We all love to spoil our pets, especially during family celebrations like Christmas and New Year. Be warned though – so may of our festive foods are toxic, and even fatal for our pets. Every year, plenty of spoilt cats and dogs end up spending the holiday season in a hospital cage after bingeing on leftover human fare.
Here’s a list of the main culprit foods to avoid…
Christmas cake, pudding and anything containing dried fruits, raisins and grapes. Raisins, sultanas and grapes can contain a toxin that causes acute kidney failure. Not all pets are affected and the toxin is unknown, but if the toxicity occurs it can be deadly. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, loss of appetite and abdominal pain.
Chocolate. Chocolate contains Theobromine. This compound is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. It is toxic to dogs and to a lesser extent, to cats. Signs include panting, anxiety, excessive thirst and urination, seizures, coma and even death. Dark chocolate if 10 times more toxic than milk.
Our website has a handy chocolate toxicity calculator which allows you to work out what amount of chocolate is likely toxic for your size pet.
Onions and Garlic. These contain a chemical compound called thiosulphate, which can cause haemolytic anaemia in cats and dogs. All forms of onion are a problem. A 10 kilogram dog would need to consume a total of about 600-800 grams of onions to be affected and this can be consumed over 3 or 4 days (so 200 grams a day for 3 days will be significant).
Other foods to avoid include:
- Macadamia nuts (these can cause nervous system toxicity)
- Large amounts of liver, fat trimmings from the roast or Christmas ham (can cause a painful condition called pancreatitis)
- Raw fish and raw eggs
And if you think something is too old or slightly too off to eat yourself – don’t feed it to your pet! They are just as susceptible to gastroenteritis as we are.
Written By Dr Rachele Lowe, Mosman Vet