Oxfordshire Branch

Christmas food for cats and dogs

Can we be honest for a moment? Christmas for most of us is about overindulging in our favourite treats! But, for cats and dogs, a lot of what you’ll find in abundance in your home at this time of year, is poisonous or dangerous to your pets.

Chocolate - as tempting as it might be to share your chocolate orange (other chocolate treats are available!), please don’t. Chocolate contains theobromine which cannot be metabolised by dogs. If your pup loves a little something chocolatey, there are plenty of dog friendly versions on the market to choose from.

Mince pies and Christmas pudding - these festive favourites contain raisins and sultanas, which even in small amounts can cause kidney disfunction or failure. Contact your vet as quickly as possible in the event of ingestion.

Onions and onion gravy - It can be tempting to give your pets a taste of Christmas dinner, but if you’ve got onions in it, they can cause a breakdown of red blood cells, leading to anaemia. As a side note, many gravies contain high levels of salt, especially instant granules, so save some meat stock for your furry friend instead.

Grapes - Who doesn’t like a grape on the cheeseboard? Cats and dogs both adore cheese, so be careful to keep those inquisitive taste buds well away in case of accidental ingestion. Grapes, like raisins and sultanas can have dire effects.

Macadamia nuts - The nut that is highest in fat, macadamias can lead to gastrointestinal upset causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Not the Boxing Day you’d pictured for yourself…

Crisps - As with gravy, most crisps are very high in sodium, and high in fat. If your dog has eaten crisps, you are likely to see diarrhoea, vomiting and possibly seizures.

Avocado - It’s a classic addition to a prawn cocktail and many cold turkey salads, but every part of the fruit contains Persin, which again can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Alcohol - Cats and dogs absorb alcohol much quicker than human bodies. While we’ve never heard of pets intentionally drinking alcohol, if it’s part of a creamy cocktail, or spills on their fur, you might have a problem. Alcohol is highly toxic and can cause very serious seizures.

Bones - Cooked bones can easily splinter and create all kinds of nasty problems, from the mouth right the way through the digestive system. Raw bones carry a bacteria that could make your cat or dog poorly, but you also risk broken teeth, constipation and digestive blockages from raw meat.

We don’t want to leave our pets out at Christmas, after all, they’re a very important part of our families, so here we have some recommendations to make sure they’re involved in the celebrations.

What can I feed my pet at Christmas?

Please save them some (lean) cooked meat from the roast! Cooked or raw vegetables are also very tasty, but might not be as nutritious for animals as we humans, so keep up with their regular food too. If you are tempted to offer a cheeky pig in a blanket, bear in mind that by proportion this amount of fat constitutes far more of their recommended daily calories, so don’t get carried away!

The RSPCA have some delicious recipes, accompanied by YouTube videos, that you can cook up in time for the big day. Have a look at these:

Honey and banana dog biscuits

Homemade cat treats

Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas!