Vet warns of Christmas foods that can be fatal to pets

·3-min read

The festive season is synonymous with delicious food and drinks. However, vets are warning pet owners the foods they enjoy may not bode so well for their furry family members.

"Unfortunately a lot of the foods that we love to eat around the festive season can do quite a bit of harm to our pets," Dr Lindsay Evans, from Greencross Vets told Yahoo News Australia.

"This can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and in some cases they might need to be hospitalised for a few days or can even be fatal."

A dog looking up at the bench where there are Christmas cookies sitting.
Dr Evans said to keep Christmas food away from pets. Source: Getty

Pets can't handle rich foods like humans do 

Dr Evans said slipping your pets some leftover ham or fruitcake can result in pancreatitis.

"It is quite a big one that we see this time of the year and so that can be caused by eating foods that are fairly high in fat that our pets don't cope with the same way that we do," she explained.

It's not only the main course that can upset your pet, with Dr Evans warning that foods found in stuffing and side dishes, such as onion and garlic, can also cause harm. 

"[These foods] can cause a breakdown of the red blood cells, so anaemia, and make them quite lethargic and again, that can make them really sick."

In terms of sweet treats, chocolate is just as poisonous for animals as you may have heard.

"Chocolate can also cause toxicity and so that can lead to, again, vomiting or diarrhoea but it can also cause sort of seizures, heart issues, and death if it's really high doses," Dr Evans said.

"Raisins are a bit of a surprising one as well, which are toxic to dogs and that can cause kidney issues so they can't process all those sort of bodily wastes in there and that can make them quite sick."

Three vets in a clinic with a small brown dog.
Dr Evans said prevention is the best thing to stop your pet from needing emergency care this festive season. Source: Supplied

Keep Christmas decorations away from pets

Dr Evans reminded pet owners it's not just food that can harm pets.

"They can also get access to Christmas presents and balls and things under the tree that they think might be nice to chew on and that can cause obstructions," she explained.

"It's also quite a hot time of the year so we can get things like heat stroke, as well as snakes and ticks in certain areas as well."

She suggests making sure decorations are out of reach from your pets and to supervise them.

"Particularly young puppies and kittens," she added. 

"They're probably the highest risk ones because they are so curious and wanting to explore everything. To them, it's just fun and exciting things and they're not aware of the danger."

Dr Evans reminds pet owners to feed them food suitable for animals and if you are worried to take them to the emergency centre as soon as they can.

"Just be prepared for a bit of a wait over the Christmas period, similar to if you are in a human emergency ward as well," she said. 

"Prevention is the best thing."

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