While we all want to treat our pets at Christmas, when it comes to food, many festive favourites can seriously harm them. As tempting as those puppy dog eyes may be, Christmas dinner can actually put our pets in serious danger.
In order to avoid an emergency trip to the vet this Christmas, PDSA is advising owners to resist the temptation to give human food to pets and offer them a healthy pet treat, a winter walk or a new toy instead.
PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “Our pets’ digestive systems can react badly to sudden diet changes, particularly to the fatty foods found in Christmas dinner, such as roast vegetables or pigs in blankets. These foods can lead to very upset stomachs and, for owners, a Christmas Day spent cleaning up after them.”
Some festive foods even contain ingredients that are poisonous to our pets. Nina added: “Raisins, alcohol, some nuts and onions are a few of the ingredients that can potentially poison cats and dogs, causing severe illness that can be fatal in some cases. Foods containing these items, such as stuffing, gravy, mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, should never be given to pets. If they do get their paws into them, contact your vet straight away even if it’s only small amounts.”
Some pets can help themselves to our festive treats by raiding the bin, sneaking into cupboards and even licking the dishes in your loaded dishwasher while your back is turned; so it’s important to keep festive food well out of your pets reach. Irresistible leftovers such as bones can also be a potential hazard for pets.
Nina said: “Bones shouldn’t be given to pets as they can be a choking hazard or, if chewed and then swallowed, can splinter, causing internal damage. Whole or parts of bones can also get lodged in the stomach and intestines – a potentially fatal problem that often requires emergency surgery. Even if these life-threatening problems are avoided, tiny fragments of bones can gather in the intestines causing constipation which, in the worst cases, can require surgery to remove.”
As well as posing an immediate risk to our pets’ health, the excess calories aren’t good for them either and can contribute to expanding waistlines.
Nina added: “When it comes to showing our four-legged friends how much we love them, giving them some more fuss, attention or an extra walk is a far better way to show our love for our pets – and they will be just as grateful for the extra strokes too.”
Download your free Christmas survival guide at www.pdsa.org.uk/xmasguide.
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk