The RSPCA is advising the public of how wildlife and pets can benefit from some Christmas leftovers.
A survey carried out by the RSPCA showed that 42% of people were planning to give a traditional Christmas dinner to their pet this year.
While lots of food can be enjoyed by pets and wildlife there are some to be wary of to ensure your festive plans don’t involve a costly trip to the vets.
Turkey meat can be enjoyed by dogs and cats once the family have had their festive fill, as long as it’s deboned to stop any potential choking hazard.
However, if you don’t have any pets, you could still do a festive good deed by helping wildlife in the garden or local area. Birds can enjoy potatoes as well as crumbed up Christmas cake and mince pies. Unsalted nuts, savoury snacks and grated leftover cheese can also be eaten by birds.
If badgers and foxes frequent your garden, they can enjoy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and sprouts and peas. Most dogs will also love to help polish off your carrots.
RSPCA welfare expert, Sam Watson, said: “It’s a lovely idea to include your pets and the wildlife we share our gardens with in the festivities over Christmas. Lots of people like to buy their animals presents and spoil them over the festive season and livening up their diet is just one way of doing this.
“Turkey and vegetables are a great meal to give your dogs as a one-off treat on the day. Do be sure to account for this meal and reduce the rest of their daily food allowance accordingly.”
The RSPCA advise that it is important to be careful however, as processed meats such as pigs in blankets are not suitable for animals due to the high salt content in them. Stuffing is also not suitable for the same reason and other artificial ingredients.
Most pet owners know that chocolate and onions can never be given to dogs and if your dog does accidently eat these foods you should ring your vet straight away for advice.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer, Caroline Allan, said: “We do see an increase in admissions to our hospitals at this time of year. We do see a number of animals who have stomach upsets due to a sudden change in diet, we also see issues relating to ingestion of toxic foods.
“In many cases the ingestion has been accidental, with the pet taking an opportunity to grab some tasty treats that have been left within reach. Mince pies on the coffee table or chocolates wrapped up under the tree can be very tempting and can lead to a visit to the vet.
“If you think you pet has eaten something that might be toxic do contact your vet ASAP, an early treatment us always preferable and can avoid further complications. Even on Christmas Day your vet will have an emergency cover where you can get help and advice.”