Money Matters Team

Christmas dinner for pets

By Money Matters Team 02/12/2020

Christmas dinner for pets! Five tips for festive food for your furry friends

If your mouth is already watering at the thought of juicy turkey, pigs in blankets, sprouts (some people love them!) and all the trimmings, you might want to consider giving your furry family member a Christmas dinner treat, too.

Although many Christmas dinner items are safe for dogs and cats to eat, there are a few to watch out for that may cause a hazard. It’s worth knowing about the dos and don’ts, before you set aside a delicious dish for your four legged friends…

Here are our top five tips for creating a culinary Christmas delight for your dog or cat…

1. Turkey is fine, but breast is best!

Juicy turkey will be much appreciated by your dog or cat, but poultry bones can become weak and splinter when cooked so breast is best for your furry friend. Alternatively, pull the darker meat off the bone before giving it to your pets.

2. Veggies are a healthy treat for your dog, but avoid onions…

Don’t decorate your Christmas tree straight away. Give your cat time to get used to the new object, including letting them investigate the tree.

Most dog food is rich in vegetables, and veggies provide many nutritional benefits to canines. But did you know that onions, garlic and shallots can cause problems? These humble veggies could damage red blood cells and cause anaemia in dogs.

The same goes for cats. While chopped or pureed carrots are a healthy treat for your cat, onions, garlic and tomatoes can be toxic to your cat.

3. You can buy or make gravy for pets!

Although human gravy is super tasty, it may be a tad salty for your pet. However, you can buy dog and cat gravy from a number of pet shops, and if you don’t fancy the pre-bought stuff, you can easily make your own by mixing your dog or cat’s usual tinned food with a little water, and cooking it in a saucepan until it turns into a liquid. Blend if you want, and pour a little over the turkey! Just make sure it’s cool enough before serving up.

4. Leave out the sweet treats…

Ahhh, Christmas dinner! After the huge meal, it’s time to move on to the sweet treats before retiring to the living room for a nap in front of the Queen’s Speech. Sadly though, festive sweets and desserts are probably not right for your pet.

Dried fruits such as raisins, sultanas and currants are toxic for cats and dogs, so mince pies and Christmas pudding treats are out! Plus, chocolate is highly poisonous to your pet, so don’t be tempted to over compensate with the chocolate truffles or cheesecake!

If you do want to give your four-legged friend a sweet treat, stick to the pre-packaged pet treats that have been perfectly formulated for our furry friends.

Additionally, although we happily overindulge at Christmas, excessively fatty foods and high fat treats can cause pancreatitis in dogs, so it’s worth bearing in mind before over feeding.

5. Watch out for the decorations!

Not strictly Christmas dinner related, but excitable dogs and cats can sometimes get carried away and eat your decorations and festive foliage.

Mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettia can all cause stomach upsets in pets, and Christmas tree needles and sap can also cause problems if ingested. Keep them all firmly away from pets this Christmas.

That big shiny tree might just look like a climbing challenge to your cat, but it’s full of dangers including chocolate, plastic and electrics.

If you need more info on what your pets can and can’t eat this Christmas, your vet can help you out.

Stick to pet-friendly food this festive season and perhaps more importantly, keep them protected with Pet Insurance. Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance is provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies today.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.