There is nothing better than leftovers after Christmas – delicious cold cuts and barbecued meats, desserts and nibbles – but, did you know some leftovers can be very harmful to your pets?

For most of us it’s a normal inclination to feed our cats or dogs leftovers like meats, bones and nibbles after Christmas, but it’s actually doing them more harm then good!

RSPCA Queensland’s Senior Veterinarian, Dr Anne Chester is urging pet owners to be very careful about what they feed their pets, this Christmas.

“The problem is that a sudden increase in fatty foods affects the animal’s pancreas and this can lead to pancreatitis,” she says.

“Cooked bones can also cause major problems. They’re brittle and the sharp slivers can either lodge in the throat or pierce the stomach lining.”

Anne warns that onions, even a little bit, can also be very toxic to animals.

“People often give their family pet the barbeque leftovers and more often than not there are onions mixed in with the meat. For some dogs this can be a fatal oversight,” she says.

“Even the small amounts contained on pizza slices.”

It’s also important to make sure you clean up any lollies or chocolates left on tables or on the floor, as Anne says just 50 grams of chocolate can cause problems.

“The problem is that the systems of cats and dogs cannot tolerate theobromine, one of key ingredients of chocolate,” she says.

“Theobromine can cause a range of problems in domestic animals because it triggers the release of adrenaline, which can lead to a greatly accelerated heart rate and an irregular heartbeat.”

“Pets can vomit, suffer diarrhoea and excessive urination and become hyperactive. This can be followed by depression, coma, seizures and death.”

So when you’re about to hand your dog or cat some leftovers this Christmas, think again!

“We want everyone to have a very merry Christmas. But please! Think carefully before you feed your pets food designed for humans,” Anne says.