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Christmas is a time for goodwill to all men, but make sure this also extends to your four-legged friends. It’s easy to get swept up in the occasion and feel that you want to share all the Christmas festivities with your pets, but it can endanger their health, sometimes seriously, and even innocent treats can be deadly. To avoid killing them with kindness, pet food company Vet’s Kitchen has a guide to the top dangers.
Any owners who are concerned that their pet has eaten something harmful this Christmas should seek the advice of a trained vet immediately.
To treat your pet with positive instead of negative effects this Christmas, Vet’s Kitchen has developed Little Stars Active+, Little Stars Smart+ dog treats and Little Stars Sensitive+ and Little Hearts cat treats which contain no added artificial additives and are hypoallergenic. To help owners be treat-wise, they are also the first pet treats to show the calorific content on pack.
Unlike the majority of treats on the market, Little Stars Active+ and Little Stars Smart+ contain a single source of protein - Salmon in the former and Chicken in the latter, which deliver healthy energy. Little Stars Active+ contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM to promote healthy joint development and Omegas 3 and 6 for healthy heart, skin and coat. Little Stars Smart+ contains DHA, an essential fatty acid that improves cognitive thought and learning. Little Stars Sensitive+ are made with a novel single source protein for help sensitive skin and digestion. They are also grain-free, so perfect for dogs with a wheat or gluten allergy. Little Hearts cat treats deliver specific health benefits to cats through a high percentage of meat, plus natural active ingredients including added cellulose fibre to reduce furballs and promote dental health.
Although it is natural to want to treat your pets as part of the family, cats cannot actually detect or taste sweet-smelling compounds and dogs sense of taste is actually quite poor, although they have an organ on the roof of their mouth which allows them to 'taste’ certain smells, they only have one sixth the number of taste buds that a human has.
Trained vet Jenny Philp said: “Any owners who are concerned that their pet has eaten something harmful this Christmas should seek the advice of a trained vet immediately. Whereas it seems a good idea to treat your pets like another family member, you can do more harm than good, so stick to specially formulated products that offer health benefits not dangers.”
And when you start the post-Christmas fitness drive, be careful getting your pet to be your diet partner - the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is found in many diet foods, causes insulin release in many species leading to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia (lowered sugar levels). It can be dangerous even in small amounts to dogs and has been linked to fatal acute liver disease and blood clotting disorders.