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Give your dog the best nutrition you can this Christmas

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As we prepare for Christmas, it’s important that we remember to keep our pets safe during the festive period. Indulgent human food can be toxic for our four-legged friends, so while we may think a bone or gravy may be a special treat, it could have serious consequences for the health of our dogs.

To help maintain all-round wellbeing, dogs require a diet that provides digestible ingredients, such as protein from chicken, turkey, lamb or fish as well as fats for a healthy coat, carbohydrates for energy, moderately fermentable fibres to aid digestion and vitamins and minerals for total body support. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E and certain compounds called carotenoids (like Beta-carotene) in a dog’s diet can help support the immune system.

To ensure you keep your pet safe this Christmas, Eukanuba’s veterinary expert Kellie Ceccarelli shares her advice on what food types to keep away from your furry friends over the holidays.

Bones
If you enjoy a roast turkey for your Christmas dinner you will be left with bones. Try to ignore the temptation to give them to your dog for a tasty chew. While some dogs eat bones and remain unharmed others aren’t so lucky. Bones can be dangerous and contrary to popular belief do not clean teeth. In fact they can cause painful trauma to gums, get lodged in the roof of the mouth, throat, stomach, intestine and rectum which sometimes requires emergency surgical intervention.

Chocolate
Chocolate will not only add to your dog’s waistline but it can be toxic as it contains “theobromine”. When eaten in large quantities, particularly chocolate which contains high cocoa levels, it can be life threatening.

Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs so should be kept out of reach from your pets as well as any Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and biscuits containing raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, hyperactivity, diarrhoea, anorexia (loss of appetite), and lethargy and ultimately can cause kidney failure.

Alcohol
Alcohol should never be fed to dogs as they are much smaller to humans and therefore more susceptible to intoxication. Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of coordination, poor breathing, coma and possibly death.

Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic will appeal to a dog’s strong sense of smell but don’t give in to any begging, as not only will it cause bad breath but consuming large quantities can be toxic causing a break-down of red blood cells (haemolytic anaemia). In severe cases this can be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts
We’ll often leave some roasted nuts out for nibbling on around Christmas but if you have a dog be sure to keep the macadamia nuts well out of its reach. They can cause weakness, panting and swollen limbs. Be careful not to feed cookies and biscuits to your dogs too as these can also contain macadamia nuts.

Eggnog
Eggnog contains a lot of raw egg and although cooked eggs are an excellent source of protein, raw eggs should not be fed to dogs as they can cause bacterial contamination. Raw egg (particularly egg white) can also cause a vitamin B deficiency (Biotin) leading to scaly skin, hair loss, diarrhoea and anorexia. Eggnog also contains a little alcohol (or a lot depending on who’s making it) which can also cause problems.

The best nutrition for your dog

To help maintain all-round wellbeing, give your dog a complete and nutritional diet appropriate for their breed and life stage.

Kellie explains, "During Christmas it can be easy for pet owners to get carried away in the festivities and share food with their animals but it’s really important that you remember to keep your treats out of reach as however much pets appear to enjoy human food it can have a fatal effect.

"For those who want to treat their animals this year, give them a nutritionally balanced diet that provides digestible ingredients. Eukanuba’s Healthy Extra Biscuits are a great treat for your dog’s Christmas stocking."

Eukanuba Healthy Biscuits are available in 200g bags for Puppy, Adult and Senior from £2.99 at leading pet shops nationwide. For more information on Eukanuba’s pet food range please visit www.eukanuba.co.uk or www.facebook.com/Eukanuba.

This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.

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