The Naughties and Nices of Christmas Leftovers
We certainly agree with the old saying that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Gifts, family gatherings, time off work… what's not to love?
Arguably one of the best parts of the arrival of the festive season is the delectable array of food that often comes with it. We're talking Christmas ham, boxes of assorted chocolates (looking at you Roses), turkey, prawns, pavlova and the list goes on.
And this abundance of delicious food often means that after Christmas has ended, you're left with a jam-packed fridge full of tasty leftovers. Now, while it might be tempting to share some of these scrumptious scraps with your furry friends, it's important to remember that not all leftovers automatically become dog treats. Several of these items can harm your pooch if they get their paws on them.
So in true Christmas fashion, we thought we'd develop a 'Naughty' and a 'Nice' list to help clarify what foods are safe for your pup to eat and what foods they should avoid to keep them happy and healthy this holiday season.
The Naughty List
Food that dogs CAN NOT eat.
Let's start with probably the most obvious and equally most dangerous… chocolate. Despite being a favoured festive treat among humans, chocolate poses a real safety threat to our dogs. This is because chocolate contains a chemical compound known as theobromine that can be fatal if ingested (depending on the size of your dog and the colour of the chocolate). As a general rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity. So this Christmas, make sure you keep those advent calendars and boxes of Favourites well out of your dogs' reach.
While you probably think that your four-legged friend would love to chomp on that big bone that came with the Christmas ham, this is actually another food you should avoid feeding your pup.
Cooked bones - whether baked, boiled, steamed, fried or smoked - are very dangerous to dogs, as they become brittle during the cooking process. This means they can easily splinter when chewed by a pup, creating jagged pieces of bone that become choking hazards or cause severe internal damage if swallowed. Therefore, if you want to spoil your furry friend with a bone this Christmas, ensure it is raw and removed from the meat BEFORE the cooking process.
Grapes and Raisins
While grapes are often a staple food item on any cheese board, they can cause quite a lot of trouble for dogs. Even though they are a healthy fruit for us humans, all varieties of grapes are toxic to dogs and should never be fed to them because they can cause serious kidney damage that can lead to acute kidney failure (which can have fatal consequences).
Additionally, since raisins are just dried grapes, they have the same toxic effect and should not be fed to your dog. This means that any classic Christmas treats containing raisins, such as Christmas pudding and mince pies, should be carefully stored out of your dog's reach, as they contain dangerous levels of this toxic food.
Although not all nuts are toxic to dogs (unsalted peanuts and cashews are generally safe), ensure you keep macadamia nuts away from your dog's paws. Ingesting even small amounts of these nuts has been known to cause severe symptoms such as wobbly legs and stiffness, vomiting, fevers and seizures among dogs.
Cheese boards have recently become quite the hit at social gatherings because, let's face it, who doesn't love cheese? And it's no secret that most dogs also love cheese. Luckily, they can safely consume particular varieties, such as cheddar and mozzarella, in limited quantities.
However, some of the fancier blue cheeses you may have also included on your board, such as stilton and Roquefort, should be avoided by your dog due to a fungus called Roquefortine C.
Dogs are sensitive to this substance commonly used to make blue cheeses, and feeding it to them can cause vomiting, high temperatures, diarrhoea and, in serious cases, even seizures. So make sure if you are treating your dog to some cheesy leftovers this Christmas to avoid blue cheese and opt for small amounts of low-fat cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella and cottage cheese.
The Nice List
Food that dogs CAN eat.
Leftover cooked beef/chicken/turkey – deboned
If your pup is typically a meat-eater and you have the leftovers of an epic Christmas roast sitting in your fridge, feel free to feed them a small amount of deboned and shredded, fat removed and skinless chicken, turkey or beef. These meats can be safe for dogs to eat, just ensure that you're feeding them ONLY the meat and avoiding extras like stuffing (as this can contain onion which is not safe for dogs to consume).
Vegetables such as carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potato, and pumpkin are nutritious and healthy leftovers to feed your dog. Therefore, they are another safe option to feed your pup - just make sure you avoid feeding them any veggies that have been cooked with additional salt.
Another great leftover option that makes for a nice dog treat is fruit. If you find you've got leftover fruit from your cheese board or some extra berries leftover after you've decorated your pav, small amounts of fruit such as watermelon, apples, oranges, bananas and blueberries can make for a nice sweet, healthy snack for your pooch. Just ensure before feeding that you remove all the seeds from the pieces you intend to feed your dog and AVOID stone fruits.
So that's our short list of all the Christmas foods you should and should not treat your pup to this holiday season. And with this, we'd like to give a final reminder of the importance of feeding human food to dogs in moderation. Too much of any new food, harmful or not, can upset your dog's stomach - so moderation is the key. Remember, Christmas is a time that should be spent enjoying extra time with loved ones, so it's super important to make sure we're keeping all our friends (furry and not) safe these holidays. Always consult your local vet regarding your dogs' diet if ever unsure.
Merry Christmas from the Petsypoles Team x