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29 Nov

‘How I stopped my pawrents taking me to the Vet every Christmas’

Spike’s spills his wuff-kept secrets on how to navigate food traps during the holidays answering Dexters plea for help with over indulging at Christmas

Chocolate is toxic for dogs but Dexter just can’t help himself. Spike gives his advice on how to avoid ending up with an embarrassing trip to the Vet this holiday, thus letting the cat get prime spot by the fire.

dog christmas tree

Dear Spike

Christmas is just around the corner and to be frank I’m feeling pretty bah wuffbug about it all. What should to be a time of celebration in our house always ends up with me sat in a cold car park. I’ll explain. Every year the cat gets all the oohs and ahhs from the hoomans when she plays with the tree decorations while I get carted off to the vet. It’s so unfair. My small hoomans are very thoughtful and leave out their chocolate goodies on low lying tables for me to nibble. So I don’t understand why the pawrents get in such a frazzle when I indulge in a few treats. It’s not like I leave a mess, I always eat most of the wrapping (including the foil which makes my teeth tingle) and lick up every scrap of chocolate from the floor. Last year I had the indignity of spending Christmas afternoon in a state of induced vomiting outside. What can I do to enjoy the festive season by spending the afternoon asleep in front of the fire with a full happy belly in place of the cat.

Yours Dexter Dog

Spike's solutions by Spike the vizsla agony dog blog

Dear Dexter
Firstly lets deal with the cat. I suggest you lay in wait under the tree and the next time it plays with the baubles give a branch a nudge to topple it over. The cat will get the blame for knocking the tree down and you’ll be top dog again. Alternatively you might want to chew up an appropriate woolly blanket or jumper, discreetly leaving a trail to the cats bed. Then adopt puppy eyes. Your space in front of the fire is assured.
Secondly, small hoomans are the best. They know how much dogs love sharing treats (and bed space) however to avoid ending up at the vet I have a brilliant alternative. Every year pawrents cook a huge meal and they are always super stressed. I hover in the kitchen just ignoring the food, this lulls them into a false sense of security. I guarantee that at some point meat will be left unattended when everyone is in a flap. Make your move and quietly remove it from the worktop. Then go eat it by the cat’s bed. If you’re quick you can be in, out and fed in minutes. Then go and lie by the fire in a disinterested fashion. Works every time.
May you have more of a glutton than grinch Christmas this year. Ho ho ho.

Yours Spike the Vizsla

Epic food thief thanks to long legs and tongue

A (serious) word for pawrents from fur mom and Sami Trillo-Blanco expert in creating the most delicious dog treats at Harley Bear’s Coco Bites

Dear Dexter

I can confirm to you that once again Spike has forgotten his food antics last Christmas. He too shares the experience of humiliating induced vomiting in the vet car park after discovering and eating 2 large bars of continental dark chocolate (yes, the EXPENSIVE kind ahem Spike). What he didn’t realise is that chocolate, and especially dark chocolate, is toxic and can be fatal for dogs. Yup, you heard that right doggos. Fatal. Even when he ate a whole bar of Toblerone the year before, which is milk chocolate, he had to visit the vet.

As for stealing food from work surfaces I won’t even go there with the parsnips. All I will say is we know who ate them. As they re-emerged in the same form as they went in and I was present. Christmas is a time when homes are filled with chocolate, both in stockings and often on the tree. It’s important that dogs can still enjoy the holidays and not be tempted by food which is harmful.  

With a sense of smell significantly more powerful than humans dogs will naturally search for and eat food, especially if it is in easy reach.

Thankfully there are some specialist dog foodies out there who can advise us on alternatives for our pets. Trotting Dog spoke to Sami Trillo-Blanco who cooks up the most delicious dog treats at Harley Bear’s Coco Bites to get her expert advice this Christmas.


Fur Mom
(and Santa’s best friend who also loves cats)

harley bears coco bites chocolate christmas

If dogs can’t eat chocolate is there a safe alternative?

Yes! Coconut oil is particularly delicious for dogs and has lots of health benefits. We began making coconut oil based treats for our rescue Staffy Harley whose coat was not in great condition. Our vet recommended it so we experimented with different dog biscuits and treats, eventually creating our original flavour Harley Bear Coco Bites.

Do your treats include a special ‘dog chocolate’ flavouring?

harleys coco bites chocolate dogsWe only use Brewer’s Yeast for flavouring. This is also rich in protein and nutrients, an ideal supplement to help to improve and maintain your animal’s health. One of the main constituents is protein which is in a form that is easily digestible to any animals and can help with growth and recovery. The prebiotic nature of brewer’s yeast can also help to improve gut flora and this will have a beneficial effect on any digestive ailments and can help to relieve anxiety caused by poor digestion. Brewer’s yeast also contains many of the B complex vitamins as well as being a rich source of chromium. These enable our pup to breakdown and more easily digest the proteins, fats and carbohydrates in its diet thereby giving you more nutrition from the same amount of food. Brewer’s yeast is often recommended by holistic vets to help strengthen dogs’ immune systems.

How many treats can I give my dog?

Small dogs such as Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Boston Terriers, Miniature Poodles and Dachshunds should be given around a 1/4 of a teaspoon of coconut oil daily. The mini hearts and tiny teddies are perfect for these size of dogs. Larger dogs should be given a teaspoon of coconut oil per 10lbs of weight. One teaspoon equates to one of the regular size paw treats. Is there a sell or eat by date on your treats? There is nothing scarier than looking at a bag of treats in the supermarket and seeing a “treat by” date on them over a year in the future. At Harley Bear’s our treats are made to  order and have a treat by date of 6 months or 2 months if you have the dried fruit coins. We do make seasonal treats like our Howl-o-ween Howlers which had fresh pumpkin in them and they had an immediate treat by date.

Can I give coconut treats to my other pets?

You can give our treats to other pets – including that darn cat! Our customers are mostly puppas but we also have kitty-kats, guinea pigs, ferrets and rats who enjoy their Coco Bites.

What should I look out for when buying chocolate dog ‘treats’ in general?

The main thing to remember with chocolate treats is that they are just that – a treat! Carob is the best alternative for dogs but most of the “choccy drops” on the market are OK as long as they are given in moderation. Always make sure they are free from theobromine – this is a bitter alkaloid found in the cacao plant which is lethal to dogs.

What are your tips to keep dogs safe from chocolate poisoning at Christmas?

– Always keep chocolate away from curious pets by storing it in tins, especially if you have children.

– Remember not to wrap up chocolate and put it under the tree, as a gift. Dogs can still sniff it out and they are adept at opening presents!

– Don’t add any food treats to your tree as decorations. Even if you choose non-chocolate

treats your dog may pull down the tree injuring himself or others or causing more serious electrical damage if you use lights.

– If you love a bit of internet shopping, be sure not to order any chocolate products that can fit through the letterbox – Sainsbury’s recently came under fire for sending out free samples of chocolate to homes they knew had dogs!

– Be sure to teach any little ones the dangers of sharing their Christmas chocolate with their furry friend.

To see what yummy chocolate treat alternatives you can buy for your dog this year hop over to Harley Bear’s Coco Bites or drop Sami a question at Harley Bear’s Coco Bites on facebook.


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