Be careful what you feed your pet this Christmas, warn vets

Published 19th Dec 2017
Updated 19 th Dec 2017

Roast turkey, pigs in blankets, cheese boards, prawn cocktail and mince pies – Christmas is the most gluttonous time of the year.

And although most of us like to stuff our faces during the festive season, the PDSA is warning pet owners not to give into those puppy dog eyes and think again before sharing their Christmas dinner with their pet.

“If a medium-sized dog were to eat a full roast turkey dinner, it would be the equivalent of a human eating three Christmas dinners in one go,” says Katy Orton, PDSA vet nurse.

“Not only can these unfamiliar, fatty foods cause upset tummies, but all those extra calories aren’t good for their waistlines either.

“However, another important issue is that many festive foods are actually poisonous to pets. Raisins, sultanas and onions are just three of the potentially poisonous foods which can affect cats and dogs, causing severe illness.

Gravy, for example, might be a staple with your Christmas dinner, but ingredients such as onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives can be toxic to cats and dogs.”

Katy adds: “Foods containing these items, such as stuffing, gravy, mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, should never be given to pets. The salt and fat levels of many festive foods are also unhealthy for them.”

Macadamia nuts and chocolate can also be toxic to pets. Even small amounts can affect your cat or dog’s health – and although the effect can vary, the consequences can be fatal with tremors, heart and breathing problems likely as well as vomiting and diarrhoea.

Cooked bones shouldn’t be given to pets either. They might seem like a treat, but bones can be a choking hazard and can splinter, causing serious internal damage to pets.

Bones can also get lodged in other parts of a pet’s digestive system, including the stomach and intestines – a potentially fatal problem which often requires life-saving surgery.

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If you do want to treat your pet to a bone, ensure it’s a rawhide bone from a pet shop.

And it’s not just festive foods the PDSA is warning against. After meals, walks should be taken with caution, as dogs should avoid going on vigorous walks after a big dinner.

The PDSA says there is some evidence that this can lead to the potentially fatal condition called a ‘gastric dilation volvulus (or “GDV”)’ – where the stomach inflates with gas and twists on itself.
So if you want to keep your pet safe this Christmas (and avoid a costly emergency trip to the vet) resist sharing your snacks with your four-legged friend and invest in a pet- friendly present from the pet shop instead.

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