It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!
Time to deck the halls… carefully! All pets (although mostly dogs!) can get swept away with Christmas and tuck in to treats that aren’t really for them.
We’ve created a guide to the top dangers during the festive season and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns over what your pets have eaten.
Always remember that to keep your pet in the best of health over Christmas, don’t change his or her diet!
Changes in diet to food that your pet is not used to will often lead to upset tummies. Your pet will be healthier and happier if you stick to it’s normal food, despite what it may be asking you for!
Chocolate is dangerous for dogs as it contains a stimulant called theobromine. Dark chocolate contains the most and it affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys around 4-24 hours after eating it. Please remember it’s important to contact us as soon as you are aware your dog has eaten chocolate. Signs to look out for are salivating, vomiting, diarrhoea, an increase in drinking and urinating, excitation, tremors or muscle rigidity.
Pets often like to play with tinsel and twinkling decorations, and sometimes also try to eat them. It’s best to keep these out of your pet’s reach as if they ingest loose strands, this can cause life-threatening intestinal obstructions.
Poinsettias are also a beautiful festive addition, however they can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach of animals, hyper-salivation and sometimes vomiting. Lilies are also another popular choice, however these are extremely toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney damage.
Nuts, especially Macadamia nuts, can cause vomiting and other problems in dogs. Take care to ensure your dog avoids them. Symptoms include weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hypothermia which can last for 12-48 hours.
Roquefort and other blue cheese contains mycotoxin roquefortine which dogs are sensitive to. This toxin is also found on other mouldy foods so bin-raiding pet owners beware! Symptoms include muscle tremors, seizures, and in worst cases even death.
Festive cheer is well known at Christmas but remember it is significantly more toxic to dogs and cats. Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and in extreme cases even death.
Bones & Stuffing
Pets can easily choke on bones, cooked bones from the turkey carcass can splinter easily and become lodged or puncture your dog’s digestive tract.
Stuffing may seem like a delicious treat for your cat, but onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives can cause toxicity, even when cooked. Dogs may also be affected if they eat large quantities.
Mince pies, Christmas Pudding & Christmas Cake
Grapes and raisins contain a toxic substance which can cause kidney failure so please keep anything containing these out of your pet’s reach.
If you’d like to make special treats for your dogs at Christmas, there are plenty of dog biscuit recipes online. We like this one for Gingerbread biscuits from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People:
If you’re worried at all that your pet has eaten any of the foods on our danger list, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A pet is not just for Christmas…
A pet is a lifetime commitment. We’ve found an excellent website which will help you to make the right decision on if a pet is right for you. You can see more here:-
To help you make the right choice, think PETS.
Place – how suitable is your home? Do you have a garden, or live near a local park? These are important considerations when thinking about getting a pet like a dog, which will need space to run around and play.
Exercise – how much exercise could you give your pet? You may be looking forward to long walks with your new pet, in which case a dog might be suitable. If you’re not very active, a smaller pet may be a better choice.
Time – how much time could you spend with your pet? Daily exercise, training, play time, visits to the vet, grooming and cleaning their home out all take time. Owners need to think about how much time they have to invest before deciding which pet to get.
Spend – could you afford the lifetime spend? Owning a pet is a significant financial commitment. Food, bedding, vaccinations, and flea and worm treatments all need to be budgeted for. Owners also need to consider taking out pet insurance.
Festive Treats for Your Pet
Are you looking for the perfect present for your pet? Pop in to the surgery to see our wide range of festive treats from Christmas crackers to Santa hats to squeaky gingerbread men.
We also have plenty of festive outfits for your dog to choose from!
We’d like to extend a warm welcome to our new members of staff.
Lynda, a very experienced RVN (Royal Veterinary Nurse), who prior to working with us worked for the PDSA.
Onome, who is in her final year of training as a RVN, and has just completed her exams. She’ll be receiving her results in the New Year!
Astrid, who is joining us in January. A very experienced vet who has worked in both referral and first opinion practice for many years.