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Festive feeding for your dog

by Karen Armitage

So here we are in the festive season once again. A time when we like to indulge, and sometimes overindulge, our loved ones with a festive feast. This often includes treating our furry family, because it is Christmas after all, right?

Traditional Christmas treats are often packed full of things that we shouldn’t be feeding to Fido. So, what tasty treats do we need to make sure are well hidden from sneaky snouts?

Chocolate, grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts can be toxic for dogs and could lead to a very poorly pup so make sure to keep Christmas cake, mince pies and nuts out of reach. Also, make sure you hide that obligatory box of Christmas chocs from the dog, as well as from the rest of the family.

It’s all too easy to forget how clever our pets can be when food is around, keep chocolates and sweets away from temptation, it’s surprising how quick a dog can be when we are distracted.

Christmas morning

The big day has arrived, and the family are all around the tree opening gifts and stockings stuffed with goodies. Your pooch’s pressies are packed with treats but are they used to the treats and food in them?  If not be aware that they might overindulge which will most likely result in the unpleasantries of an upset tummy over the festivities.

Do you ever get the feeling your being watched?

As everyone tucks into their Christmas dinner those big puppy dog eyes can start to add the pressure that maybe someone is feeling a bit left out. Turkey and all the trimmings is not a great idea for your dog but if you want to give them a little Christmas lunch then plainly cooked vegetables are fine. Be aware of giving any fatty foods or having them snaffled off the table, these foods can increase the chances of pancreatitis.

It’s the most stressful time of the year

We all feel the stresses of Christmas, but we don’t always acknowledge the stresses our pets feel this time of year. To our four-legged friends it is essentially just another day, however they may well be more stressed and anxious than usual as the volume of visitors increases and the house is filled with unusual sounds and smells. Stress can have an impact on the digestive system, so if you have a busier than normal household and routine goes out of the window it would be best to keep to their usual food and treats.

Be mindful of over generous relatives

Christmas is the season of generosity but not when it comes to feeding the dog. Keep an eye out for Grandad slipping slices of Turkey to the dog or toddlers who like to share their meal. Overeating is likely to result in tummy troubles.

Tasty treats for hungry pups

To save on a festive season of digestive discomfort why not buy or make some healthy treats for your pets? How about getting the children involved? This will keep the children occupied on the run up to Christmas and will keep the dog occupied when they are done. Get creative and make up a stocking for pup filled with toys and treats.

Do it yourself

For a more straightforward treat just scrub a sweet potato and cut into 1 cm strips and pop in the oven at 225F/100C for 3-4 hours turning them every ½ hour.  You could also try using other root veg or apples.

You could even be more adventurous and make homemade dog biscuits. All you will need is 2 cups of oats, oatmeal or brown rice flour, ½ cup unsalted peanut butter, parsley, and a couple of eggs to help bind it. Mix the ingredients to a dough and roll out ready to be cut into festive or bone shapes. Pop the biscuits on to some baking parchment and bake for 20-30 mins (you can leave them longer if you want a crunchier biscuit). Gather a few together in some cellophane or fabric and tie up with a festive ribbon for a lovely homemade gift.

You don’t need to be Mary Berry to make your own treats with these non-baked treats. Cook one cup of sweet potato (you could add some pumpkin) to just soft enough to mash.  Add 1 ½ cups of oats with ½ cup unsalted peanut butter and a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley. Mix all the ingredients together and pop in the fridge for a few hours. Press into a mould and decorate with a few pieces of kibble. These will keep in the fridge for a week or can be frozen. Give as a frozen treat to make them last longer.

by Karen Armitage
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