Mince pies and sausages - the treats to avoid giving your dog this Christmas

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Millions of dogs around the country will be fed festive treats which could potentially harm them this Christmas, a study has found.

A survey of 2,000 dog owners has revealed a startling lack of knowledge around the festive foods which shouldn’t find their way into the dog bowl.

One in eight owners will treat their pooch to a mince pie from the table, which contains potentially toxic raisins, and over a third will give their pup a meaty bone.

But cooked bones often splinter and can cause injuries or damage the stomach and intestine, while raw meaty bones can be a choking hazard, damage teeth or cause digestive upsets.

One in six will even give in and let their pooch have a piece of chocolate, which is toxic to dogs, especially treats with a higher cocoa content.

Sean McCormack, head vet at dog nutrition company Tails.com, said: ‘It’s wonderful to see so many dog owners embracing their pooch at Christmas time and bringing them into the festivities with a special treat.

‘However, treats like mince pies, chocolate, bones and cheese can all serve to aggravate your dog’s digestive system, or cause even more serious harm. ‘Pigs-in-blankets, for example, are an extremely fatty treat which can upset a dog’s digestive system, or even lead to a painful case of pancreatitis. ‘Nobody wants to end up at the vet clinic on Christmas Day.’

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Dog treats to avoid this Christmas

Sausages - high in fat, calorific (risk digestive upset or even pancreatitis)

Meaty bones - choking hazard, injury & blockage risk if swallowed

Cheese - high in fat, most dogs are actually lactose intolerant

Pigs in blankets - high in fat, calorific (risk digestive upset or even pancreatitis)

Mince pies - high in fat, contains raisins which are toxic to dogs (along with grapes)

Gravy - generally high in fat if it contains the meat juices from a roast dinner

Red cabbage - spices and vinegar could cause a dietary upset

Roast potatoes - high in fat, calorific and could cause a dietary upset. Mashed or boiled potato is OK in moderation as long as no butter, milk or salt added

Chocolate - toxic for dogs, with toxicity dependent on level of a chemical called theobromine found in cocoa. The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more toxic it will be and even a small amount can lead to problems

Crisps - very fatty and calorific

Stuffing - onions can be harmful to dogs, and herbs or spices may cause a dietary upset

Christmas pudding - contains alcohol and raisins, both toxic ingredients for dogs