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Christmas foods – what not to give dogs at Christmas

Although we enjoy lots of tasty food, some of the foods that are around at this time of year are toxic to our dogs. We've put together a list to make sure you can keep your dogs safe and a list of some foods that we can offer them to ensure they can join in with the food festivities.

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Amie Brown - Professional dog trainer and owner of Canine Pawtential

The Festive Period is such a wonderful time – a break from work, lots of time spent with friends and family, giving, and receiving gifts with loved ones and, best of all, the amazing, delicious food that isn’t in short supply. 

But we have to be careful. Here's a list of foods that your dog shouldn't have. 

Christmas foods to avoid

    List of foods you should avoid feeding your dog

    Toxic foods that should be kept well out of paws reach:

    • Chocolate – chocolate is toxic to dogs and even a small amount can cause serious illness.
    • Christmas pudding and mince pies – grapes and dried fruits including currants, sultanas and raisins can cause severe kidney failure if eaten. 
    • Sweets – many of the sweets we eat over Christmas, such as candy canes, contain a sugar-free sweetener called xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs. 
    • Onions (leeks, shallots, and chives) – these are all belonging to the allium species of plant and are poisonous to dogs both cooked ans uncooked. Avoid all foods that may contain any of these for example, gravy. 
    • Leftovers – don’t be tempted to feed any leftovers to your dog, this could cause upset stomach and overall illness.
    • Alcohol – alcohol should never be left unattended or available to your dog. It is poisonous to our dogs and causes illness.
    • Macadamia nuts – these can cause lethargy, weakness in the back legs, increased body temperature, tremors, and stiffness.

    If your dog ingests any of the above ingredients, it’s important that you contact your vet immediately. They will be able to give the best advice on whether or not you need to take your dog for treatment, or if they can be treated at home. 

    Other Christmas related things to be careful of

    As well as some Christmas foods we need to be careful of, there are other Christmas related things we should also watch out for when our dogs are around them. 

    Real Christmas Trees such as pine, fir and spruce are not toxic to dogs BUT they produce oils that could be harmful. As well as that, the needles they shed can potentially injure your dog’s paws, they could also cause a mild stomach upset or blockage if ingested. 

    To keep your dog safe, ensure they are never left unattended around the tree whether it’s real or artificial as both can pose risks. This will avoid them getting u to anything mischievous!

    We would recommend dog proofing your tree:

    Keep decorations out of paws or mouths reach – if they were to swallow any part of a bauble, tinsel, or any other decoration for that matter, it could be extremely dangerous. Hang the decorations up high to prevent them from being knocked off and remember to never hang the chocolate decorations. As you know, chocolate is poisonous to dogs.

    Don’t leave presents under the tree – it would be wise to not leave any presents under the tree. You never know what they might be tempted by if you’re not there to supervise. 

    Keep fairy light cables tidy – if you’ve had a puppy, you’ll know how tempting wires can be to them to chew! Keep the cables out of reach from your dog and remember to always switch them off at the mains when they’re not in use to avoid any scary accidents!

    Be careful of any Christmas plants that you may have around the house. There are a few to keep well out of paws reach:

    • Poinsettia
    • Ivy
    • Mistletoe
    • Potpourri
    • Holly

    If any of these plants were eaten by your dog, it could cause extreme illness and definitely a trip to the vet! No one wants that on Christmas Day!

    Christmas food you can share with your dog

    Although there are many foods that your dog shouldn't get over the Christmas period there are some things that you can happily share with your dog to help include them in the festivities:

    • Turkey meat (no skin or bones)
    • Lamb meat (no bones)
    • Salmon (fillets or cooked in spring water)
    • Parsnips
    • Green beans
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Carrots
    • Swede
    • Mashed potato (without butter)
    • New potatoes
    • Sweet potato
    • Peas (small amount)

    As long as your dog isn’t allergic to any of the above ingredients, go for it! Give them a special Christmas meal!

    Be aware, a sudden change in their diet may not agree with some dogs so it’s best to only add these foods as a little treat and not their main meal! 

    Make sure to stick to their usual food routine. Who would want to skip a Marleybones meal anyway? I know my dogs wouldn’t!