What foods are poisonous to pets?
Should you panic if your dog has eaten chocolate or a mince pie? Are Brussel Sprouts evil (and not just for what they do to your innards)? Has your cat taken a fancy to your Poinsettia?
Many of the festive foods we bring into our homes over the Christmas period can turn out to be dangerous for our pets, though there are some ways they can join in the festive cheer without worry!
Christmas Pet Poisons
Mince pies and Christmas cake – Currants, sultanas and grapes can cause vomiting and kidney failure in dogs.
Chocolate and caffeine (such as coffee) can affect the central nervous system, the heart and muscles. Dark chocolate is more dangerous than white to dogs.
Stuffing can contain onions, garlic and chives both in whole and powdered forms. Members of the Alium (onion) family are known to destroy red blood cells in dogs.
Sweets often contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol which can cause in increase in insulin, resulting in low blood sugar and liver toxicity in dogs.
Alcohol is a toxin in pets just as much as it is in humans, and can result in alcohol poisoning.
Meat bones or fish bones can splinter and cause damage to a dog’s digestive tract.
Nuts can cause vomiting and depression in dogs, especially Macadamia nuts.
Bread contains yeast, which can cause bloating , pain, and potentially blocked.
Houseplants – we often bring fancy seasonal plants into the house over Christmas, but they can often be toxic to cats and dogs. Many parts of the plant can be toxic including leaves, fruits and bulbs. Always take a part of the plant with you to the vets for identification.
Antifreeze is highly toxic for cats and dogs, who like its sweet taste. If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze then you need to get them to the vets ASAP.
Other Christmas Hazards
Small toys and decorations can look fun to play with, but cause obstructions if swallowed. Keep your pet away from all the new toys littering the floor and from rogue Christmas decorations.
Human medication – with people visiting and potentially bringing their own human medications with them, make sure to keep them out of the way of pets who may mistake them for a tasty snack.
House guests can be the cause of distress for your pets (and, occasionally yourself!) due to the extra noise and activity they bring with them. Don’t expect your pet to be relaxed with all the intruders in their home – perhaps look at using FELIWAY (for cats) or ADAPTIL (for dogs) plug-ins to help them stay relaxed.
Fireworks can cause stress and anxiety for your pet at all times of year, but they are particularly prevalent around New Year.
Safe Christmas Treats for Pets
Natural dog or cat treats that you can by from your vets or pet store.
Turkey is a tasty low-fat meat for cats and dogs – just be sure its skinless and boneless.
Their usual diet is always the best option for tummies which can be easily upset.
Vegetables can be given to your dog (but not your cat – they only eat meat). Most green or mashed veg is fine for dogs, but without seasoning or butter. Say no to corn on the cob or anything from the onion family, including chives and leeks.
Walks and playtime will always be gratefully appreciated, and with all the family over its the perfect time to get out for a long walk (or, send someone else out with the dog whilst you enjoy some peace and quiet!).