Don't feed your dog this, don't feed your dog that. Obviously, advice on what you shouldn't feed your pet is very important to follow and will avoid an emergency trip to the vet, but during this time of year, many owners do want to include their pets in the fun and festivities.
To give owners a helping hand this festive season, insurer MORE TH>N's qualified vet Andrew Moore has devised a special festive menu for dogs, so all your family members can join in the fun safely this year.
Andrew explains, "We all over-indulge at Christmas, but festive food in human sized quantities is more no no no than ho ho ho for our pets. Most festive food is fatty, rich and can sometimes even be downright poisonous to cats and dogs. However it’s not all Bah Humbug, there are certain foods that are fine to feed your pet for one festive meal. When it comes to our pets and food, it’s all about moderation - so the one occasion you should act like Scrooge is to keep the festive treats small and then your pet can enjoy their very own Christmas meal this year, without any nasty repurr-cusions."
FISH: Whilst salmon is a favourite amongst us humans, it’s also a great starter for your dog as it is high in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids, which help support a dog’s immune system and also add shine to a dog’s coat. Choose plain salmon in spring water over smoked salmon though. Prawns - as long as they are well cooked and shelled - will also go down very well.
MEAT: Treat your pooch to some turkey this Christmas. Choose small amounts of boneless and skinless breast meat, which can be added to your dog’s meal in moderation.
VEGETABLES: To bring a bit of variety to their Christmas bowl, add some sprouts, swede mash, potatoes, green beans and parsnip, ideally served plain - no oil or butter added.
Pudding is just as important as the main in our opinion and there’s no need to leave your dog out once the dinner is over. Low in lactose desserts like yogurt and ricotta cheese in moderation are a great option, as they are excellent sources of calcium and protein. You could also swap grapes and raisin-based desserts for blueberries and dried cranberries, which are both safe for dogs.
TOP TIP: Don’t forget to remove a little bit of their normal food to even things out!
It’s not just the Christmas dinner our pets want to get involved with and it's very important to keep an eye on your pets during this time. Andrew Moore’s veterinary team has recalled some cases from clients who had to 'paws' the festive fun to deal with pets who took things a step too far.
"I once pulled a very long string of tinsel out of a Labradors throat, which never seemed to end"
"A dog ate an entire Christmas cake (seconds after they had drizzled it with brandy and lit it on fire) while it was still engulfed in flames!"
"A very small sausage dog came in after eating an entire box of Twilight dark chocolate mints in their wrappers on Boxing Day…three years in a row – setting quite the Christmas tradition for the family"
John Ellenger, Head of Pet Insurance MORE TH>N, added, "Eating the Christmas dinner has to be one of the most exciting parts of the festive period, so we wanted to make sure the whole family, including those with four legs, could come together and join in this year. We are, however, aware that there are also a lot of don’ts when it comes to feeding pets over the merry season, so we have also developed guides online with information on what our pets should avoid to ensure trips to the vet are kept to a minimum!"
There are a number of festive no-no's that need to be avoided this christmas. For more advice, see our recent article.