Christmas dinner and pets needs serious consideration about toxic foods

Christmas Dinner and Pets: What They Can and Can’t Eat


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Christmas is a time to relax with our nearest and dearest. If your dogs and cats aren’t part of the ‘close family’ umbrella then…umm…you’re doing it wrong! Loads of us will put a little pet pressie under the tree or give our furkids a special treat for dinner. Some even invite them to join the family meal with all the trimmings. But wait – before you make a Christmas dinner for pets, here’s the lowdown on foods bad for dogs and cats.

Plus, what we reckon they’d love to have dished up on their plate.

Christmas dangers for pets include tinsel

Christmas dinner for dogs

Let’s start with the canine side of things. Most dogs eat pretty much anything given the opportunity, so a Christmas dinner plate is full of delicious temptations for dogs. Ok, except the brussels sprouts…

You’d be forgiven for thinking you could simply dish up an extra plate for your dog, but it’s not quite that easy.

As much as they might try to convince you otherwise, some of our indulgences don’t make a great Christmas dinner for dogs. Find out why below…

Can dogs eat turkey, chicken, or beef?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked turkey, chicken and beef as long as they’re not seasoned with the likes of garlic and onion. Remember to give them skinless and boneless pieces, too.

Skin is very fatty, so it can cause digestive issues and isn’t healthy for your dog. Bones, especially once cooked, can splinter and cause serious internal damage.

Foods bad for dogs when it comes to meat are cured and salted items like ham. The high sodium content is bad for them in large amounts and can cause bloat.  And as mentioned above, dogs also don’t digest very fatty meats that well. So they might have an upset stomach enjoying your Christmas roast pork or ham plate.

In more severe cases, very fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs and cats. Stick to lean meats like chicken. Even fish is ok, as long as you’ve removed the bones!

Can dogs eat gravy?

Gravy is the best part of Christmas dinner if you ask us. Your dog might love the smell and taste of it (can you blame them?) but it’s better to leave the gravy off. Gravy is very salty and fatty. It also often uses onion powder, which can be toxic.

However, there’s lots of special dog gravy on the market that you could add to their chicken.

What about the Christmas veggies?

Veggies should be fine for your dog’s Christmas dinner, as long as they aren’t heavily seasoned or doused in oil. Dogs are omnivores rather than just carnivores, so vegetables are actually good for them too! They can tolerate almost all of our vegetables including carrots, broccoli, peas, green beans, and cauliflower.

Just remember to rinse or wipe off excess butter or oil.

Christmas dinner and pets means thinking carefully about what they can east

Christmas dinner for cats

Our feline family members are aaaalll about the roast meat this Christmas. We all know that cats can be a bit – ahem – aloof, but have you ever tried to give a cat some broccoli? Let’s just say that disgusted is an understatement.

Here’s what your cat is hoping (expecting, who are we kidding) to get on their plate this Christmas.

Can cats eat Christmas dinner meat?

Cats are obligate carnivores, so you can bet they’re going straight to the meat. Your cat will adore you forever (ok, ok, for five minutes) if you share some of your roast turkey with them. The same rule for dogs applies to cats too when it comes to a meaty Christmas dinner for pets. They’ll be perfect with turkey or chicken, and can even have a bit of cooked beef.

Stick to boneless and skinless to keep the fat and salt levels down, and don’t dunk it in sauce or seasoning before you serve it to them. On a silver platter, naturally…because that’s what cats expect from their human servants.

Watch this PD Pet Care Vlog with Dr Cath Watson for more on Christmas dinner dos and don’ts for pets:

What about some cream for their dessert?

It can be tempting to feed your cats milk or cream for a special occasion. The saying ‘’you look like the cat who got the cream” didn’t come from nowhere! But actually, cats are lactose intolerant and it’s among the foods bad for dogs and cats. They’ll definitely enjoy their milk or cream, but they won’t digest it well (read about cat milk here). Best to stick to water for the cats’ Christmas drink.

Still not sure what else you might be able to safely feed your pet from the table? Here’s a guide to things that can poison your pet – so you know what to put away safely in the cupboard.

Christmas dinner for pets – what to avoid

Chocolate is not only one of the foods bad for dogs and cats, it’s toxic! So while you can tuck into some after dinner (or at 10am 😉), keep it out of reach of your pets.

The same goes for mince pies, Christmas pudding, and fruit cakes. Raisins and sultanas are toxic to both dogs and cats. And, as we said, hold the cream too.

As mentioned, onions and garlic are both toxic to pets as well. That means any stocks, sauces, or powders containing onions or garlic are to be avoided. While garlic has to be ingested in reasonably large amounts to cause toxicity, onions can be very harmful even in small amounts.

If you want to spoil your pet without something a little different, why not steer clear of food and read about five pampering pet care products for their stocking or our guide to ethical Christmas gifts for your pet?

Pets as Christmas gifts like this cat must go to the right home

Christmas dinner for your pet gone wrong?

If your pet just can’t resist the temptation and somehow gets hold of the chocolate sauce or stuffing, pet insurance can help. Accidents happen, but finances shouldn’t be what stops you treating your pet. Check out our cat insurance and dog insurance to be well covered this Christmas and beyond.

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