Serving up a treat: five pet-safe foods from the Iftar and Suhoor table
As the Holy Month of Ramadan begins, the RSPCA is offering advice on pet-friendly foods to treat four-legged friends outside of fasting hours, for those who follow or are connected with the Muslim faith.
Observing with friends, family and plenty of prayer is the essence of Ramadan - and for most of us, pets love to turn up for the food too.
Whilst it's important for our pets to enjoy a balanced diet of good quality specialist food, the occasional bite of an extra tasty treat now and again is a lovely way to let our pets know we love them.
The RSPCA has gathered the top five tasty foods for pets from the Iftar or Suhoor table, so pets can enjoy a treat safely this month.
Why not give them a taste of these treats by mashing them into a Kong or puzzle feeder to keep them occupied? This can also be a good way to distract pets from becoming overwhelmed if you are hosting family or friends for Iftar.
Top five treats from the Iftar or Suhoor table:
- Plain chicken or lamb used to make koftas or kebabs can be a tasty treat for cats in small amounts. Watch out for added spices, seasonings or oil that might cause stomach upsets.
- A little taste of boneless, plain fish can be a delicious treat for cats or dogs.
- Raw vegetables, such as broccoli, greens and carrot tops are suitable for rabbits, as well as fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and mint.
- Dogs can enjoy some types of fruit, such as mango, banana, blueberries, apple and watermelon. Owners could even see if they enjoy a couple of small dates as an extra special treat!
- Spare fresh berries from the fruit bowl are a tasty treat for domestic parrots, as are plain nuts such as almonds. The occasional date can be fed as a one-off extra special treat for parrots too.
Whilst lots of food can be enjoyed by pets and wildlife there are some to be wary of to ensure festive plans don't involve a costly trip to the vet.
Unhealthy food for pets
- Pakora - onions are toxic to dogs and cats - so make sure they're not able to snatch a bite!
- Milk - don't be tempted to treat the cat to a saucer of milk! It can cause stomach upsets.
- Raisins and grapes - these are highly poisonous to dogs.
- Carrots and potatoes - carrots are very high in sugar and contrary to popular belief, they are not a good choice of food for rabbits to eat. Potatoes can also cause stomach problems for rabbits, so it is best for owners to avoid these completely.
- Chocolate - watch out for dogs and cats sneakily raiding boxes of chocolates or the kids' countdown calendars.
If owners think pets have eaten something that might be toxic, it is vital to contact a vet ASAP, as early treatment is always preferable and can avoid further complications.
Leftovers? Don't forget wildlife!
If you don't have any pets, wildlife in the garden or local area can still benefit from the celebrations! Birds can enjoy potatoes as well as crumbled up fruit cake. Unsalted nuts, savoury snacks and grated leftover cheese can also be eaten by birds.
- Plain cooked rice can be sprinkled in the garden or bird feeder for hungry wild birds.
- Cooked couscous can also be scattered to feed birds.
- Chapatis can be finely chopped and left in the garden for hungry birds.
- Vegetable peelings can be composted to make great garden fertiliser which is perfect for encouraging healthy soil for insects to thrive.
- Badgers and foxes that visit gardens can enjoy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and peas.
The RSPCA is calling on animal lovers to roll up their sleeves and take action for wildlife as part of The Big Help Out, a national volunteering initiative that will mark King Charles III's Coronation celebrations on May 8.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals in desperate need of care, please donate online or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.