Christmas is a lovely time of year and one that lots of us particularly enjoy for the food, whether we admit to this openly or not! There are few things that dogs enjoy more at any time of the year than food too, and so our interests intersect quite neatly during December in that respect.
During the festive season, a lot of us are apt to overeat, eat things we wouldn’t normally allow ourselves to have, and generally be much less controlled around food than normal.
On the subject of control around food, whilst ours might slip somewhat at Christmas, self-control around food is something few dogs tend to exhibit at any time of the year! They are also very opportunistic and often, lightening-fast about eating things when the chance arises, and the consternation and shouting of their owners when this happens tends to be read as a cue to eat it faster, rather than to stop.
Coupled with this, us dog owners invariably have a lot going on at Christmas, both in terms of the season’s practicalities and also enjoying ourselves along with everyone else. Between the sheer quantity and range of food we have around and a level of distraction that might mean our eyes aren’t on the dog as much as possible at the same time as our dog’s eyes are firmly fixed on all that food, Christmas can be a dangerous time for dogs when it comes to eating things they shouldn’t have.
A wide range of Christmas foods are toxic or poisonous to dogs, and in fact most Christmas food is bad for your dog to some degree, even if it is only because it is so fatty, sugary or sweet. However, there is a sliding scale in terms of how dangerous different Christmas foods are to dogs, ranging from those that might give your dog a mild stomach upset if that, through to those that could potentially kill them outright.
Additionally, not all foods that are potentially very poisonous to dogs are foods that dogs would tend to particularly go out of their way to eat; although you really never can be too careful in that regards, as some dogs will eat almost literally anything. Finally, the availability of food has to be factored in too; if something is very toxic and also appealing to a dog but the average household doesn’t have it around or eat it at Christmas, it is unlikely to be a problem for many dogs.
This means that the most dangerous Christmas foods for dogs are those that combine three specific traits:
Using these three factors as our benchmark, this article will tell you the five potentially most dangerous Christmas foods for dogs.
Chocolate is something we enjoy all year round, but at Christmas is becomes one of our staple foodstuffs and something we’re highly likely to eat a large amount of.
Chocolate toxicity and chocolate ingestion is actually the number one reason for dogs needing veterinary treatment around Christmas overall! So, what makes chocolate such a big danger to dogs at Christmas?
Most people enjoy mince pies, although some people have very strong opinions to the contrary! What goes into the average mince pie can be really variable even between store-bought brands, but when you factor in homemade mince pies too, the potential ingredients list that is harmful to dogs gets much longer.
Some of the things that might be in mince pies that are dangerous to dogs include alcohol, macadamia nuts, sultanas, and raisins.
Why are mince pies so dangerous to dogs at Christmas?
If you’re thinking of scraping the remains of your Christmas dinner into your dog’s bowl, think again! You should be very speculative if you’re planning to give your dog their own carefully planned mini portion of your Christmas roast, but never give them the scraps.
Whilst on the surface of it meat, veg and gravy are dog-safe (if rich), it is the hidden ingredients that pose a problem for dogs at Christmas. These include onion or garlic, all widely used as part of gravy, stuffing and basting, potentially sultanas or raisins in the stuffing, and a range of other unknowns too.
Why are scraps from your roast such a danger to your dog at Christmas?
Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are two very different foodstuffs, and often people who love one of them will be ambivalent about the other! However, both such foods contain a number of common ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including sultanas and raisins, potentially macadamia nuts, potentially alcohol, and even maybe a coin in the case of the pudding if you’re making a traditional one at home!
So, what causes Christmas cake and Christmas pudding to be a Christmas danger for your dog?
Finally, turkey bones and the carcass from the roast; or if you eat other birds such as goose, duck, chicken and so on instead or as well, these can be a real hazard for your dog.
Any type of bone not designed for and prepared especially to be safe for your dog is a potential danger, but the bones of birds are fine and sharp and once cooked, very brittle. This means they can cut or puncture your dog’s mouth or the roof of their mouth, as well as splintering internally and causing lethal perforations.
So, what makes turkey carcasses from the Christmas roast dangerous to your dog?