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Pet owners must take care their cats and dogs don't over-indulge in rich and fatty foods this festive season and end up in hospital, the RSPCA warns.

The animal welfare organisation warns that chocolate, macadamia nuts and onions can be especially harmful to pets while meat like pork and ham can cause pancreatitis which usually requires hospitalisation.

RSPCA NSW chief veterinarian Magdoline Awad said common Christmas fare could be the most dangerous for pets to consume.

"Chocolate can be especially toxic to animals," she said.

The first symptoms of chocolate poisoning are vomiting, diarrhoea, increased urination and nausea, with extreme cases progressing to cardiac arrhythmia and seizures.

Dr Awad said macadamia nut poisoning symptoms included weakness, tremors, abdominal pain, inability to walk, vomiting and increased heart rate.

"Whilst it might seem nice to share some Christmas treats with your pet over the festive period, pets, just like people, can also over-indulge so it's important to remember not to over-feed your animals," she said.

Dr Awad said if pets had a little too much Christmas feasting, their owners should not give them Panadol for pain relief because its active ingredient, paracetamol, could be toxic to animals, especially cats.

The West Australian

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