Christmas leftovers for pets – Do’s and Don’ts

Christmas is a time of sharing but when it comes to our dogs, sharing the wrong types of tidbits and leftovers can do an awful lot more harm than good so make sure you and your family know which foods can and cannot be fed to your furry friends this festive season.

DON’TS

There are actually a surprising number of festive foods that can be very harmful or even life threatening if your dog gets hold of them. With these foods it’s not only important to keep them out of the dog bowl but to also to ensure that they are stored securely and always kept well out of the reach of any pets.

The top foods to keep away from your dogs are:

• Chocolate

• Grapes and raisins (so no Christmas pudding, mince pies etc)

• Onions, leek and garlic (so no stuffing)

• Cooked bones

• Macadamia nuts

• Xylotol (which is found in a lot of candies)

All of the above can cause major health problems so if you suspect that your dog has eaten any, be sure to contact your vet right away. Gravy, turkey/chicken skin and foods like custard should also be avoided as they contain very high levels of salt, fat and/or sugar which can all be harmful if eaten in excess.

DO’S

But it’s not all bah humbug! There are also a whole host of festive foods that both yummy and healthy for our dogs so as long as you exercise a little caution there’s no reason our dogs can’t enjoy Christmas dinner as much as we do.

Some examples of leftover with nutritional benefits include:

• Pretty much any meat or fish (take care to remove any bones from cooked meats and sharp bones from fish)

• Cooked vegetables like carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, runner beans, swede, peas are all packed with beneficial nutrients for our four legged friends.

• And top it all off with a little leftover cranberry sauce for those c-vitamins! Yummy!

DON’T over do it

However, take care not to go overboard. Too much of any food, even the healthy ones listed above, can cause upsets so whatever leftovers you have, be sure to feed them in moderation, adding a small amount to each meal rather than a large portion all at once.

As a general rule, try not to feed more than 10-15% of your pet’s daily ration as leftovers, treats or other additions and when you do, make sure you offset it with a similar reduction of the normal food to prevent overloading the system.

Wishing you and your pets a safe and very Merry Christmas!

Author: David Jackson, All About Dog Food

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