In the United States it is fruitcake. In Great Britain it is Christmas
pudding. In either case it is a traditional holiday treat packed with
dried fruit, often soaked in rum, and a fondness maligning both runs
rampant through both cultures. There is a real reason to be wary of both
and it is stirring up a controversy in England right now -- and it is not the reason you many think.
Christmas pudding, or plum pudding as it is also often called, is not pudding in the American sense of the word. It is actually closer to fruitcake, a flour mixture filled with spices, sugar, and dried fruit. The pudding is placed into a bag and boiled for a long time. At serving time it is traditional to decorate it with a sprig of holly on top. Also like fruitcake it is something not everyone is crazy about.
An advertisement for Morrison's Supermarket has veterinarians in Britain in an uproar. In the ad a cute boy is anxious to avoid having to actually eat that slice of Christmas pudding just set in front of him. So he makes a quick hand-off to the dog under the table. Fortunately the dog is smarter than that and hides the offending dessert in a potted plant.
While the dog does not ingest the "pud," vets are concerned that the ad sends the message that it is okay to feed this to the dog. However, the dried fruits in the pudding can cause renal failure in dogs. It has long been known that raisins are toxic for dogs. Dogs should also not be taking in alcohol and sugar.
Morrison's countered that they had consulted a veterinarian prior to filming the ad and had a vet on the set during filming. The vets had assured them that a small amount would not hurt the dog, especially for a one-off incident. It would take quite a lot for a dog to get very sick.
Dogs who do manage to get into the cake or pudding should get veterinary help immediately. Without help it is possible for the animal to to become sick enough to die, depending on how much was eaten. If you are unsure of how much your dog has eaten, err on the side of safety and see medical attention.
When in doubt of the safety of human food being shared with dogs, only feed them food and treats specifically created for dogs..