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Festive Pets Corner - December 22/January 23

Original foodie ideas for four-legged friends and resplendent rodents this Christmas.

Four-legged festive delights and dangers

Treat cats this Christmas with lean slithers of meat - chicken is fine, and they’ll devour any leftover turkey.

Mix it up with vegetables such as carrots, swedes, parsnips and sprouts, all very seasonal. but ensure you do so in moderation.

Also ensure you don’t give your cats any of the following:

  • Any seasoned meats, or meats cooked in or including gravy, goose fat or stuffing
  • Onions, as they are highly toxic
  • Cranberry sauce, as it is too sugary
  • Chestnuts and bacon, as these contain too much fat
  • Chocolate, as it’s toxic to both cats and dogs
  • Potato, in any form, as it contains solanine, which is poisonous

For dogs, they can have boneless and skinless white meat, boiled or plain mashed potatoes (remembering not to add any butter or salt), and small amounts of veg, such as sprouts, green beans, carrots, courgettes, parsnips, cauliflower, peas and spinach.

Scrambled eggs works well as it contains vitamins, minerals and protein, and little bits of fruit will go down well, although watch the natural sugar content.

You should also ensure you avoid the following:

  • Any meat with bones
  • Gravy, as it’s too fatty and salty
  • Herbs and spices, including stuffing
  • Bulb veg, such as onions, shallots, chives, leek and garlic
  • Chocolate as, again, this is toxic
  • Mince pies, fruit cakes, raisins, grapes, sultanas, currants and Christmas pudding
  • Pigs in blankets, as they are too high in salt and fat

Resplendent rodents

Guinea pigs can’t have anything cooked or baked, but dried forages or different types of herbs will be seen as a real treat.

Rabbits have a dislike to meat as, like guinea pigs, they are also herbivores. Also, cooked veg will be too rich for a rabbit, as well as being no use to them when it comes to wearing their teeth down, which they use carrots and broccoli for. Rabbits do, however, love cabbage and cauliflower, so those Christmas lunch leftovers won’t get wasted!

Alfalfa hay is a great and really special treat for rabbits, as it’s higher in protein than regular grass hay. However, make sure it’s only given in moderation as it can be too fattening to have as part of a rabbit’s regular diet.

Meanwhile, if you own a hamster, you may just want to take the easy route out and pick up some festive treats at the local pet shop. From nibbles to chew sticks to fruit bits, your hammy is the best exemplar of wanting it to be Christmas every day, given he or she will happily store away nutritious niceties long after the sounds of jingle bells have faded into the distance!