Pet food tips at Christmas

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12 December 2012
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Mars Petcare is asking owners to keep a watchful eye on their dogs as this year's festivities get in full swing.

According to Mars, some Christmas favourites to watch out for are:

  • Chocolate - with wrapped boxes of sweets under the tree and chocolate decorations hanging up, Christmas is a classic time of year for dogs to get in trouble with chocolate. Dogs often sniff out and open wrapped presents of chocolate. While it's a treat for humans, chocolate contains theobromine which is extremely poisonous to dogs. If you want to treat your dog, special doggy chocolate can be found in pet shops.
  • Mince pies and Christmas pudding - raisins are a key ingredient in these festive desserts but they are poisonous to dogs and can cause acute kidney failure.
  • Gravy and roast dinners - a quarter of owners give their dogs gravy at least once a week, and this will be higher as families tuck into Christmas lunches. What many people don't realise is that onions and garlic, which are often part of home-made gravy, can be harmful to dogs and cause anaemia.
  • Pigs in blankets - eleven per cent of owners already feed their dogs sausages at least once a week, and this will increase during the Christmas period. While sausages aren't poisonous, the high calorie content in them can be a problem when it comes to keeping your dog's weight in check. Cocktail sticks holding them together can be a serious risk of injury.
  • Cheese board - watch out for grapes rolling off cheese boards and on to the floor. Grapes are poisonous to dogs.

 Sherrie Rowlands, corporate affairs manager at Mars Petcare, said: "There's nothing wrong with the odd treat here and there - especially at Christmas.

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"It's just as important to remember that some foods are poisonous and also that overfeeding is just as bad for pets as it is for humans.

"Pets are part of the family so it's natural to include them in the festivities, but owners can treat dogs to pet-specific Christmas goodies or spend more time with them and take them for an extra long walk, which would be good for both you and your dog over the festive season."