It's that time of year again where we all indulge that little bit more with delicious Christmas treats stocking the shelves of supermarkets across the country.

And for those with four-legged friends, it's not just ourselves that we give that extra bit on a cold winter night.

Lots of festive treats are now hitting the shelves for dogs and puppies, with many already picking up a few of the brightly coloured items.

And many of them are as Christmassy as you'd hoped for, shaped like gingerbread men, candy canes, stars, Christmas trees, snowmen, and festively coloured bones.

They look fun - but are they safe?

You'll often see warnings on social media advising against such treats.

Some put this down to the chemicals used to clean and colour them, such as hydrogen peroxide and sodium sulphide. Chemicals are also used to rid these products of nasty smells.

Potentially harmful for dogs, not only are they said to cause intestinal blockages, they could also become a choking hazard and slippery when wet, you'd likely find it extremely hard to remove them if your dog starts to choke.

Many dog owners might already be cautious of these products but it could be the good intentions of your friends and relatives wanting to buy your dog a gift that presents the problem.

What vets think of these festive treats

We asked Rodney Zasman, resident vet at Lily's Kitchen, on these goodies and whether these festive rawhide snacks really a treat for your dog's digestive system.

"Christmas is a time of fun for the whole family, including pets, and of course, treat foods play a big role in the festivities," he said.

"With so many puppies adopted this year, especially, there’s bound to be even bigger levels of excitement.

"When choosing a treat for your dog at Christmas – or indeed at any time of the year – it’s always recommended to check the ingredients and feeding instructions, and where possible, feed according to life stage.

"Unfortunately, many of these festive treats don’t provide this important information. The best advice is always to feed your pet foods and treats which are made with natural, proper ingredients, so that you can be confident your pet is eating quality food free of fillers and other nasties."

He also added: "And while pet parents may use Christmas as an excuse to gorge on lots of delicious (and often unhealthy) food, pets benefit from routine and therefore should still follow a stricter regime to avoid wreaking havoc with their digestive systems! Keep your pup on their usual food where possible, with the odd treat to keep them feeling festive."

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