While Christmas is a time when many of us enjoy eating too much, there are a number of festive foods that you shouldn’t let your dog indulge in.
Certain food items can be toxic for dogs, so it’s important not to leave certain leftovers lying around or give them to your pets as a special treat.
We list some of the popular Christmas foods you should avoid sharing with your dog – and a few they can enjoy too!
Chocolate is a big no-no for dogs and is one of the most common reasons people need to make an emergency visit to the vet over the Christmas break. Certain dogs can find the smell and taste of chocolate quite irresistible, however, it can make your pet very ill. Exactly how unwell they will get depends on the type and quantity eaten compared to their body weight but eating chocolate can prove fatal for some dogs without treatment. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning typically appear 6-12 hours after ingestion and can include vomiting, upset stomach, muscle twitching, drinking a lot and dribbling.
Christmas cake (plus grapes, raisins and sultanas)
Grapes, raisins and sultanas (or food containing these fruits such as Christmas cake) can make some dogs quite ill. The reason for this is unknown, however, these items can damage their kidneys.
Candy canes and other lollies containing xylitol
Keep the candy canes out of reach, as the artificial sweetener in these irresistible treats will make your pup very sick. Lots of other lollies also contain xylitol, so make sure they are safely stored so your dog can’t get to them. Key symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, lethargy and wobbliness.
The cellophane wrappers on candy canes and other sweets can also prove hazardous and cause an intestinal blockage.
Macadamias and walnuts
Macadamias and walnuts are also toxic for dogs. Walnuts are hard for dogs to digest, as well as contain a toxin that can cause seizures. Macadamias can be highly toxic even in small doses and can cause lethargy, weakness, tremors and vomiting.
Onions and garlic
While it’s unlikely that your pooch is going to want to munch on an onion or some garlic, many of our favourite accompaniments for a Christmas meal contain these two items (such as gravy and stuffing). Onions and garlic (fresh, cooked and in powdered form) can damage your dog’s red blood cells, which will lead to symptoms including lethargy, weakness and pale gums.
While raw bones are a great way to help naturally clean your dog’s teeth, cooked bones can be quite dangerous. When bones are cooked, they can splinter easily, which can damage your dog’s insides when eaten.
Foods you CAN share with your pets at Christmas
There is still a wide range of festive foods you can share with your cat or dog and make them feel included in your celebrations. These include:
- Small amounts of lean meat (such as ham, chicken or turkey)
- Pumpkin or sweet potato
- Green beans or broccoli
- Carrots (cooked or raw)
- Fruit such as apples, blueberries or watermelon
What to do if your dog eats something they shouldn’t have
If you’re concerned that your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, then it’s important to contact your vet. They can advise if you need to come in straight away or may advise the symptoms to look out for. If your pet is unwell or displaying any unusual behaviour, it is important to take them straight to a vet for an examination and treatment.
Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital opening hours over the Christmas break
This year we will be open across the whole break, except for Christmas Day, and will operate with reduced hours (9am – 2pm) on certain days. If you have any concerns about your pet over the Christmas period, please call us on 03 9555 4808. In an after-hours emergency, please contact an emergency vet.