It’s the meal we humans look forward to all year and you’d be forgiven for wanting to share some of your Christmas dinner morsels with your pet – it is the season of giving after all!
However, disregarding the rules on some of the delicious titbits and treats you share could be doing your four-legged friend more harm than good…
The pièce de résistance of every Christmas dinner, your furry friend can enjoy small quantities of your turkey as long as all pieces are boneless, skinless and free from gravy or other marinades which can upset your pet’s stomach.
A super tasty side dish, again only feed your pet potatoes in small quantities – as they are starchy – and ensure they are plain with nothing else added, such as butter and salt.
Carrots, parsnips, green beans, courgettes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, spinach and cauliflower not only make yummy Christmas dinner trimmings but all great for your pet. Make sure you rinse off any excess butter or oil before giving to your furry friend and always feed in small quantities.
Chocolate and sweets
Notoriously dangerous for pets, chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that if ingested in large quantities can be fatal. Be especially vigilant with your advent calendar as cats and dogs can easily open the doors and gobble the sweet treats inside.
Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas
Extremely toxic to both cats and dogs, even very small amounts of these fruits can cause pets to experience vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases kidney failures. Mince pies, Christmas pudding, fruit cake and stollen all contain one or more of these dried fruits as well as alcohol – another huge no-go – so be sure to keep them away from your pets and covered if left on a table or work service.
As well as being a general choking hazard, once animal bones have been cooked they become extremely brittle and can splinter causing damage to your pet’s throat, stomach and intestines. Ensure there are none left in the meat you feed your cat or dog.
Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives are all dangerous to cats and dogs due to a substance that can damage your pet’s red blood cells and cause anaemia. Stuffing contains both onion and garlic so avoid slipping this into your pet’s dinner bowl too. Rhubarb is also very poisonous to pets.
Despite being a classic Christmas time nibble, macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic to pets and can seriously affect their digestive, muscle and nervous systems. Keep small bowls and treats with nuts in them – such as fruit cake – well out of reach!
Herbs & spices
Although great for adding some flavour to your Christmas dinner, herbs, spices and gravy on titbits can upset your furry friend’s stomach. Nutmeg in particular is very poisonous for dogs and if too much is consumed can damage their nervous system.
Feeding your pet dairy products is open for debate – some pets are lactose intolerant however an active bacteria in yoghurt can act as a probiotic and help your pet’s digestive system. Like all human foods, just feed your pet in small quantities.
Fruits with pips & stones
All the pips and stones of apples, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and apricots contain cyanide which is poisonous pets. There is also always a danger of intestinal blockage with pips and stones, especially large ones in fruits such as avocado.
Pigs in blankets
Arguably one of the most delicious sides at Christmas dinner, pigs in blankets are (unsurprisingly) very fatty, salty and too rich for our pet’s stomachs. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis in pets and lead to long term problems.
The key is to feed everything to your pet in moderation, including the foods that are safe for them to enjoy. If your pet does ingest any of our Christmas don’ts, consult your vet as soon as you can.