Foods for Your Dog to Avoid at Christmas

Christmas is a time when we can give dogs foods that can be harmful. Here’s what to know to avoid creating health problems for your dog.

Christmas can be a particularly hazardous time for dogs. It is a time when we tend to consume foods we don’t eat any other time of year, and if some of these find their way into our dog’s digestive system they can cause some quite severe health problems. The other thing which can make things worse is that, being a time when we socialize with friends and family more than usual, it can be other people who unwittingly feed dogs things they weren’t designed to eat. It is no wonder that health problems with dogs occur at Christmas more than at any other time of the year.

The first thing to realize is that dogs have very different digestive systems to humans. Their digestive tract is short and wide, meaning they are designed to have food pass through quickly. Anything that they cannot digest quite rapidly may cause a problem.

The amount of food a dog can digest is also a lot less than a human. It is of course obvious that dogs are smaller than humans (usually!) and so the size of their stomach is much smaller. Most people overfeed their dog at the best of times but at Christmas – with the amount of extra food on offer – it is more tempting than ever to give the dog scraps from the table.

Just remember that table scraps are never a good idea for a dog. Human food is entirely unsuitable, and feeding scraps is one of the main causes of obesity in dogs. Don’t feed your dog bits from your table and make sure your guests know that you don’t want them to do that either. Your dog will be perfectly happy without the extra food. You also don’t want your dog to get into the habit of begging either.

If you make it a rule not to feed your dog any human food it will be easier to steer clear of any food related health problems. Be aware, however, that some foods are also harmful to dogs. Some can even be fatal, even in small doses. The worst include chocolate, alcohol, grapes and raisins, fruit pips and avocado.

Of course all of the above are what we tend to favor at Christmas. Take extra care not to leave any of these foods within reach of your dog. Christmas is a time for fun with all your family, including your pets. Keep a watchful eye on what your dog eats and have a safe and happy time.

Christmas Wishes

Just wanted to wish you and your family the very best for a great Christmas. We really appreciate your support this year in helping us to make Pro Pac a great success.

Remember, if you need more before Christmas there is still time to order and have it delivered. We will also be open throughout the holiday period. Our warehouse will be closed for deliveries on the statutory holiday days only.

Again, thanks [!name!] and have a lovely Christmas. Give your pet an extra hug from us!

Dealing With Food Allergies in Dogs

scratching dog
Photo courtesy of Beatrice Murch

Does your dog appear to be allergic to its food? Here are some things to help you deal with allergy problems in dogs.

Food allergies are a relatively common problem in dogs. If a dog is allergic to one or more ingredients in food, some of the most common symptoms it will display include:

  • scratching, biting or excessive licking of its paws or skin;
  • rashes, redness or other skin irritations.

If your dog is displaying some of these symptoms then you should definitely consider it as a reaction to something in its food and there are several things you can do. Firstly, it is important to realize that it could be an allergic response to something other than the food. Other causes that are also common include fleas and ticks, medications and even irritations from grasses and plants (the latter are especially common on springtime). So don’t automatically assume it is the food.

However, if you do think it is the dog food that might be causing the allergy, the first thing you need to do is to look at what you are feeding. If you are using a commercial food, look carefully at the ingredients on the product’s packaging. Ingredients that most often cause allergic reactions and other problems in dogs are: beef, wheat, dairy, soy. Also, anything artificial in the food such as flavorings, colorings or preservatives.

All of these are known to create allergies in dogs. Many people are surprised to learn that beef is actually one of the most common culprits. Your dog may also have a sensitivity to some grains, such as corn, although this is somewhat less common.

If the food you are feeding contains any of these ingredients then you should immediately suspect it as a possible cause. Try feeding your dog a food without any of these problematic ingredients. There are many good brands on the market and they are not necessarily expensive. You will also find that a better quality food works out to be quite economical; while the initial outlay for a bag may be more, you will find you don’t need to feed as much (there are fewer fillers). You will also have fewer expensive visits to the vet!

Try your dog on the new food for at least six weeks to judge if there is an improvement. Of course if your dog’s symptoms get significantly worse then you should stop immediately.

Finding the true cause of a food allergy in your dog is something of a process of elimination. However, by eliminating the most common ingredients that are known to cause allergic problems you can speed up the process considerably.