SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

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Toxic food for pets

Our cat Sasha loves to share the delicious food we enjoy at Christmas, but someone told me that some of the things we like to eat can be toxic to pets! Please provide some guidance on what we can and can’t feed her.

Many common treats and snacks we humans enjoy as part of our holiday celebration – including avocado, macadamia nuts, ham, grapes and raisins – can make our pets sick and in serious cases can sometimes even be fatal. It’s important to know that ignoring your pet’s pleading face is actually in their best interest. Dogs and cats digest and metabolise food differently to humans, and have different food sensitivities, so what might be perfectly fine for us can be poisonous to them. Even pet owners who are careful about what they feed their pet need to be aware of the places their pet might find a feast. Handbags, gifts under the tree, and food left on tables or in rubbish bags are common places where pets will often steal foods that can make them sick. Pets can get into food they’re not supposed to eat very quickly, so we have to be extra vigilant at this time of the year. Most people know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but there are many other popular festive ingredients that can be very dangerous

for your pet. Festive foods that are toxic for dogs and cats include Christmas cake and pudding, pork and ham, onion and garlic, nuts, and alcoholic drinks. Although Christmas is the season of giving, there are plenty of other ways to spoil your pets. You can freeze pet food or put it into toys so your pets can gradually extract the food. A walk or games in the garden after a big meal is also a great way to make sure your pet gets the attention they need – and to fight your own after-meal lethargy! Please remember: if you think your pet has eaten something dangerous, you should immediately call your local vet clinic.

Have you got a question you’d like Dr Sarah Zito to answer? Please email it to animalsvoice@spca.nz and it could be chosen for our next column.

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