Vets warn of rough Christmas for dogs if they're given leftover human food

As families prepare to gather around the table for Christmas, pets are likely to want to sample the spread as well.

But vet specialists are warning dog owners about the dangers of some festive foods that could be harmful or even deadly, if consumed by pets.

At this time of year, some dogs could be thinking all their Christmases have come at once.

But beware, if you have a dog, their curiosity may just get the better of them.

Vets are urging dog owners to be extra cautious about leaving food under the tree and lying around, as most festive treats can be toxic for your pet.

"A lot of people don't realise what they're doing is not right," said vet Ryan Cattin. "A lot of foods are absolutely fine for people, but for dogs, they can cause a lot of harm." .

Auckland dog Maybel is a prime example.

She was poisoned, after eating a whole Christmas cake and box of chocolates left under the tree. Lucky for her, it wasn't too late.

"Maybel's been brought in, in the early hours of the morning, and she's been made to vomit and bring that up," said vet Jenna Wright.

"Then we've just had her on some charcoal to absorb any toxins in her body and she's just on some fluids as well."

Although it may seem obvious, your dog should never be caught eating dried fruit, nuts, onions, grapes, chocolate, Christmas cake and alcohol.

If your dog eats human food, it can result in obesity, pancreatitis or kidney disease, and even death.

"If you've got a dog that is interested in food, particularly odd foods... make sure that they're in the pantry and in containers, put them somewhere else and just sort of think about what you're feeding dogs," said Dr Cattin.

"If you're not sure, don't feed it - you can always call up and ask or look it up."

Research by Southern Cross Pet Insurance found that 68 percent of dog owners have fed human food to their pets - and the consequences are costly.

The most expensive insurance claim for a dog this year was more than $15,000 for a bowel rupture, after it ate a bone.

Vets say we shouldn't feed pets leftover turkey or chicken bones this Christmas.

Fat trimmings are also a no-no, because they can inflame the pancreas.

So symptoms dog owners should look out for?

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Signs of weakness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abnormal behaviour

The best thing you could give Jack or any other dog this Christmas - is anything other than human food.