Don’t Kill Your Dog With Kindness! 13 Foods That Aren’t Suitable for Dogs
Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends, so naturally, we want to include our animal companions in the festivities. But it’s important to avoid sharing certain foods and drinks with dogs, as they can be dangerous to their health. In addition to the following foods, pre-prepared or cooked dishes shouldn’t be fed to your companion, as ingredients and recipes vary widely – and they could make it an unhappy holiday for your best friend.
- AlcoholJust as with humans, alcohol can affect the livers and brains of dogs. Just a small amount can cause serious damage and lead to respiratory distress, tremors, a coma or death. It’s best to save alcohol for the humans wishing to get merry this Christmas.
- CaffeineAny foods and drinks that contain coffee, tea or chocolate can be fatal to dogs because of the caffeine. Watch out for this ingredient in many festive foodstuffs.
- SweetsAs you might expect, sweets are bad for dogs because of all the sugar. But you might not be aware that a common sweetener called xylitol, which can be found in many sweets, can lead to liver failure in dogs.
- ChocolateIt’s well known that chocolate can be extremely poisonous or even fatal if ingested by dogs. The danger lies in the caffeine and theobromine in this popular Christmas food.
- Dairy FoodsDairy foods are bad not only for humans but also for our animal companions. They can cause diarrhoea and other digestive disturbances as well as allergic reactions in dogs, so keep any foods containing dairy ingredients away from your canine companion.
- EggnogThis traditional American Christmas drink has gained popularity in the UK, but it’s bad for the health of humans and animals alike. It’s made with raw eggs, alcohol and milk – and is loaded with fat and sugar. None of these ingredients is suitable for dogs, so please keep this drink away from them.
- Garlic, Onions and ChivesIt’s easy to miss these ingredients, as they’re included fresh, cooked or powdered in many pre-packaged foods as well as festive recipes. Watch out for dishes such as stuffing and mashed potatoes, which may contain these foods that can cause blood cell damage and anaemia in dogs.
- Ham and BaconIf anyone will be eating meat at your Christmas dinner table, make sure no one is tempted to give scraps of pork products to your beloved animal companion. Pork can cause pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening disease.
- NutmegThis festive spice is popular in sweet Christmas treats like biscuits and gingerbread. Large amounts of it can be toxic to dogs, causing hallucinations, stomach pain and possibly even seizures. Don’t give your pup any baked goods or other dishes that could contain nutmeg or other spices.
- NutsNuts can cause stomach upset and other health complaints because of the extremely high fat content and other substances they may contain. In particular, watch out for macadamia nuts, as ingesting even small amounts can cause vomiting, tremors, paralysis, rapid heartbeat and other complications in dogs.
- Raisins and GrapesFruitcakes like Christmas pudding are one holiday offering likely to contain fresh or dried grapes. Even a few of these fruits can cause rapid kidney failure in some dogs. Even if there is loads of Christmas pudding left, don’t think you can give the leftovers to your dog!
- Salt and SugarIt’s easy to forget the high levels of salt and sugar in our holiday foods. Be aware that if a dog ingests too much, these ingredients can cause excessive thirst, frequent urination or worse. This is something to be aware of if your animal companion has underlying kidney or cardiovascular conditions. The sugar found in most holiday desserts can lead to cavities, obesity and even diabetes. It’s also bad for dogs with arthritis.
- Turkey BonesIf you’re visiting meat-eating family or friends this Christmas, make sure they don’t give turkey or other animal bones to your companion, as cooked bones can perforate the intestines, requiring surgery.
There are lots of foods that aren’t suitable for dogs over the holidays or at any other time of year, but dogs can still join in all the Christmas fun. Some festive foods they may enjoy include cooked sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, raw vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots, steamed greens and raw fruits like cranberries, bananas and apples. If you love your dog, why not extend your compassion and keep animals off the dinner table entirely?