Bill North

What not to give your pet this Christmas

AFTER all the indulgences of Christmas, it can be tempting to let your pet in on the feast, but too much of a good thing is just as bad for our four-legged friends as it is for us humans.

The Australian Veterinary Association's Dr David Neck said pet owners should be careful about what leftovers are given to their pets over Christmas.

"Pets are an important part of the family but sharing the Christmas love by treating them to a slap-up human lunch is the sort of love that can hurt your furry friend," Dr Neck said.

"Vets treat many pets with digestive problems during the summer break. Pet owners need to be aware that there are some foods that we indulge in over the Christmas period that are just not good for our cats and dogs."

To avoid any health problems for our furry friends, here is a list of foods that shouldn't be consumed:

  • Chocolate: toxic to dogs and cats, even in small quantities.
  • Avocadoes: contains a dangerous toxin which can damage the heart, lungs and tissue of many different animals.
  • Turkey skin, pork crackling, sausages and other fatty meats: can lead to inflammation of the pancreas due to the high fat content.
  • Cooked bones: cooked and smoked bones can splinter, which can lead to choking or injury to gums and teeth, and splinters can cause problems in the digestive tract.
  • Onions and garlic: can cause gastric irritation and anaemia if they are consumed in large quantities.
  • Grapes and raisins: can cause acute kidney failure.
  • Macadamia nuts: can be toxic to dogs. Signs will likely occur within 12 hours and can include vomiting, hyperthermia and elevated heart rate.
  • Nutmeg: one of the lesser known poisonous foods. Dogs can suffer from tremors, seizures, issues with the nervous system and even death.
  • Xylitol: a sweetener now widely used in sugar free food such as cakes, muffins and bread.

It's not just food that can be dangerous to pets. Make sure your Christmas tree is secure, and can't be knocked down by an over-excited pet. Wires and batteries can also be a problem if they're within a paws' reach.

"The best treat you can give your pet over Christmas is quality pet treats from your vet clinic, pet store or supermarket that contain the right nutrients for their diet. Your pets, and their waistlines, will thank you," Dr Neck said.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic you should contact a veterinarian immediately.

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