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Five Christmas foods safe to share with your dog and eight to avoid

Tips for looking after your gut health over Christmas

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It’s only natural to want to share the most wonderful time of the year with your favourite pup – and what better way to do so than to allow them to enjoy some of the delicious food adorning our plates this time of year. But sadly, not every bit of the festive tradition is the healthiest for our dogs, so to help avoid Christmas day ending in a trip to the vet, we’ve put together a list of what foods can be happily shared with your dog – and which they should avoid.

What’s safe to share with your dog? 

Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, parsnips, peas and swede are all perfectly healthy for your dog – as long as they are eaten in moderation. If your pet eats too many, they may experience wind or even diarrhoea. As for potatoes, the Christmas staple roasties aren’t an option for your pup, and only mashed or boiled potatoes are safe. Even then, make sure they are given in small portions and without lots of added butter or salt. 

Turkey

The centrepiece for many families across the country is also completely safe to give to your dog. The only issue to be aware of is that it must have no bones, and no skin. Skin is too fatty for your pup to handle, while the bones can cause internal damage if they aren’t removed beforehand. 

Cranberry sauce

It’s totally fine for your dog to indulge in some cranberry sauce, as long as it’s unsweetened, and without any added nuts. Too much could be risky, but a dash of this over a slice of turkey is safe and very tasty for a dog to get their paws on.

Blueberries

This fruit isn’t just a healthy snack for humans – it also works great for dogs, too, who will likely love the sweet taste. Pet food company Purina recommend contacting your vet before introducing blueberries to your dog for an idea of how many of them is suitable. They add that snacks should only make up 10 percent of your dog’s diet.

Prawns

These delicious treats are a staple of any food platter, and have even been used for festive decorations. Luckily, your dog can share them with you, as long as the prawns have been thoroughly cooked, peeled and cleaned to avoid any risk of disease or parts of the prawn that could cause choking and internal damage. You also need to make sure you devein any prawns your dog is going to eat, in the same way as if you were preparing it to eat yourself. 

What foods should be avoided?

The PDSA recommends that if you believe your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, you should contact your vet immediately for an emergency appointment, adding that it’s better not to wait to see if problems develop. The charity also says you shouldn’t try to make your dog vomit unless your vet specifically tells you to do so. To avoid any of these issues, let’s take a look at what would be unsutable to give your dog.

Chocolate

It might be one of our favourites treats at Christmas, but chocolate is highly toxic to dogs – and can even be fatal in small doses. Chocolate contains the chemical theobromine, which when consumed by dogs can cause serious reactions, including agitation, tremors, convulsions, hyperexcitability and even heart problems. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your pet.

Gravy

While dogs would doubtlessly love its flavour, gravy is just too salty and fatty for them to indulge in. It can cause stomach upsets, as well as digestive problems such as sickness and diarrhoea. 

Stuffing

Unfortunately stuffing is packed full of ingredients that are unhealthy for your dog. Onions can be toxic for canines, while some spices and herbs are known to cause an upset stomach for our pets. 

Christmas pudding and mince pies

Currants, sultanas and raisins are all highly toxic for dogs, making these classic Christmas treats something that should be avoided for all dogs. In some cases, if they are digested that can cause severe kidney failure. 

Pigs in blankets

While our furry best friends would doubtless love the chance to scoff some of these Christmas favourites, they are far too high in salt and fat for them to handle. If dogs are going to eat pork products, they need to be a lean cut and thoroughly cooked.

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