Homemade treats and leftovers on menu for pets this Christmas as families look to cut costs

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Nearly half of pet owners will be choosing to make tasty treats or toys for their four-legged companions this year as the cost of living continues to bite, with two in five planning to share their Christmas dinner leftovers with their furry friend.

A survey of more than 1,200 dog and cat owners for national pet charity Blue Cross found over a third (34%) said their pet’s gift is as important as other essential Christmas expenses like the Christmas tree!

However, with expenses rising this year, cost conscious ways to celebrate are top of mind for many, with 43% saying they will be making tasty treats or toys for their pets, and two in five saying they will be sharing their Christmas dinner leftovers with their four-legged friend.

Blue Cross has tips and video guides on how to make DIY toys and homemade treats such as biscuits for pets on the charity’s website and YouTube channels.

Tracy Genever, Head of Welfare Standards and Education at Blue Cross, said, “It is lovely to hear how people will be treating their pets this Christmas, but you don’t have to splash the cash for them to have a great time. The best gift you can give your pet is a loving home where they are happy, healthy and fed.”

Foods to avoid giving to pets at Christmas:

  • Chocolate – even small amounts can make dogs poorly
  • Christmas pudding and mince pies – grapes and dried fruits (currants, sultanas and raisins) can cause kidney failure
  • Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives – poisonous both cooked and raw including when used as an ingredient, gravy for example
  • Alcohol – keep out of pets reach, sweet drinks like eggnog might be tasty for pets but can be dangerous
  • Sweets – many contain a sugar-free sweetener called xylitol which is poisonous to pets

Safe foods to give pets at Christmas (providing dog is healthy and not allergic to any of the foods)

  • Turkey meat – but no skin or bones
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Mash potato (best without butter)
  • New potatoes

Other top tips to avoid Christmas mishaps:

  • Avoid decorations containing chocolate and keep advent calendars out of pets reach
  • Also keep decorations and fairy lights out of reach from mischievous paws and tails
  • Beware of presents left under the tree – chocolate and alcohol may be tempting for them
  • Avoid plants that are toxic to pets, or make sure they are well out of reach – poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, ivy and potpourri

To find out more about Blue Cross and make a donation to help the national charity help more sick, injured and homeless cats, dogs, small animals and horses this Christmas visit www.bluecross.org.uk/AllWeNeed

This is a guest essay by Blue Cross. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.

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