Christmas is a time to celebrate with your loved ones, so it’s no wonder that we like to involve our furry family members in the festivities. But while we enjoy a variety of festive foods, pet owners have to be careful what they allow their four-legged companions to indulge in.
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “It can be very tempting to share Christmas treats with pets, but sadly a lot of food can be unsuitable or even toxic for them. It’s very important to know what you can and can’t feed your furry friend to keep them happy and healthy during the festive period.
“There are a number of foods and drinks that you’ll need to keep away from interested paws at Christmas. Mince pies and Christmas cake contain raisins and sultanas as well as alcohol, all of which can be toxic to pets. Chocolate is also poisonous for dogs and cats and can have fatal consequences. So when you’re indulging in Christmas treats, you should be really mindful to keep them out of paws’ way.
“As well as sweet treats, be careful with roast leftovers too. Stuffing and gravy often contain onion, leeks and garlic, which can be deadly to both cats and dogs. You should also watch out for bones in food. Not only are they a choking hazard but cooked bones can splinter easily and damage your pet’s throat or stomach, they could even cause gut blockages. A trip to the vet is certainly not how you want to spend the festive period.
Careful on the calories
“It’s not just toxic treats you need to watch out for, but unhealthy ones as well. Bacon, turkey skin, cream and cheese sauce to name a few are all high in fat that could leave your furry family member feeling very poorly and can in some cases cause vomiting or even the serious condition pancreatitis. If pets eat high calorie food regularly, it can soon lead to your pet becoming overweight.
“Your four-legged friend can still enjoy the festive celebrations without feeding them leftovers, such as a new toy to keep them entertained. Alternatively, treat them to a different flavour from their usual food (as long as they don’t have a super sensitive tummy) so they can safely taste something special while getting all the nutrients they need. For pooches, try taking them on a new walking route so they can enjoy new sights and smells.
“If you still really can’t resist the temptation to let your pet indulge in human food, you’ll need to know what parts of your roast dinner are safest. Avoid the rich dark meat and stick with lean parts of white meat that are plain and boneless. You can also treat your furry friend to boiled or steamed pet safe vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, broccoli and green beans. Whatever the food, always give your pet a small portion to avoid an upset tummy, this will also help to keep them at a healthy weight.
PDSA is the UK’s largest 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