Britain is a country of dog-lovers, particularly at Christmas – and there’s going to be millions of our furry best friends tucking into a roast dinner this festive season.
According to a new survey, a huge 56% of Brits will be making an extra-special Christmas meal for their four-legged companions.
The special dinners include turkey (57%), beef (43%) and the human favourite pigs in blankets from 42%, of adoring owners, whilst 22% let them in on the liquid festivities with special non-alcoholic doggy beer or ‘Pawsecco’.
Meanwhile, dog trainers will roll their eyes as the research from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust (KCCT) shows that more than two thirds (68%) would let their dog get away with behaviour at Christmas that they’d discourage at any other time of year.
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A feeble 35% give in and treat their pets to human food, 23% let them on the sofa, and 21% suddenly allow begging at the table ‘because it’s Christmas.’
However, dogs don’t know it’s Christmastime at all, and may well be confused and discombobulated by the sudden rule changes.
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Then there’s the Santa hats, reindeer antlers and knitted elf costumes our poor pooches are expected to wear for the holiday season, not to mention the sudden deluge of over-exciting gifts.
The average Brit expects to spend £94.97 on their dog this festive season, with 30% spending over £100.
Almost 1 in 5 (18%) admit that they spend more on their dog than other family members, and it’s the men who are more likely to dress up their dogs in December, with 29% of men compared 19% of women donning matching Christmas jumpers alongside their best pal.
But while loving owners may go a little over the top, it’s clear that the nation’s dogs are going to get treated in a big way this season – so what should they really be eating?
While a little turkey and vegetables is fine, make sure there’s no cooked bones in there which can splinter.
Or go for it and give your dogs a full dog-friendly Christmas dinner by HugMyDog. With 100% whole foods, their festive meal is “A delicious mixture of free-range turkey with all the trimmings including red cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, and cranberries – ingredients carefully selected to provide the healthiest and most delicious meal full of goodness.”
We might advise not lingering too long at the business end after a meal of this and assorted fibrous wrapping paper, however. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
For puppies, you could get them into festive spirit with Beco’s Free Range Turkey with Pumpkin & Spinach food, which is both eco-friendly and good for their tums.
And talking of warning, while we all want to ensure our dogs have a wonderful time alongside us at Christmas, and they may have iron stomachs when it comes to steakling pans of bread sauce and pigs in blankets, there are certain festive foods they mustn’t be allowed to pinch.
Advice from pet insurers money.co.uk reveals which Christmas foods to keep away from your dogs, and which leftovers they can eat in moderation.
Forbidden festive foods
If you’re planning on eating sage and onion stuffing, hide it from your dogs (and cats). Onions, garlic, chives, shallots and leeks all belong to the allium plant. When ingested, they can damage your dog’s red blood cells which transport oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. They may experience an increased heart and respiratory rate, weakness and diarrhoea, with some symptoms not visible until a few days after.
Most dogs love cheese, but blue cheeses like stilton and Roquefort should be avoided due to a fungus called Roquefortine C. Dogs are sensitive to this substance which can cause high temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea and convulsions (muscle tremors and seizures).
It’s also worth remembering if you’re adding grapes or raisins to your cheese board, to keep these away from your four-legged friend as they can also cause big problems if ingested.
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Despite being a favourite festive treat for humans, chocolate poses a real threat to our dogs. The chemical compound theobromine is a stimulant, like coffee for humans, and can be fatal depending on the size of your dog and the colour of the chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity. So, hide your advent calendars and celebration boxes in a secure location.
Although not all nuts are toxic to dogs (aside from the high-fat content and choking hazards), ensure you keep macadamia nuts and black walnuts away from your dog’s paws. These can result in a lethargic reaction including wobbly legs and stiffness, vomiting and seizures if consumed.
Christmas treats with raisins
While Christmas treats like Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies are enjoyed among humans, they should not be eaten by our furry friends due to the sultanas and raisins. These fruits are dried grapes and could potentially lead to kidney failure, even when cooked in baked treats.
No matter the occasion, no type of alcohol should be given to our pets. Dogs are more sensitive to ethanol than humans, so drinking even a little could cause drowsiness and, in more serious cases, result in low sugar levels and seizures.
Found in some sweetened products and peanut butters, it ca be fatal to dogs – always check the ingredients before giving a human treat to your pet.
No they’re not food, but plants from the lily family, bulbs (such as hyacinths in pots) and poinsettias can all poison dogs (and cats) so never leave them within reach.
Which leftovers can I give to my dogs (in moderation)?
Fish and lean meat
Protein food items like cooked turkey, chicken and salmon are fine for dogs to eat. If you’re seasoning your meats, ensure you don’t give your dog the skin, never offer cooked bones and don’t give them anything salty. They won’t mind if you give leftovers a quick rinse first.
Vegetables such as potatoes carrots, peas, green beans and parsnips are nutritious and therefore a safe option – but again avoid any cooked with salt.
Homemade dog treats
For their Christmas gift, try baking pet-friendly Christmas snacks like peanut butter dog biscuits or liver cake. They’ll be very grateful to Santa for bringing them down the chimney.
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To get involved in the KCCT’s Christmas Appeal this year, head to https://www.kennelclubcharitabletrust.org/christmas-2021 to donate, or to here to buy matching jumpers – hurry, as they will sell out fast!