Unanderra vet warns Christmas ham, turkey or fruitcake could prove fatal for pets

Giving your dog or cat a treat from the Christmas table could prove fatal. Illawarra vets are warning ham, turkey, grapes, dried fruit and Christmas pudding could leave your pooch in the emergency room. Picture: Desiree Savage

Giving your dog or cat a treat from the Christmas table could prove fatal. Illawarra vets are warning ham, turkey, grapes, dried fruit and Christmas pudding could leave your pooch in the emergency room. Picture: Desiree Savage

A South Coast vet is warning to steer clear of giving Fido or Kitty bits of Christmas ham or turkey as festive treats could prove fatal for pets.

Unanderra Veterinary Clinic’s principal vet Rod Batten said the coveted Christmas ham was one of the big tickets items that could harm them.

“Particularly the bones, because the bones they can’t digest properly and they cause bowel obstructions and all sorts of problems. The meat is mainly a problem because of the fat content and that can lead to gut upsets and liver damage,” he said.

The other two worst offenders for leaving a furry friend in an emergency situation were grapes, dried fruit and chocolate.

“Anything that has dried fruit, so fruit cake and puddings,” said Dr Batten. “Grapes, raisins, sultanas are all out as they have the potential to be toxic.”

He said it was unknown whether the skin or the flesh of the grape was the issue, but dried grapes were worse because of the concentration and could kill them. Meantime chocolate was unfortunately the other danger - especially for dogs - as it can affect their heart.

“There isn’t actually an anti-dote as such. We do treat them and try and get the stuff out of their system but there’s not a specific antidote,” said Dr Batten. “It’s also one of those really unpredictable poisonings, you get some dogs that eat a huge amount and it will have no affect at all then other dogs who’ll eat a tiny bit of chocolate and gets really crook.”

Other big no-nos on the Australian Veterinary Association’s not so pawsome list of foods were avocados, turkey skin, pork crackling, sausages and other fatty meats, onions and garlic, macadamia nuts, nutmeg and the artificial sweetener Xylitol (widely used in sugar free cakes, muffins and bread).

Dr Batten said most problems were predominately with dogs, though all animals seemed to love the artificial glitz of Christmas with many brought in from eating baubles, tinsel and decorations that rattle.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic you should contact a veterinarian immediately.

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