The Naughty & Nice List:
Festive Treats For Your Furry Friend
By Taya Hosking - 08/11/22
The Foods You Can & Can't Share This Holiday Season
It’s a common fact that dogs shouldn’t consume chocolate,
a treat that is certainly in abundance over the holiday season.
However, do you know the reason why chocolate can be harmful to them?
Are you aware of other foods that can cause disruption to them?
Well in today’s blog we’ll go into detail about which scraps from Christmas dinner are okay to share with them,
and which you should steer clear of.
The Naughty List
Although a tasty treat for humans, chocolate can be a very toxic food for dogs. Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of the plant Theobroma cacao, which contains theobromine and caffeine (Finlay & Guiton, 2005). Whilst humans can easily digest and excrete these two components, it is a much slower process in dogs. Theobromine is an alkaloid which affects the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and can have a number of effects on the body.
Depending on the size of your dog will depend on how quickly they are affected by the consumption of theobromine.
According to statistics though, it is reported that the lethal dose of theobromine is 100-500 mg/kg of body weight (approximately 100mg for smaller dogs, 500 for large dogs) (Finlay & Gution, 2005).
It is important to note that not all types of chocolate contain the same amount of theobromine.
For example, pure cocoa powder and plain chocolate (dark) will contain higher amounts than milk and white chocolate, as the concentrations are different due to the quality.
Therefore, a dog that consumes dark chocolate will be more likely to be affected than if they were to consume white chocolate.
Signs That Indicate Poisoning
Signs that indicate a dog may have ingested chocolate include:
- Haematemesis (vomiting blood)
- Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
- Ataxia (muscle spasms or twitching)
- Excessive urination Increased heart rate (leading to hyperactivity, restlessness, excitement)
*if you believe your dog is suffering from chocolate poisoning, we would recommend taking them to your local veterinarian immediately*
Ham & Bacon
Pork may be part of your roast dinner on Christmas, however unfortunately you shouldn’t incorporate it into your dog’s dinner.
Although a small scrap off the floor won’t cause harm, consuming a large amount of pork meat such as bacon can cause gastrointestinal upset to dogs.
This is due to the high fat content of the meat.
This means that dogs which consume bacon regularly may actually develop a condition called pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the pancreas due to digestive enzymes attacking the pancreas (due to breaking down excessive fat).
Onions & Garlic
Onion and garlic may be two of the go to seasonings for all meals cooked around the festive season, however for dogs they can be anything but good.
Both onions and garlic are part of the allium family, meaning they can be harmful to your dog due to the toxins in them.
Alliums can damage the membranes of red blood cells, meaning that the cell is more fragile. Red blood cells are vital to carrying oxygen around the body, and therefore when these cells are damaged, organs can become deprived of oxygen.
As well as this, anaemia (low red blood cells count) can result in other health implications such as elevated respiratory rate, heart rate and kidney damage (Schmid, 2022).
Therefore, it’s important to steer clear of sharing the roast vegetables which are seasoned with garlic and onion.
Raisins & Grapes
A common ingredient in Christmas pudding, grapes should not be shared with dogs in any form eg. raisins. This is because grapes contain tartaric acid, an ingredient which is toxic to dogs.Depending on the ripeness and the region that the grape originates from, will depend on the level of the tartaric acid in them.
Regardless, it’s worth not to risk it as ingesting grapes has been linked to acute renal failure.
Signs of toxicity usually occur within the first 24 hours of ingestion and include:
- Lack of appetite
The Nice List
We’ve covered all of the goodies on the naughty list for your dog, however what about the nice list? Well there are a number of tasty treats that you can still share with your pet to get them into the Christmas spirit.
You may already incorporate carrots into your dog’s dinner, however if you don’t, now’s the time. Carrots are high in soluble fibre, meaning they can assist digestion in dogs which have troublesome bowel movements such as those who suffer from loose stools or constipation.
Just one carrot contains approximately 1.5 grams of fibre! Not only are they good for digestion, but they also contain Vitamin A, a vitamin essential to your dog’s health.
It supports eye health, immune system and assists in a healthy coat and skin. And finally, carrots are great for dental health too!
Carrots assist in scraping the teeth and preventing the buildup of plaque.
As we all know, we can’t exactly clean the teeth of a dog like we do our own, so finding alternatives that can assist is an important way to support their dental health.
A tasty vegetable that is often part of dinners during the festive season, sweet potatoes are also a great source of dietary fibre and vitamins.
This assists the overall health of the digestive tract as fibre is important for maintaining regular bowel movements.
Vitamins in sweet potatoes include Vitamin A, which is essential for all parts of the body including the eyes, muscles and nerves.
Vitamin C is also high in sweet potatoes and is a key component for supporting a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that dogs supplemented with vitamin C have a higher chance of recovery from injuries and illness when they occur (Anastasio, 2021).
Just don’t forget that sweet potatoes should be fed plain, with no seasoning such as garlic and onion as we know how harmful these can be to dogs when ingested!
If you are enjoying a roast chicken or turkey during the festive season, it is safe to share some with your pet too. Just ensure that there are no bones or skin on the pieces before feeding.
This is because the skin can contain high amounts of fat and cause upset to their gastrointestinal tract. Bones should also be removed as they can cause intestinal blockages, choking and damage to the intestinal lining.
As well as this, the meat should be cooked, unless your pet is already consuming a raw diet. This is because adding the addition of raw meat into their diet suddenly can cause disruption.
And remember, steer clear of seasoning!
Festive Treat Ideas
Why not share the love this season and create a puppy friendly treat for your pet?
Here’s some of our favourite festive season treats, inspired by Rover.
This recipe is perfect for those hot summer days when you want something to keep your pet occupied for a few seconds, whilst you brush out the mats in their fur from the swim at the beach!
Sweet Potato Casserole
If you want to get super creative and create an entire casserole for your pet, this is the recipe for you. Plus it’s a super easy dish to mix our Gut & Immunity Supplement into and make it a bacon and potato dish!