) from apricots can be fatal for dogs, causing obstructions.  Make sure apricots are kept out of your pets reach.

Bones are an obvious tempting treat for many pet parents and if you enjoy a roast turkey for your Christmas dinner this year you’ll be left plenty of them. We recommend you ignore the temptation to give them to your dog for a tasty chew.  While some dogs eat bones and remain unharmed others aren’t so lucky.

Bones can be dangerous and contrary to popular belief do not clean teeth, in fact they can cause painful trauma to gums and can become lodged in the roof of the mouth, throat, stomach, intestine and rectum sometimes requiring emergency surgery, so it’s best not to give them to your furry friend.

Chocolate will not only add to your dog’s waistline but it can be toxic when eaten in large quantities.  It contains theobromine which can be life threatening, particularly in high cocoa chocolates.  Try not to panic if your dog steals one chocolate from your advent calendar, but if large quantities are consumed contact your vet. 

Eggnog is really yummy but it does contain a lot of raw egg. Although cooked eggs are an excellent source of protein, raw eggs should not be fed to dogs as they could cause bacterial contamination. Raw egg (particularly egg white) can also cause a vitamin B deficiency (Biotin) leading to scaly skin, hair loss, diarrhoea and anorexia. 

Eggnog also contains a little alcohol (or a lot depending on who’s making it) which can also cause problems (see below).

Grapes and Raisins usually help to fill many fruit bowls at Christmas time but keep them out of reach from your four legged friends.  This includes Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and raisins containing biscuits. Symptoms include vomiting, hyperactivity, diarrhoea, anorexia (loss of appetite) and lethargy.  They can even cause kidney failure.

Macadamia Nuts are often left out for nibbling on around Christmas but be sure to keep them well out of your dog’s reach. They can cause weakness, panting and swollen limbs. Be careful not to feed cookies and biscuits to your dogs too as these too can contain macadamia nuts.

Onions and garlic are a staple ingredient in our Christmas Day dinner.  Don’t leave any around for your dog’s keen sense of smell.  Or as soon as your back is turned that super sense of smell could track it down when you’re not looking.

Not only will onions and garlic give your dog bad breath but consuming large quantities can be toxic causing a break-down of red blood cells, (haemolytic anaemia.) In severe cases this can be fatal.


When all is said and done, dogs are not mini-humans:

The truth is a dog’s nutritional needs are significantly different from a human’s and to help maintain all-round health and vitality.  Your dog requires a diet that provides digestible ingredients, such as protein from chicken, turkey, lamb or fish as well as fats for a healthy coat, carbohydrates for energy, moderately fermentable fibres to aid digestion and vitamins and minerals for total body support.

In addition to this IAMS helps reduce plaque and tartar build up.  This is of great benefit as by the age of just 3 years almost 85% of dogs show signs of dental disease which later can lead to serious health problems.

Household items:

In addition to foods other household items can cause health issues for dogs.  Be sure to keep these out of harm’s way:

Aspirin and Ibuprofen are great for sore heads but be sure to keep them out of your dog’s way as they can be harmful if swallowed.

Batteries are needed all year-round but during Christmas they can be easily left on the floor by children or in toys that an unsupervised dog may play with or chew causing serious damage.

Holly (berries) cause upset stomachs, seizures, loss of balance.  Be sure to keep them away from your dog, especially if they are known for eating things they shouldn’t.

Mistletoe can also cause stomach problems, and even skin irritations. If it is eaten by a small puppy, a few berries can be fatal.

Poinsettia (leaves, stems and sap) are a popular Christmas plant found in many UK households but if eaten by your dog can cause diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. Their sap can cause irritation or even blindness if it gets into your dog’s eyes.  Keep these pretty red plants up high and out of reach.

Sugar free sweets and mints contains a chemical known as xylitol, used to sweeten mints and sweets that are sugar-free can cause serious damage to pets.


If you’re concerned about any food your pet may have eaten the best advice is to check with your vet.  Be sure you know the number of an emergency vet as your regular surgery may be closed over Christmas.

Stay calm and enjoy your Christmas together

Our advice to you this Christmas is to offer your dogs the best gift of all with some healthy dog treats along with a nice doggy safe stocking filler. Ensure your dog eats a healthy balanced diet along with some added turkey and a splash of gravy and most of all enjoy all of those doggy cuddles.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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