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It’s fast approaching Christmas. That time of year where you’ll be hosting your festive gatherings for family and friends. You’ll have stocked up on the party food and as for your diet. What diet?! There’ll be an abundance of chocolate, sweets and other treats scattered around the house ready for hungry guests to tuck into.
It’s just all too easy for us humans to overindulge at Christmas time. For dogs though, this can be a tricky, and possibly unbearable time of year. Whilst you can probably afford a few extra pounds over the Christmas period, your dog probably could do without it.
Chocolate is first on our list for a reason. As many pet owners know, Chocolate is not good for our dogs. It’s one of the most common causes of dog poisoning and you should take it seriously. In high enough doses it can be fatal. It’s at Christmas and Easter when most cases of dog poisoning occur.
The chemical in chocolate that causes the toxicity is theobromine. The toxicity becomes more severe the darker a chocolate is. Chocolate should generally be avoided completely but in particular, you should take care to ensure dark chocolate is kept well away from your pets.
Symptoms can include hyperactivity, extreme thirst, diarrhoea, panting, shaking and seizures. Even very small amounts of chocolate can cause a tummy ache. If your dog has eaten any quantity of chocolate you should always consult with a veterinary professional in the first instance.
You can also use the online toxicity calculator from Vets Now to give you some idea of what you might be dealing with. Make sure your pets are safe by keeping the chocolate well out of reach.
Christmas puddings, fruit cakes and mince pies
Although they are often family favourites, many desserts contain raisins and grapes which are highly toxic to dogs. According to many vets, even small amounts can make a dog extremely ill and can even be fatal.
Surprisingly, the root cause of the toxicity is not known and the severity of symptoms varies from dog to dog. In the most severe cases, your dog can suffer from kidney failure.
If you think your dog has eaten grapes or raisins you should immediately contact your local veterinary professional without any delay. You should keep these foods well away from your dog and educate any guests about the dangers, particularly young children.
Onions, shallots and garlic
These foods all belong to the same family, called Allium. They contain a substance called thiosulfate which can cause toxicity in dogs¹. It can cause anemia, which may not be apparent until several days after consumption.
This happens because of some of the red blood cells in the dog’s body are destroyed¹. It doesn’t matter if the onions are cooked or uncooked, they will be equally dangerous for your dog.
If you think your dog has consumed any foods from the onion family, you should contact your local veterinary professional immediately for advice. The best preventative measure is to keep these foods well away from your dog.
Healthy foods your dog will enjoy
You’ll definitely want to make sure your dog is getting a balanced diet with treats that are healthy and safe to enjoy. You could read about some great alternative healthy snacks.
It’s worth also bearing in mind that dogs will eat almost anything, so it’s your job to keep an eye on their intake. Keep those chocolates hidden out of sight and make sure guests are not feeding your dog something that may harm them! Besides, if your doggo eats too much they might well be joining you on that New Year’s diet!
For a more detailed understanding of what not to feed your canine, please take a look at this comprehensive guide from Dr Jennifer Peters from fluentwoof.
Any veterinary medical information is not advice and should not be treated as such. Always consult your local vet if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet.