Protecting your pets this Christmas – a cautionary tale by Simon Pudsey

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Christmas is a fantastically stimulating time of year and some of that excitement might rub off on our pets. However, pet parent temptations could result in unfortunate illness or even worse; a very much unexpected trip to the vet for our furry friends. To avoid this from happening Hill’s Pet UK have teamed up with Simon, Veterinary Surgeon from Medivet Coventry, to guide you through the festive season without a hitch.

The home

All your Christmas decorations are up and your home is looking festive. What dangers can lie in a bit of tinsel and pine trees? Although harmless to us, for your pets, dangers can lurk in these accessories.

Candles – not always a ray of light

A little bit of care should be taken to make sure your pets aren’t harmed by lit candles. They can be exuberant little things. Making sure your candles are placed somewhere safe ensures your furry friends aren’t burnt or hurt by the hot wax.

Decorations – a pretty sight when they’re not in your pets mouth

There’s always one pet that eats the decorations and if you have chocolate ones, they need to be out of reach due to their toxic effect on your furry friend.

Tinsel has proven a risk in the past - more than one pet has suffered a particularly nasty type of intestinal damage as a result of eating it. It bunches the intestines up and then cuts through them, which requires surgery to resolve.

Pine needles are very irritating to the mouths and bowels of our pets, so intestinal upset is quite likely.

The Christmas Dinner

Tempted to feed your pet a miniature Christmas dinner? The meal itself can be full of hidden dangers. If you take a closer look, there are a few ingredients that can cause digestive upset, potentially resulting in vomiting or diarrhoea.

Onions- not your pet’s best friend

On the surface it would appear that we are feeding an easily digestible meat with vegetables and what could be wrong with that? However, onion is part of the ingredients of both our gravy and stuffing. Onions are toxic to our pets and small amounts can be harmful. One crumbly gravy cube (containing mostly onion salt) caused a week’s worth of illness for one of our patients earlier this year.

Turkey carcass – a minefield of bones

Turkey carcasses hold a potential danger for both cats and dogs, as some of the bones can be quite small. In the enthusiasm to eat up those tasty meaty morsels, there is a potential for these to get ingested and stuck in the mouth or the throat. If they make it to the stomach, there is no guarantee that they will make it through to the other end. Your pet may need an operation to remove bones from the intestine, or may develop a bowel blockage as a result.

The pudding – toxic to our furry friends

“That’s OK”, we’ll say, “Lets skip the main meal and we’ll just save a little of the dessert”. “A bit of Christmas pud’ll be no problem”. On the contrary, grapes and their concentrated cousins, raisins, are very toxic and can lead to all sorts of upset, so we had best avoid the pud. While we’re at it we had best avoid the Christmas cake and the mince pies for the very same reason.

Chocolate – a little can hurt

Some are breathing easy and are quite happy that they have avoided the dinner and the pud and have saved a nice piece of Yule log for “Diesel”. Unfortunately, chocolate is also toxic and the smallest amount can hurt. It is best considered as completely unsafe for pets.

Alcohol – a toast they shouldn’t have

Perhaps we should all raise a toast to the Queen after the meal and what’s more, let’s include “Becky” the Labrador as she shouldn’t feel left out. Hmmm… alcohol is very much toxic for your dog’s liver and why give it a job it doesn’t need to do?

Is there anything we can do to give our pets a treat? I think that making sure we feed them a high quality food, like Hills Pet food for instance (disclaimer – we work with Hill’s Pet on a few things) would be the best we could do. This will ensure their lifelong health and enable them to accompany many more of our family Christmases.

Happy Christmas!

Simon Pudsey

About the author

A Cambridge University graduate and keen blogger, Simon is a Veterinary Surgeon at Coventry Upper York Street branch of Medivet.

Published 22nd December 2014, by Hill’s Pet Nutrition UK

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