Poll reveals three in five pet owners plan to feed their pets leftovers from festive feast

A bulldog needed emergency treatment – after munching his way through a pile of garlic bought for Christmas dinner.

Scavenger Barkley was rushed into our pet emergency clinic in Worcester after he got his paws on a tub containing around 20 cloves of garlic, as well as olives and tomatoes.

Barkley’s owner Stephanie Saenz realised something was wrong when she came home from work and found the tub behind Barkley’s bed, rather than on the kitchen worktop where she’d left it.

Image of bulldog for Vets Now case study on garlic toxicity
Barkley was seemingly fine but owner, Stephanie, was concerned when she discovered that garlic is highly toxic to dogs.

While the three-year-old seemed fine, Stephanie became concerned when she Googled dogs and garlic and discovered it’s highly toxic to pets.

Realising time was of the essence, Stephanie, from Worcester, rushed Barkley to our clinic in the town.

Our emergency vets carried out a range of tests to assess his condition and he was given activated charcoal to absorb the toxins in his blood.

Stephanie said: “Barkley is a scavenger and he’s always trying to eat things he shouldn’t.

“He’s quite big as well – so that helps him reach up to the worktops. In the past, he’s eaten a whole tin of Quality Street as well as a tub of butter.

“But I never had him down as a vegetable thief. When I saw that all the garlic had gone from the box of stuff we were going to be using for Christmas cooking, I thought ‘Oh no.’

“I had an idea that garlic wasn’t great for dogs – but I didn’t realise quite how serious it was until I began Googling.”

Garlic belongs to the Allium family, which also includes onion, chives, and leeks, and is poisonous to dogs and cats.

It’s considered to be around five times as potent as onions and both ingredients are often used in Christmas dinners.

Despite this, a poll carried out by Vets Now found 60% of more than 1300 respondents are planning to feed their dogs leftovers from their Christmas dinner.

Laura Playforth, professional standards director at Vets Now, said: “Stephanie did absolutely the right thing in bringing Barkley in as soon she realised what had happened.

“For humans, garlic can be good – but for dogs it’s toxic and can cause gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“In severe cases, it can also lead to anaemia and organ damage.

“We see a lot of pets at this time of year who’ve ended up seriously ill after stealing Christmas treats or even just eating the leftovers from Christmas dinner.

“Never assume that just because a food is ok for humans it will be ok for your pet and always keep potentially dangerous foods well out of reach.”

Stephanie added: “We’ve had Barkley since he was eight weeks old and I would have been devastated if something had happened to him. He’s part of our family.

“But luckily the worst thing that happened was him getting his face covered in black powder from the charcoal he was given!

“We haven’t decided what Barkley will be getting for his Christmas dinner – probably a bit of turkey. But he definitely won’t be getting any more garlic!”

Image of bulldog for Vets Now case study on garlic toxicity.
Barkley's Christmas dinner this year will definitely not contain any garlic.

The pet emergency clinic in Worcester is one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and hospitals open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays, including Christmas and New Year.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and a veterinary nurse on site at all times.