According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association 2014 5.5 millions dogs will be given their own helping of their owner’s Christmas dinner, despite its deadly health implications.
Natural pet food company Forthglade, has joined forces with TV presenter and keen animal lover Adam Henson to highlight the dangers of sharing rich festive foods with dogs. With a survey of 2000 UK dog owners, Forthglade has investigated the extent that Brits share Christmas Dinners and all the trimmings with their pets. Research unveiled that over 60% of dog owners plan to dish-up for their dogs on Christmas Day – which equates to potentially 5.5 million dogs across the UK,* even though the majority of owners (56%) know that human tit bits are harmful to their pets.
British TV presenter Adam Henson, well-known for his passion for animal welfare has launched a national health warning to dog owners, highlighting the dangers of sharing indulgent Christmas foods with pets, and hopes to raise awareness of the human foods that could result in trips to doggie A&E.
Unsurprisingly the most popular foods dished up to dogs on Christmas Day are turkey, gravy and stuffing, served up by almost 70% of Christmas Day ‘treaters’. Stuffing and gravy frequently contain onion which can be toxic to dogs if too much is consumed; resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea and in extreme cases leading to a dog requiring immediate veterinary assistance.
1 in 10 Christmas treaters surveyed admitted to sharing mince pies, unaware that the majority of Christmas puddings contain raisins or sultanas, which can lead to canine kidney failure. 20% also claimed that sharing meat from fry-ups was a household norm, even though too much fatty food can cause pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. Signs include abdominal pains and sickness.
Adam Henson said of the research: “These findings are worrying. The research showed that 15% of dog owners admitted needing veterinary assistance on Boxing Day due to feeding dogs festive human foods. I have two dogs at home that I adore but I’m aware of the dangers of humanising and sharing too much with them, especially when it comes to food treats. I hope this health warning provides a wake-up call to dog owners, and will help them see that their misguided kindness to treat their dogs at Christmas with festive foods could actually prove fatal.”
The research unveils that the most common reason for sharing over indulgent Christmas food with dogs was down to humanising our four-legged friends – with people positioning their pet as a ‘part of the family’. 1 in 5 feel their actions are totally acceptable as Christmas is a ‘special occasion’.
“Sharing foods from our plates with dogs is not only a hazard to their health, but causes many other problems such as behavioural issues, dominance, hyper-activity and also obesity” explains Adam.
Festive foods that could prove a danger for dogs:
- Splinters from poultry bones can become stuck in throats or pierce intestinal tracts
- Stuffing contains onion which can destroy red blood cells causing life threatening anaemia if consumed in large quantities
- Gravy can contain more onion and high levels of salt which can lead to kidney problems and prove fatal
- Grapes, raisins and sultanas, found in most Christmas desserts contain a toxin which can cause kidney failure
- Chocolate, especially dark, contains theobromine, which dogs can’t metabolise well. It accumulates in dogs’ bodies and becomes toxic or even fatal
- Mouldy leftovers including yoghurt, bread and cheese can contain toxins produced by the mould, causing rapid onset convulsions in dogs
Gerard Lovell, Forthglade’s joint MD added “I’m saddened to hear that 63% of dog owners never even consider what their dog food actually contains and don’t look at dog food labels. We hope that this Christmas food health warning will raise awareness of the huge health risks for dogs and help stress the importance of good pet nutrition and a natural balanced diet.
Forthglade provides a range of premium nutritionally balanced meals for dogs. Using only the best ingredients to create a range of flavours, which are slow-cooked to lock in goodness. Made in the heart of the Devonshire countryside, the Natural Lifestage range is made using carefully sourced fresh meat (over 72% meat content) and nutritious brown rice and vegetables to make a wholesome complete meal which helps to care for your pet’s health. It comes in varieties suitable for puppies, adult dogs (aged 1 – 7) and seniors. Forthglade is free from preservatives, artificial flavours or colours and it is hypo allergenic, meaning all foods are suitable for pets with sensitive stomachs.
*Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association 2014.
Products from the Lifestage range can be found in store at Pets At Home, online at www.petsathome.com and www.fetch.co.uk or at your local pet shop.
For more information about Forthglade visit www.forthglade.com