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Christmas is a time for fun, family and…overindulgence?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this may include our pets too, and, like us, they can suffer digestive problems. The veterinary team at raw dog food manufacturer Natures Menu have pulled together their top tips to have a healthy, happy canine Christmas this year.

The Christmas Dinner

In a survey of 1000 British dog owners, over half said they feel their own dog physically looks away or pretends it wasn’t them when they get a bit windy, but flatulence can be just one side effect of a bad diet. Other key symptoms including an upset tummy and runny stools.

Although Christmas can be a tempting time to feed your beloved animals extra treats under the table, it is worth bearing in mind that food items such as stuffing, onion, garlic and herbs, and raisins (so no Christmas pudding or mince pies) can be particularly dangerous for your dog, not just resulting in an upset stomach, but potentially serious digestive issues too. A treat of ‘human’ Christmas dinner leftovers may also cause problems with the pancreas due to excessive fat consumption and you should avoid giving your dog any leftover cooked turkey or chicken bones as they can splinter and cause serious damage to the digestive tract.

Not so tasty treats

It is widely known that chocolate is toxic to dogs and owners shouldn’t knowingly be giving it to their pets. However, with Christmas stockings containing tasty treats and selection boxes often left lying around, they can sometimes get their paws on something that they shouldn’t. It’s important to keep chocolate in cupboards, or eat it yourself! Get in some non-sugar based natural treats such as bones and meat chunks; Natures Menu offers a selection including raw beef ribs and marrowbones.

Watch the wrapping

Easier said than done, but tinsel, baubles, balloons, wrapping paper and Christmas lights should be kept out of the reach of our four-legged family members to avoid any potential chocking hazards or nasty shocks, especially with younger, more playful animals. Never leave them unattended around a Christmas tree!

Doggy-clause 

If you want to dress your pet up, try it on before Christmas day to ensure your pet is comfortable.  If they show any signs of distress whilst wearing it, remove it and accept your pet does not want to join in the celebrations… dressed as a four-legged elf!

Natures Menu Veterinary Nurse, Mel Sainsbury, explains why it is important to keep these helpful tips in mind during the festive period, “Whilst Christmas and New Year can be a great time of parties, it can also pose many risks to our pets. With food left out and eye-catching decorations that spark curiosity in even the best-behaved animals, pet parents need to be more cautious than usual.

“Try to keep some consistency over the festive period. Forget giving pets food from the table and treats; stick with a nutritionally balanced natural diet high in quality meat content, which can make an extraordinary difference to the health and wellbeing of cats and dogs.

“Hopefully you won’t, but if you do have any serious concerns around the festive period, call your vet immediately and they will be able to tell you what steps to take next.”

The research also showed that 37 per cent of British dog owners aren’t aware what a healthy poo should look like. Last month, Natures Menu launched a new campaign to help raise awareness for this along with a helpful chart.

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