Christmas ham is the absolute highlight of the festive season menu, but as a vet, I can not stress the following more… Be careful with giving your dog or cat any of your Christmas ham!

Even though most cats and dogs will happily eat this tasty Christmas treat, the fat and salt content of Christmas ham harms their gastrointestinal system. They are initially at risk of vomiting, and diarrhoea however on occasions, consuming Christmas ham can also lead to a more serious condition called pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed.

The pancreas is a gland inside the abdomen. When working normally, the pancreas aids the digestion of food as well as the release of insulin. When your pet has pancreatitis, digestive enzymes spill into the abdominal cavity causing organ damage. It is very painful for your pet and unfortunately in severe cases can lead to death.

If you suspect that your pet has stolen any Christmas ham, be it off the table, or fatty scraps from the bin, monitor them closely and if they appear ill seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Along with Christmas ham, raisins and sultanas (including in Christmas pudding or mince pies) and chocolate are toxic to dogs.

Other items on the Christmas menu that your pet needs to avoid include:

  • Mincemeat
  • Currants
  • Nuts
  • Any food or drink containing alcohol

As tempting as it may be, it is best to avoid cooked bones for your pooch over Christmas. Bones can splinter and cause damage to a dog’s oesophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract – especially ham bones as they are particularly brittle.

If you need further support around this issue, Your PetPA offers vet care and advice via our website and App – you can book a vet chat, speak with a nurse online or access our education resources, all from the comfort of your own home. However, if you believe your pet may have pancreatitis, then you will need to take them to a clinic to be seen in person urgently.