Traditional treats, such as chocolate and tinsel, are very festive but vets are increasingly concerned by the health problems they cause in animals.
The tasty Christmas lunch for human members of the family can pose real dangers for dogs. Turkey bones, onions, garlic, and raisins all have the potential to make your pet seriously ill, and in the case of small bones, even require surgical removal.
For the whole family, Christmas is a special time and of course we want to include our much loved pets in the festive fun. But owners should be very aware that tasty treats and shiny baubles – which pets find hard to resist – can be toxic and dangerous for our four legged friends.
With a litter of 5 week old puppies at home this Christmas, we have had to seriously curtail the Christmas decorations in the parts of the house the dogs have access to. My advice is to keep human goodies, particularly chocolate, away from pets. If your dog still manages to eat chocolate, it is important to contact your vet as soon as possible. They will be able to calculate the likelihood of toxicity and advise a course of action. It is really helpful if you can keep the wrapper so they can see the ingredients – if the wrapper hasn’t been eaten too!”
Whilst it can be tempting to include pets in the traditional Christmas indulgence, they really need to have a consistently balanced, appropriate diet. So indulge them instead with a new toy or a long walk after dinner instead – something the whole family can enjoy.
In order to keep the Christmas season merry for the whole household I would urge animal-lovers to ensure their home is safe for four-legged friends by following these five simple tips.
- Protect your pet from poisons – a number of festive treats, such as chocolate, grapes, sweets and liquorice are toxic to cats and dogs.
- Keep decorations out of reach – ribbons, wrapping paper, baubles, tinsel and tree lights can all prove irresistible to cats and dogs but can be very dangerous if broken, chewed or swallowed. Try to keep decorations and blu-tack out of reach of curious pets. Batteries for Christmas gifts also need to be kept safe. If ingested they may cause severe chemical burns to the mouth, throat and stomach.
- Forget festive food for pets – we all enjoy a richer diet over Christmas but fatty foods and Christmas dinners shouldn’t be shared with our beloved animals. They can trigger indigestion, sickness and diarrhoea – or even conditions from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis. So try to stick to your pet’s regular diet and routine.
- Give toys not treats – we all want our pets to share the fun and many of us include a gift for our pet on the shopping list. But too many treats can lead to fat, unhappy animals so consider opting for a new toy, extra cuddles or a long walk if you want to indulge your pet this Christmas.
- Know where to go – even with all the care in the world, animal accidents and emergencies can still happen. Being the only Veterinary Hospital in Huddersfield, the Donaldson’s surgery at Maple Street provides a 24 hour service 365 days a year.