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K9 Nutrition at Christmas

December 21, 20234 min read

“The food they eat can be the best form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” - Kat Jury

Christmas is now upon us for another year and we're likely to have some kind of plans that involve lots of food.

It's one thing for us to overindulge but another for our fur friends to do so.

8 Reasons

With that said, here are some tips to get you and your pooch safely through the festive season.

Walk them early

After Santa has been and you and your pup have devoured the presents, take them out for a quick 30 minute sniff and smile session. It will help them (and you) exert some energy before the day ahead and will help them if they're staying at home while you're out having Christmas lunches and dinners.

Top up their water bowl

Christmas Day in Australia is generally hot so by providing them with a fresh bowl of water that they can easily access will help them stay hydrated. This is particularly useful if you've exercised them in the morning or if they end up sneaking some of Aunty's pork crackling. Some of those scraps can be extra rich or salty and we don't want our pooches to become dehydrated.

Feed them a nutritious breakfast

Same as for humans, if we start off with a nutritious meal before getting stuck into foods we perhaps wouldn't normally eat, it sets everything up better than if we didn't.

Try adding some fresh veggies and some fruit to their breakfast. I feed my dog a mix of raw food, good quality kibble topped with fresh vegetables, and some fruit.

Veggies to try can include carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, red capsicum, celery and pretty much most fruit like apples, pears, bananas, watermelon etc. Aim for things that are in season.

Foods to avoid

Most of us know the more commonly talked about foods to avoid for dogs such as chocolate, starchy potatoes, garlic and onion.

However there are some other factors to consider on Christmas Day in particular when food we probably wouldn't usually eat is available, potentially in large quantities. We may find the food available is richer, saltier and perhaps with some hidden ingredients that could be harmful to our pets.

Grandma's delicious potato salad, the marinade on those chicken drumsticks, prawns that maybe still have bits of the shell on them, bones found in chicken and those sticky pork ribs you've been eyeing off all day... and we're not even at dessert yet! As you can see, it can quickly become a degustation for us, but a trip to the vet for Fido.

Buy some Psyllium Husks

A staple in my home as part of my dog's 'care kit' is psyllium husks. You can get them from your local supermarket, generally in the health food aisle and having them will save you a lot of stress if Fido gorges himself on scraps and gets an upset tummy from it.

Psyllium husks act as a water absorbent and bulk up their stools so if you notice your fur baby has runny poop or diarrhea, you can try adding some psyllium husks mixed in water to their food bowl and things will return to normal within 1-2 days. If there are other issues such as blood in their stools, they are completely off their food or changes in behaviour etc, please take them to the vet.

Keep your vet's number handy

This is a 'just in case' plan but one that shouldn't be overlooked. Particularly if you will have your dog around people and large amounts of food on Christmas Day. Small children may unknowingly feed your dog some chicken that has bones in it, or there may just be a lot of scraps that your dog has access to which may go unnoticed and they can become very ill, very quickly.

Best to keep an eye on them and feel free to set boundaries early on for people not to feed your dog. As mentioned above, if you noticed any behaviour or health signs that are different than usual, give your vet a call.

Create a safe space for them

Fireworks, noisy neighbours having a party, nieces and nephews constantly wanting to play with or pat your dog... the list is endless on the range of out-of-the-norm disturbances your dog may experiences on Christmas Day and so having a safe place for them to retreat to for some quiet time is super important.

Adult dogs generally need anywhere from eight and 13.5 hours of sleep every day and puppies more so. So if you know there will be lots of disturbance for them, try and create an area where they can sleep safely and uninterrupted (without missing out on too much fun of course).

Dogs really are our best friend so we need to make sure we are taking care of them.

A few easy steps and some mindfulness of their wellbeing during the festive season will see you both through with no unwanted trips to the vet and plenty of time for cuddles.

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Kat - K9 Naturopath

I'm Kat and a K9 Naturopath. I am passionate about the education and use of natural holistic methods for health and wellbeing - both in people and dogs. Gaining canine specific qualifications in Holistic Health & Therapy, Herbalism and Nutrition for Animals enabled me to offer these modalities to other dogs and their owners, as I believe we have the ability to encourage healing and health in our pets so we can enjoy long, happy and healthy lives together

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