Pet food experts from PurePetFood.com have revealed a list of seven common Christmas foods and ingredients that could actually poison canine companions.
Christmas pudding, alcohol and even gravy can be detrimental to dogs’ health, potentially causing vomiting, convulsions and kidney failure.
And like humans, dogs can find it hard to digest dairy products, so cheese and any items containing milk or butter should stay out of dogs’ food bowls too.
A spokesperson for Pure Pet Food commented: “Christmas is the time to indulge in all our favourite festive foods, and as they’re part of the family, dogs should be allowed to get in on some of the action too.
“However, there are a number of typical Christmas foods that present various hidden dangers to our four-legged friends.
Alcohol and chocolate should always be avoided, as well as onions, leeks and shallots. If you do want to treat your dog this Christmas, buy a specially made Christmas dinner for dogs, or stick to safe human foods like turkey meat, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and carrots.”
Below are the food items to avoid.
1. Christmas pudding and mince pies
Grapes and their dried products like currants, sultanas and raisins are toxic to dogs, and ingestion of even a small quantity can cause severe kidney failure. This includes food items that contain these products, like Christmas puddings and mince pies.
Giving dogs chocolate – no matter the type or quantity – should be avoided at all costs. The chemical theobromine, which is a bit like caffeine, is found in chocolate and is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and problems with the heart.
Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives all belong to the Allium species of plants and can cause toxicity, whether cooked or raw. Initially there can be vomiting and diarrhoea, but the main damage it causes is to red blood cells, resulting in anaemia. These symptoms may not show straight away and could take between 2 to 4 days, but as soon as you suspect poisoning, call your vet immediately.
As it’s a staple on the Christmas dinner table, lots of people will give their dogs Christmas dinner leftovers which are smothered in gravy, but it’s really high in salt so should be avoided.
5. Dairy products
Dogs find it hard to consume and digest dairy products. Like some humans, they’re intolerant to lactose products such as milk and cheese, which can cause stomach upsets, diarrhoea and vomiting.
There’s often a lot of alcohol around at Christmas, but you should make sure it’s kept well away from your dog. Intoxicating your dog with alcohol is very dangerous, causing some of the same effects we have when we consume alcohol. Even small amounts found in cooked food should not be given to your dog, and veterinary assistance should be sought straight away should your dog accidentally ingest some.
7. Artificial sweeteners
A sugar-free sweetener called xylitol is often found in the sweets we consume over Christmas, as well as chewing gums, mouthwashes, and toothpastes. It is poisonous to dogs and, although the amounts in different products vary, even a couple of sweets could cause toxic effects in a small dog. It can induce the release of insulin in the body, resulting in low blood sugar and sometimes liver damage. Signs of poisoning can be rapid or delayed, and include vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and comas.