Warning over stuffing your pets with 'toxic' turkey at Christmas
Pet owners who dish up a plate of Christmas dinner for their cats and dogs could be inadvertently poisoning them, according to the RSPCA.
A quarter of the 867 people surveyed by the British animal charity, who said they would give their pets a festive treat, were unaware many traditional Christmas trimmings are toxic to cats and dogs.
Last year, more than a dozen dogs were admitted to RSPCA hospitals after being treated to Christmas dinner by owners.
Angela Grigg, manager at Putney Animal Hospital in London, said: "We had 15 cases on December 26 as a result of people giving their dogs their own Christmas dinner with turkey and stuffing.
"Turkey is very rich and stuffing contains onions which is not good for dogs. It caused them to have vomiting and diarrhoea and they became dehydrated. One or two of them were so severe they had to go on drips.
"Owners told us they were giving their dogs Christmas dinner as a treat but some human food can be toxic for dogs and in extreme cases could cause death.
"All of these cases were completely avoidable. If you want to give your dog a nice treat at Christmas take them for a lovely walk, or if you want to give them something to eat buy them a special treat especially designed for dogs."
Foods that cause illness in animals include grapes, raisins and sultanas, which can cause kidney failure; and chocolate, which contains theobromine and can cause fits, comas and heart failure, the charity said.
The survey also revealed that 31pc of animals had opened or destroyed Christmas presents, 26pc of owners said their pet had pulled down the Christmas tree, 17pc had eaten Christmas decorations and 17pc had helped themselves to Christmas dinner.