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Ensuring a Merry and Safe Christmas for Your Furry Friends: A Comprehensive Guide to Dog-Friendly Festivities

Dogs & Christmas

Christmas is all about family, food and fun and as we all know, dogs are the most important members of our family, so we need to ensure that they also get to share in the food and the fun of the festive season

Food

Food is arguably the best part of Christmas, so many treats, so much guilt free indulgence and food that we often don’t eat at other times of the year.  The problem is that we really should not share some of these lovely Christmas treats with our dogs as they can be toxic, so we will start with a quick list of things that your dogs can’t have.

Foods that are toxic to dogs

Mince Pies

The biggest risk is kidney failure due to the raisins.  Dogs should not have grapes and raisins but it is better to just avoid giving your dog any type of dried fruit so not only mince pies but also scones, Eccles cakes etc.

There is also a risk of Xylitol which can cause liver failure, hypoglycemia and seizures

 

Chocolate

I know you will have heard stories about dogs who ate a whole box of chocolates and were absolutely fine but this is not the norm.  Chocolate contains the toxic chemical theobromine, which can bring about severe heart and nervous system changes in some dogs, leading to coma and death and at a milder level can cause a nasty gastrointestinal upset.

The effects of theobromine poisoning increase over time as it is absorbed into the body so you may think that your dog is fine but within a few hours your dog will experience

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hyperactivity
  • As time passes and there’s increased absorption of the toxic substance, you’ll see an increase in the dog’s heart rate, which can cause arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and/or excessive panting.

This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and in some cases sadly, death.

 

Garlic & Onions

This actually covers all of the allium group so garlic, onions, leeks, chives and shallots.  The symptoms can be delayed but are abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Garlic is often used for dogs for example in natural flea treatments or supplements but this is a totally different format to the garlic that we use at home and is safe.  You should never feed your dog garlic, onions, leeks, chives or shallots

 

Macadamia Nuts

These are very toxic to dogs and can make them very ill – weakness, vomiting and tremors.  In fact, nuts can be a choking hazard to dogs so maybe keep them all out of reach

 

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in sugar free foods and it is also used in peanut butter.  It is highly toxic to dogs and makes them suddenly produce lots of insulin.  The effects will be seen very quickly, often within 10 minutes to an hour and can lead to liver failure and even death.  Worth checking all sweet treats and also any peanut butter if you use this as a treat for your dogs.

 

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones will break and splinter in your dog’s gut causing pain, blockages and even death and this applies to all bones, no matter how big they are.  The only treatment is surgery and this is not guaranteed to work.

Never give your dog cooked bones of any description.

We all love to treat our dogs at Christmas so what can we give them?

Treats! 

We will be eating lots of lovely, delicious treats so it only seems right to get our dogs some lovely, delicious treats too!

We have some Christmas Selection Boxes that are just £15 and the perfect gift for your dog or any of their furry friends but you will have to be quick – they are only on sale from 1st – 25th December

Always worth having a little tin of treats in case family and friends visit and want to share their food with your dog.  So easy to hand them the Treat Tin and let them choose some treats that your dog will enjoy and you won’t have to worry about your dog getting an upset tum

Our Healthy Grain Free Dental Sticks are also a great low fat treat that your dog can chew on and they help their teeth – what could be better?

We also have some very high meat content, premium quality wet food made from either Venison or Lamb that would be lovely mixed into their dried food as a special meal or put onto a licki-mat

Christmas Dinner

Every dog should have Christmas Dinner!  The Feelwells Dogs always get a Christmas Dinner – turkey, roast potatoes and vegetables but only use gravy if you have made it yourself.  Gravy granules are very high in salt and salt is not good for dogs so best to leave it off if it is made with granules. Pigs in blankets are fine too but if your dog has a gluten allergy, check that they are gluten free sausages.

If your dog is on a low fat diet then just leave out the roasties and the pigs in blankets.

Don’t forget the leftovers – dogs can have the meat and veg more than once.  Another top tip and something we often do with the Feelwells Dogs is put the leftovers through the blender so they are like large, coarse breadcrumbs and then sprinkle them over their food or on a licki-mat.

 

A Word of Warning – Rawhide & Treats from China

Please do not give rawhide to your dog.  There are loads of colourful, fun rawhide treats around at Christmas but it really is a dreadful product.  It is full of artificial chemicals, colours, preservatives and flavours and the worst thing is that it does not break down in the stomach, so if your dog manages to swallow a piece, that can cause a blockage which will not only make your dog very ill but will have to removed by surgery, just the same as cooked bones.

When buying treats, especially from a supermarket or a discount store, look out for where they are made, it is always better to avoid treats made in China, they are very poor quality which is why they are cheap and the last thing you want at Christmas is an ill dog.

 

Postbiotic Gut Health Supplement

All the extra food, treats and excitement could give your dog an upset tum so we would also recommend using the Postbiotic Gut Health Supplement to help their tummy.  These 96% Duck Cold Pressed little tiny treats can be fed as treats or you can sprinkle them onto their food

Fun

West Paw Durable Dog Toys | Made in the USA | Feelwells

A big part of the fun of Christmas is presents and of course all dogs should have a Christmas present.  The Feelwells Dogs are all terriers and they love to destroy toys so at Christmas they each get a couple of cheap soft toys that are destroyed with minutes but they have so much fun doing it that all the clean up is worth it.

However, the ideal toy is one that your dog can enjoy way past Christmas.  For this, we recommend West Paw Toys.  As mentioned,  our dogs are terriers and all toys are only there to be destroyed.  However, we have had a selection of West Paw Toys that we have had for over 5 years now.  All played with daily and have outlived all the other toys that have been and gone in that time and that is why we sell them, they are worth the investment

Why West Paw Toys?

  • Tough – if your dog damages it, you get a one time free replacement
  • Bounce
  • Float
  • Some can be filled with treats
  • Dishwasher safe

Enrichment is also very important for your dog and a great way to spend some quality time together.

You can play fun games with your dog – hide & seek, searching for food hidden around the house or garden, scatter feeding – scatter some broken up pieces of food or treats over the lawn or in the house, this takes longer to eat as they have to search for it first and the dog has work to find it so it is tiring and calming.

Any type of brain game, treat or food dispenser toy, licki-mats and snuffle mats are all fun activities for dogs and utilise their brain and their noses.  Twenty minutes of mental activity is as tiring as one hour of physical activity.

Save any of the brown paper packaging that you get from Amazon and empty toilet roll tubes.  You can wrap treats in small amounts of the brown paper and stuff them inside the toilet roll tubes for your dog to get out.

Put some treats into a cardboard egg box, fasten it and let your dog figure out how to get them out.

Lay down an old towel and scatter some treats on it.  Roll it up tight and let your dog work out how to unroll it to get to the treats.

Family

Having family around at Christmas can be a joy but it can also be overwhelming and especially for our dogs if they are not used to that many people or that level of noise and excitement.

There a few things you can do to help them cope.  Firstly, make sure that they have had a long walk before everyone arrives.  Secondly, make sure that they have a bed in a quiet area of the house where they can go to have a nap in peace and make sure that all the visiting adults and especially children, know not to disturb them when they are in their bed – they need to have a safe place.

Finally, we would recommend using our Goodnight Treats, the original and best calming treats.  Although we call them Goodnight they can be fed at any time and it would be a good idea to start feeding them during the day for at least a week in the build up to Christmas – you can safely double the recommended feeding guide.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from all here at Feelwells HQ

Helen, Simon, Lola, Hudson & Dodger xx