Dog_76Having the pets around on Christmas day can make a family Christmas complete. I love nothing better than watching a family movie after Christmas Dinner with my family on the sofa and my 3 dogs at my feet.

It is great to involve the family pet in the Christmas celebrations but Christmas can be a hazardous time for pets.

Christmas decorations can be really dangerous. Already this season, we have seen a kitten that swallowed a length of tinsel. To a kitten, tinsel can be great fun to play with but can cause a lot of damage if it is swallowed. It has the potential to lacerate a length of intestine and can cause potentially fatal damage. Fortunately, the kitten was seen to eat the tinsel and so we were able to treat it promptly before serious damage could occur. Ribbons, string, decorations and wrapping can all cause similar issues.

Chocolates on the Christmas tree are another potential hazard. Chocolate is poisonous to animals and can cause serious liver damage, seizures, coma and death. Prompt treatment to induce vomiting is essential to avoid toxicity after ingestion.

Raisins and sultanas are also highly toxic, either on their own or in Christmas puddings or mince pies and so access to vine fruits must be carefully guarded against.

Overeating rich food is a trap we can all fall into but pets who receive too many treats at Christmas can end up with digestive upsets. Try to stick to as normal a feeding regimen as normal to avoid a trip to your Vet on Boxing Day with a vomiting or diarrhoeic pet.

The memory of fireworks is fresh in the minds of many pets with Bonfire Night having recently passed. The fireworks come out again for Christmas and New Year and those owners with pets who fear fireworks need to take precautions to distract their pets to avoid unnecessary distress.

A few precautions can help your pets enjoy a happy, healthy and relaxing Christmas but remember, if things do go wrong and you do have an animal emergency, the Donaldson’s Hospital at Maple Street is staffed 24 hours a day as usual throughout the Christmas period and our emergency on-call staff can be contacted round the clock.

Have a great Christmas.