Christmas – the most wonderful time to be surrounded by loved ones, Christmas cheer, and food! And while the humans nurse their food babies, some tend to want to feed their pooches the leftovers from the table that are harmful to your dog, or even from the previous day’s festivities. Which is a lovely sentiment (the way that Hollywood intended it), but what the movies DON’T tell you is that these holiday leftovers can be harmful to your dogs.

Here’s a list of Top 10 leftovers that you definitely should not feed your dogs after Christmas.

1. COOKED CHICKEN/TURKEY BONES

Cooked bones are dehydrated, and therefore become brittle, which make them splinter or shatter easily when bitten into. Splintered bones can get lodged between your dog’s teeth, causing them to be uncomfortable. The worst case scenario is that your pups swallow the bones, which may get stuck in their throats causing a choking hazard, or causing a digestive disturbance, or even puncturing the stomach lining. It would be better to carve the turkey and immediately get rid of the carcass for your dog’s safety. You can, however, give your dogs the turkey meat leftovers (no skin or bones).

2. CHOCOLATE

Are chocolates really bad for your dogs? The answer is yes. Theobromine is the component in chocolate that is harmful to your dogs (and cats), which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. High levels of theobromine poisoning will warrant a visit to the vet, so it’s best to steer clear. The good news is that you can purchase dog-friendly chocolates from selected pet stores, and online. And if you want to avoid chocolates altogether, Carobs are a tasty and safe alternative.

3. NUTS

Some Christmas dishes, including pies and stuffing, contain nuts, which dogs have trouble digesting. Macadamia nuts are especially dangerous for dogs, as they can cause problems in the digestive system, muscles and nervous system, causing shortness of breath, weakness, tremors, swollen legs, and even pancreatitis. Just avoid feeding your dogs leftovers that contain nuts altogether.

4. NUTMEG AND OTHER SPICES

Nutmeg is potentially very poisonous for your dog, as it can cause a dog’s nervous system to begin to shut down. Dogs are also not used to other herbs and spices that make our food flavourful, like those contained in stuffing, so they might end up fighting a bout of diarrhea.  So perhaps avoid leftovers (like pumpkin pie) that contain nutmeg, and other herbs and spices.

5. ALCOHOL

Alcohol can have the same effect on dogs as it has on humans. However, your dogs would only need to ingest a much smaller to show symptoms of being drunk (being wobbly and drowsy), but in severe cases, your dogs could have lowered body temperature and blood sugar, or even end up in a coma. Dogs are precocious creatures, so try not to leave any alcohol unattended around your dogs.

6. GRAPES, RAISINS AND OTHER DRIED VINE FRUITS

Vine fruits like grapes and sultanas are very toxic to dogs. They contain a chemical that can cause organ failure in your pets, and dried fruits have this chemical in much higher concentrations. So even though we humans aren’t fans of Christmas fruitcake, it’s definitely ill-advised feeding your dogs these leftovers.

7. ONIONS AND GARLIC

If you’re one of those people who is inclined to give your dogs a piece of food off the Christmas table, make sure that what you feed them doesn’t have any onions or garlic. In fact, avoid foods containing onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, spring onions, and chives. These aromatic plants all belong to the Allium family and can cause toxicity, whether they’re cooked or uncooked. If these are in your leftovers, then do not give them to your dogs.

8. STONE FRUITS AND PERSIMMONS

Stone fruits such as peaches, apricots and plums, and persimmons are very delicious to us humans but are known to cause digestive problems. The pits of these foods are not only choking hazards, but they also contain a mix of chemicals that are harmful. Be on the lookout for these when your dog is on the prowl for delicious leftovers.

9. FATTY FOODS

In some households, Christmas can become a greasy affair. For example, a deep-fried turkey might be the hero of this year’s Christmas table. And while the lean meat under the skin may not be harmful to your dogs, avoid feeding foods that have high fat content, such as the rinds/skins of the meat, and the gravy. Leftover foods with a higher fat content may cause gastric distress for your pooch.

10. SWEETS

Keep an eye out for the young kiddies especially during the festive season, as they are likely to want to share their meals with man’s best friend. Sugar is definitely not good for your dogs, as it will just cause a gastric problem.

Make sure that your dogs are safe this holiday season! Steer clear of these harmful foods, and bring in the New Year without extra vet bills from unnecessarily feeding unhealthy leftovers to your dogs.