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What (not!) to feed your dog this Christmas


Christmas time is a fun time for your dog and if you’re a new adopter, or this is your first Christmas with your furry friend, it’s a very special time to enjoy lots of cuddles, toys and treats.


The problem is that some of the human ‘treats’ that smell so good to your dog can make him or her very ill and can, potentially, be fatal. So, it’s worth reminding ourselves of some Christmassy foods that should never be given to dogs – ‘counter-surfers’ are particularly worth careful watching at this time of year!


#1 Raisins and Grapes – All those Mince pies, Stollen, Panettone and Christmas Cake are delicious but raisins, sultanas and grapes are all highly toxic to dogs and can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure.


#2 Chocolate – Humans love it! So, there’s generally a lot of it around at Christmas time but chocolate contains Theobromine and the darker the chocolate, the more Theobromine it contains. Unfortunately, dogs can’t process this stimulant which is why it can cause kidney failure and can be fatal.


#3 Onions and Garlic – In fact anything from the Allium family, cooked or uncooked, is poisonous to dogs as it contains a compound that destroys their red blood cells and can cause extreme anaemia. Keep a look out for onion powder lurking in the ingredients list of products where you might not expect to find it.


#4 Xylitol – This artificial sweetener is being used in an increasing number of products including peanut butter, jams, yogurt and, yes…chocolate! In both humans and dogs, it releases insulin but in dogs it can cause hypoglycaemia and blood clotting.


#5 Alcohol – Dogs can’t process alcohol efficiently and even a small amount can lead to intoxication, vomiting, diarrhoea and irreversible damage to their central nervous system. It’s worth remembering that alcohol is also used in many household products, such as mouthwash, too.

But these are only a few of the foods that can be fatal to dogs, others include Macadamia Nuts, Avocados and Caffeine. If you’d like to know more about how to keep your dog safe, the PDSA have a useful page on their website explaining more about poisons and hazards.


If you suspect your furry pal has consumed any of these, you should call your Vet immediately and seek their advice, but sometimes it can be a day or two before the effects show up so if you notice some missing treats followed by any of the following symptoms:


Continuous vomiting and/or diarrhoea

Lethargy or collapse

Reduced appetite

Pale gums

Elevated heart rate and/or panting (without exercise)

Red or brown urine

Blood in their poo


Please take them straight to the Vet as they may require specialist care and support.


From all of us at RATS, please keep your doggies safe this Christmas but equally importantly, have a wonderful time :-)

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