I know it can be hard to say no to those puppy dog eyes begging for food, but a trip to an emergency vet is NOT how we want to spend our holidays!!!

Chocolate contains theobromine which can be lethal. The toxicity depends on the cocoa solid content (the darker the more potent), the size of the dog, and how much was ingested. So keep your advent calendar somewhere safe, and any chocolates wrapped under the tree should be kept out of reach, just in case THIS is the year Fido decides to help themself.

Grapes and raisins don’t affect all dogs. But a dog can also eat them a number of times with no effects, then the next time develop acute kidney failure-which can be deadly. Make sure no one sneaks them the leftover pudding or fruitcake.

Australia is the world’s largest producer of Macadamia nuts. Ingesting thesecan cause toxicosis. Symptoms usually start within 12 hours ingestion and can last for around 48 hours. Although uncommon, it can lead to death.

Anything with the sugar substitute Xylitol will cause their pancreas to excrete insulin, dropping their blood sugar to dangerous levels. Liver damage and liver failure are also common, and can occur quickly.

Cooked bones can splinter and get stuck in their gastrointestinal tract. They are also a choking hazard. Take care to keep leftovers somewhere safe as dogs have been known to sneakily get into bins for whatever is left.

Caffeinated drinks can cause heart palpitations, rapid breathing, seizures, internal bleeding, and muscle tremors. In large quantities it can cause death. Keep teas, coffees, colas, cocoa, and energy drinks out of reach.

Dairy products contain lactose, which is a type of sugar. Without the enzyme lactase to digest the lactose, dogs can’t digest anything containing lactose. Most dogs and cats are lactose intolerant, and can end up with vomiting diarrhoea, and gas. Consuming dairy is very unlikely to be deadly, just uncomfortable.

Onions and garlic contain sulphides which can damage red blood cells, leading to anaemia. As blood cells replace themselves constantly, it can be a few days before a problem becomes evident! They can also cause gastric irritation. And once again, the size of the dog is an important factor in how much is a life threatening amount.

Alcohol, this should go without saying, as even small amounts of alcohol can kill a pet or cause liver and brain damage. Make sure you keep your animals away from discarded half empty glasses and spilt drinks. Even some fermented foods can cause damage.

Wrappings. Lolly wrappers, alfoil, tins with food left smeared on them, wax food coverings, toothpicks (can cause punctures!), used paper plates or cutlery, anything covered in food smells really good to dogs. Avoid the choking hazard and intestinal damage and dispose of rubbish securely.

If your dog appears to have ingested something unsafe, run them to the nearest emergency vet.

You can also download this as a PDF here.

Donna Monaghan

Canine Mobility Specialist

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