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.