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Xmas Foods

While you’re busy buzzing around preparing Christmas meals and snacks for family and friends, and placing wrapped presents under the tree, be aware of a few potential dangers for your furry friends.

Dogs can sniff out chocolates very quickly. If you suspect a wrapped gift contains chocolates, keep it out of reach of your dog. Better still, prevent access to the Christmas tree, as chewing on tinsel and lights also can lead to problems.

Also keep an eye on those table scraps. Even though our dogs love variety in their diet, table scraps can contain risks or be toxic for dogs. They digest differently to us (like diesel and un-leaded cars) and, like a moth to a flame, can be attracted to unsafe foods.

Things to avoid feeding your dog include:
  • Onions, garlic, leek, chives, shallots (raw, cooked or powdered, all can cause anaemia)

  • Chocolate: your dog needs to eat a high volume of dark chocolate to risk the effects of vomiting, diarrhoea or seizures, but this site gives you a good guide as to whether to panic or not: Chocolate Toxicity -The Alice Springs Veterinary Hospital

  • Grapes, raisins, dried fruit, so no Christmas pudding!. In some genetically susceptible dogs this can lead to kidney failure

  • Coffee/caffeine (not toxic, just makes them hyper-excitable and erratic)

  • Yeast products?? This is a tricky subject. Many promote nutritional yeast as a healthy supplement of gluthianone (an antioxidant) and Vitamin B (but too much can be a bad thing). Baking and Brewer’s yeast can support bacteria that lead to mycotoxin growth. And raw dough can cause bloat in your dog as well as ethanol toxicity

  • Mushrooms, particularly wild ones such as the death cap (amanita phalloides) which have a fishy odour that makes them attractive to dogs. This is more a winter problem, but Tassie is behaving rather wintry lately

  • Avocado: flesh in small amounts is fine, however the wood, leaves and skin is not safe, and the pit is dangerous in its potential to cause intestinal blockage

  • Citrus: the high acid content can cause vomiting and diarrhoea when eaten in large amounts

  • Apple cores are a potential choke hazard, plus the amygdalin in the pips can turn to cyanide when digested, but a 10kg dog would have to eat 200 cores to be affected

  • Nuts. No to Macadamia nuts- they can cause vomiting, seizures and fever. Other nuts are high in fat or may be heavily spiced or salted and therefore pose risks including pancreatitis, or garlic poisoning. Definitely avoid if your dog has a kidney or heart condition. Most other nuts are safe, except for the potential choking hazard due to their size and shape

  • Chips, crackers, fatty food (pancreatitis)

  • Alcohol

  • Other digestive tract risks: corn cobs, mango and avocado stones, kebab sticks, cooked bones

Artificial sweeteners (Xylitol) can cause potentially fatal low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia). They are often found in:

  • Chewing Gum

  • Peanut Butter

  • Candies

  • Baked Goods

  • Children’s Vitamins

  • Breath Mints

  • Cough Syrup

  • Toothpaste

  • Mouthwash

  • Prescription Medications

  • Sugar Free Snacks



Also, as the kitchen gets busier, remember to maintain good hygiene, especially when storing and handling raw meat. And finally, if transporting food (e.g. a salad or prepared vegetables) to another home, avoid your pets contaminating the food as they can spread undesirable bacteria and parasites.


Simple common sense and good hygiene should get you and your dogs through this wonderfully social and celebratory season!

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