Pet Health christmas-dinner

Published on December 13th, 2013 | by Debbie Martin


Festive Poison – Why Your Pets Should Never Share Your Christmas Dinner

When you are sitting around the dining room table this Christmas and enjoying a meal with your family, you might be tempted to give some of the leftovers to your four-legged friend with the pleading eyes who is begging for your attention at your feet. It’s understandable that you would want to include your pet in the festivities and some pet owners even feed their furry friends an entire Christmas dinner. However, giving your pet food from your Christmas table can be a lot more dangerous to their health than you might think.

Did you know that there are several ingredients in the traditional Christmas meal that could be very harmful to pets?

What Could be the Problem?

One of the main ingredients in gravy and stuffing is onions and garlic, to give the food more flavour. Unfortunately, both cats and dogs are sensitive to these seasonings and can be severely affected by them. The symptoms that can develop include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy and lack of appetite. Over time, the toxins will destroy your pet’s red blood cells, which can result in anaemia.

Another major danger is turkey bones. Your pet can easily accidently swallow one, which could get stuck inside them. If the bone splinters or breaks, it will have a sharp edge and can penetrate your pet’s intestines. This could be very dangerous for your pet and would involve very complex and expensive surgery to fix.

Also, it is important to avoid giving traditional Christmas pudding to your pets because raisins and sultanas are known to be toxic for both cats and dogs. Also, peanuts have been reported to cause agitation, hallucinations, muscles spasms and twitching. Macadamia nuts are also toxic and they can cause collapse, weakness and lethargy.

Many of the treats that we enjoy at Christmas are quiet fattening, too much so for pets to handle. If your pet eats too much fatty food, this can result in pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of their pancreas which can cause abdominal pain and even kidney failure, diabetes and heart problems.

Gastric Torsion

Another dangerous problem with feeding your pets a large Christmas dinner is the risk of gastric torsion. This is when the stomach dilates to accommodate a lot of food and gas, then twists around on itself and blocking blood flow and digestion. This is an extremely serious condition and it can be fatal – even with treatment. To avoid this happening, always feel your dog several small meals per day rather than one large one.

These are just a few of the many reasons why your pet shouldn’t join you enjoying a Christmas dinner. Instead, give them a brand new toy to play with or some pet treats if you want to make them feel included.


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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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