VET’S VIEW: Beware of pets stealing your festive food

editorial image

IT was the smell that gave him away.

Kirtley had always had a penchant for vegetables, ever since he’d been fed raw carrots as a puppy, which provided a satisfyingly crunchy treat to help his developing teeth. So, he was the obvious suspect when the stalk of Brussels sprouts, brought specially for Christmas, had disappeared.

Kirtley too was nowhere to be seen, but the raw brassica had an inevitable effect on his digestive system, giving away his refuge behind the cloth on the dining table.

Meanwhile, Alfie’s mum had to admit a sneaking admiration for the way he’d discreetly retired to the bedroom before breaking into the sealed plastic container he’d stolen to devour the carrot cake it contained, carefully leaving behind the wrapping.

Christmas undoubtedly provides many opportunities for our pets to broaden their dietary experience, and while some may simply leave us muttering under our breath, be particularly careful of foods like rich dark chocolate, onions, grapes or raisins, nuts and leftover turkey bones, which can have more serious consequences.

Cats generally seem to show a bit more discretion when it comes to what they eat, but often find the glittering baubles on the Christmas tree irresistible. When Minty was a kitten, we learned to remove all the low hanging decorations, but at least he was never like the cat that launched itself at the tree and managed to topple the whole thing over.

Even rabbits sometimes get in on the action: a few years ago one of our patients chewed through the cable of the Christmas tree lights, although thankfully he suffered no more than some minor burns to his mouth.

However you are celebrating the holidays, I hope you enjoy it with your pet and have no need to call the veterinary emergency services, which are available throughout the Christmas period.