#DTipsTips: Avoiding a dog's (Christmas) dinner
As we come closer to Christmas, our Education Officer, Daniel "D-Tips" Tipping shares some of his top tips on keeping your four-legged friends safe this festive period.
Ah, Christmas! For me, a time to spend with loved ones and close friends, for good wine and lots of laughter, and excessive amounts of festive food – particularly dessert. I regret eating too much every year, without fail. I’m sure others can relate. But while some of us may use December 25th as an excuse to eat our favourite foods to excess, that doesn’t mean our pets should, too. In fact, Christmas can be a time filled with hidden hazards for our four-legged friends, with a number of foods being less-than-ideal for them, and others downright dangerous.
While a nibble of turkey (boneless, of course) under the table won’t pose many problems, there are a few foods to be mindful of when dogs and cats are around over the break.
Nothing beats the smell of removing a tray of roasted vegetables from the oven – it’s bound to get even our pets excited! Many vegetables are fine for animals, but others can cause an upset stomach - such as foods from the allium family, including onions, garlic, leeks, and more.
Some nuts, such as peanuts and hazelnuts, shouldn’t cause issues - though for small dogs do pose a choking risk. Others, such as Macadamia nuts, can cause issues similar to chocolate, including lethargy, vomiting, tremors, and an increase in body temperature.
Grapes, Mince Pies, Christmas Pudding…
Most pet owners know the risk grapes pose to pets (particularly when eaten in excess), and it’s speculated that dried grapes (raisins, currants, sultanas) increase the toxicity. Be sure things like mince pies and Christmas puddings are out of reach – particularly the latter, which often contains alcohol.
Chocolate’s an obvious culprit, but many other sweets contain artificial sweeteners that can be lethal to pets. Best to stick to pet-specific foods when it comes to a post-Christmas-dinner sweet treat.
Too much of anything!
More than any other time of year, Christmas often sees our kitchens filled with rich, fatty foods. Too much of anything – particularly foods our pets aren’t used to – can cause an upset stomach. That goes for us, too!
There are other non-edible hazards around at this time of year. In the flurry of excitement that unwrapping presents brings, be sure your pet doesn’t decide to munch on any wrapping paper, packaging, silica gel sachets or similar.
Remember, our pets are naturally curious. They don’t intend to eat things that cause them an upset stomach, they just don’t know better. It’s our responsibility to ensure that harmful foods are out of their reach, and that every member of the family (tails and all) enjoy the Festive season in moderation – even if we sometimes don’t ourselves!