What human food should you be wary of feeding your pet? What would you do if your puppy ate a grape, or a piece of mince pie or piece Christmas cake?

The answer may well be ring us for advice because we may have to make them sick. Grapes and dried grapes – currents, sultanas and raisins can all be toxic to dogs. The mechanism is unknown and there appears to be no correlation between quantity eaten and clinical effects. However dried fruit is more likely to cause severe problems. Signs of toxicity can include vomiting, diarrhoea including blood, salivation, ataxia (wobbly gait) and kidney failure.

Does anyone like Macadamia nuts? They are best not fed to your dog as can cause lethargy, hyperthermia (increased body temperature), tremor, lameness and stiffness. Obviously, this danger is only enhanced by a chocolate covering!

Chocolate tree decorations or Easter eggs anyone? Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine in its actions. A relatively small amount of dark chocolate can cause agitation, hyperexitability, tremors, convulsions and heart problems.

White chocolate is not a problem as it contains very little theobromine. The higher the coco solid content, the greater the danger of side effects as above. Also remember dogs are not great at removing wrappers which can cause intestinal obstructions in their own right.

Would you feed your dog leftover turkey stuffing? Not a great idea as it contains onions. Onions and all members of the allium family (leeks, shallots, chives and garlic) can be toxic whether cooked or in their raw state. Initially they cause digestive upsets but several days later can cause damage to the red blood cells resulting in anaemia. Put the leftovers in the bin, not in the dog.

So please be careful. The prompt for this post was a five month old sprocker called Charlie who ate a grape but his owner called us and we made him sick – one unchewed grape later and he should be fine. If she had waited the story may have been different. The moral of the story is that sometimes it’s just not good to share our food!

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