Christmas is a time when we all eat foods that we may not have at other times of the year – and of course most of us eat far more than we should.
Even so, we always have at least some left-overs, and the most obvious thing to do is to feed them to our dogs - and why not? Why shouldn't our pets have a treat at Christmas-time as well?
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Problems can arise, though, if we feed our dogs foods that are not good – or downright dangerous for them.
Take the traditional Christmas dinner:
Roast Turkey – If you dog gets hold of cooked poultry bones they can splinter and choke him. Go through the meat and pick out any bones, and remove any seasoned skin (salt is not good for him either.)
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Pork and Ham – This is OK in small quantities, with excess fat removed (too much fat can affect his pancreas.) Processed meats also contain too much salt and can give your dog diarrhea.
Gravy – Also OK in small amounts if not too salted or spiced.
Vegetables – Leave out the corn on the cob (can get stuck in his intestine,) the onion (poisonous to dogs) and raw or under-cooked potatoes. Anything else should be fine.
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Cakes, sweets, confectionery – Dogs shouldn't eat sugar, because just like us they can experience tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.
Dairy – No custards or sauces, perhaps a minimal taste of plain cheese, but otherwise a no-no.
Bread – Small amounts are fine, but too much will give your dog flatulence – and there will already be enough of that after dinner!
Fruits – Leave out the stone fruits, apple cores (the rest of the apple is fine), avocados, figs, grapes and sultanas/raisins.
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Nuts – Keep walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and macadamias away from your dog. Peanuts and cashews – not the salted kind are actually good for him in small amounts.
The best way to avoid problems is to arrange to collect all leftovers and go through them before feeding to your dog. Discourage visitors from feeding him tid-bits, and keep the treats up out of his reach. This should ensure a happy and festive Christmas dinner for all.