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TV vet reminds owners of the perils of giving their dog a festive treat

Dog looks at christmas toy dog-cat-serious
© Pixabay

Veterinary surgeon Dr Scott Miller yesterday advised viewers of This Morning not to over-indulge their pets this Christmas, and to keep human food out of reach.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 18/12/2019, 08:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:36

Dr Miller was discussing the matter with Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes on yesterday's This Morning show. He said the type of food we eat over Christmas - very often rich and sweet - contains ingredients harmful to dogs.

Dark chocolate has theobromine in it,” he told the show's presenters, “which causes the dog to have a fast heart and respiration rate.

While sweets with artificial sugars have an ingredient in them which really affects dogs, makes their blood sugar levels drop - and they could go into hypoglycaemic shock.”

Dr Miller also warned of the hazards of tinsel and needles from Christmas trees.

Tinsel is also a bad one, if they swallow it it actually produces a linear foam body,” he said. “It cuts through the gut and can be really damaging, even life threatening.

Common sense

Viewers railed against the common sense advice; irritated at what they felt was a patronising and over-cautious prescription. However, Dr Miller's reminder of the dangers of feeding a dog super-rich and chocolatey treats is timely.

Over the last two years vets have reported a significant increase in cases of chocolate poisoning of dogs, especially throughout the Easter and Christmas holidays.

In 2016 The Independent reported on there being 6,609 cases of chocolate poisoning, a rise of 138% since 2014.

Thus, although it is natural to assume that every dog owner knows the hazards of feeding their dog human food, clearly knowledge of the dangers is not ubiquitous.

What to feed your dog at Christmas

In short: dog food! However, if you must treat your dog to something from your table, Dr Miller says a plain piece of turkey will go down well.

We say always take a vet's advice. They know what they are talking about, after all!