Cheshire dog owners have been told to ‘think twice’ before offering their pets Christmas leftovers and excess treats.
The warning was issued by the PDSA animal charity after its recent report found 1.4 million pet owners had fed their pets increased treats since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
They highlighted hidden calories and toxic treats as two of the things for pet owners to watch out for.
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PDSA Veterinary Nurse Nina Downing said: “Many of us don’t realise how much human food can affect our furry family members.
“As well as overfeeding causing our four-legged friends to pile on the pounds, in some cases, it can prove fatal.”
The charity highlighted hidden calories as one of the potential dangers posed to pets, with their 2021 report claiming that, of the owners who said that their pets were overweight, 29 per cent giving in when their pet begs for food, with 19 per cent feeding their pets extra treats.
She said: “Though we all want to show our pets how much we love them, excessive amounts of human food can have a huge impact on their weight and well being.
“For a medium-sized dog weighing about 20kg, one serving of turkey (just the breast with no skin) is the calorie equivalent of a human eating a large slice of chocolate cake.
“Similarly, one small gingerbread man would be the same calories for them as a human eating a large bag of gummy sweets, and just three small cubes of cheese would be the calorie equivalent of us eating an entire bag of crisps.
“With their smaller size, it’s even worse for our feline friends, with one serving of turkey for a cat weighing about 3.5kg being the equivalent calories of us consuming three large milkshakes.
“Three cubes of cheese equate to a whole double cheeseburger, which would form an entire meal for a human. What’s more, you might think a small serving of gravy couldn’t cause harm, but this is the calorie equivalent of a human eating three scoops of ice-cream.
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She also highlighted the danger toxic foods can pose to pets.
She said: “There are a number of foods you’ll need to keep away from hungry paws altogether, especially desserts. Mince pies and Christmas cake contain raisins, sultanas and currants, which are highly toxic to pets. Chocolate is also poisonous for dogs and cats, and can even be fatal in some instances.
“As well as desserts, be careful with roast leftovers too. Stuffing and gravy often contain onion, leeks and garlic, which can be deadly to both cats and dogs.
The PDSA has told pet owners to be mindful of portion sizes, as well as reducing the amount of normal food you give your pet.
It’s ok to give cats and dogs a small slice of skin and bone-free turkey and boiled vegetables without sauce.