Royal Canin has reminded veterinary professionals to make pet owners aware of “lesser known dangers” to pets around the festive period.
The manufacturer said many pet owners don’t know that the artificial sweetener Xylitol, commonly used in cakes, sweets and biscuits, is toxic to animals, adding that festive treats such as Christmas cake and mince pies can also pose a huge problem.
Grapes and sultanas are also highly toxic to dogs and cats, including dried versions. Reports have shown as little as four to five grapes can be fatal in dogs, causing kidney failure.
John O’Connor, veterinary marketing manager at Royal Canin, said: “Christmas is often the season pet owners choose to indulge the whole family, and this includes their animals. Recent research showed that half of 19-38 year olds said they would rather cut back on spending on themselves than their pets and two out of five spending as much on their pets as they would for a friend this Christmas.
“Giving pets human treats is often more harmful than many owners think, with many shocked by the calorie conversion for animals. For example, a tin of tuna is the equivalent of three doughnuts for a dog, and feeding a cat a piece of cheese is the equivalent in calories as a shocking six doughnuts.”