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The potential hazards of Christmas!

Pets are a huge part of all our families so it is very important to be reminded of the “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to treats for our pets around the Christmas holidays. Around the Christmas period, their environment becomes filled with decorations, trees and flowers that in themselves can be hazardous as well as lots of tempting foods that can be dangerous if consumed.

Toxic foods;

1. Christmas Ham/turkey/chicken

- although very tasty and tempting to treat your pet with these Christmas meats, they are very high in fat. Dogs do not tolerate digesting fat in the way we humans do and can lead to a condition known as pancreatitis. Usual clinical signs of this are vomiting and diarrhoea but it can lead to more serious complications.

- bones from these meals are also very dangerous to your dogs digestive system. Once cooked, bones become brittle and splinter easily which can cause intestinal obstructions or perforations.

To avoid savaging noses getting into any of the cooked meat or bones, ensure all left-overs are in a secure container and that any waste is place immediately in a bin that’s not accessible to the dog

2. Chocolate

- Chocolate contains theobromine which is a stimulant similar to caffeine that is very toxic to dogs and cats. Dark chocolate contains the highest levels but all chocolate is considered toxic

To avoid this becoming a problem, ensure that no chocolate, or presents that contain chocolate, are placed under the tree

3. Christmas cake/pudding and mince pies

- all grapes, sultanas and raisins. and all foods that contain these. are toxic to dogs and cats. Consumption of these even in small amounts can lead to significant kidney damage. It is important to keep all leftovers secure and out of reach

4. Onions/chives/garlic

- this is usually a staple for most Christmas lunches but it is another important food to make sure your pets do not get access to. As well as stomach irritation, onions cause a destruction of red blood cells in your pet which can lead to anaemia.

All forms of onions and garlic can cause issues for your pet, even foods that contain them as an ingredient. Be sure to avoid access to any foods that may have contained onions or garlic

Other dangers in the house;

1. Christmas tree

- Cats are often very tempted to use the tree as their new favourite climbing pole or hiding spot! This poses a risk of knocking over the tree. There is also significant risk if you have a live Christmas tree that they ingest sap or pine needles. This can cause nausea, vomiting, skin, irritation and injury to the stomach. Cats must also not be allowed to drink the water at the base of the tree, cats are very sensitive to the pine oils.

- The pine needles off the Christmas can also lead to stomach upsets and mouth ulcerations if dogs are tempted to chew on them

Important to vacuum up every day if there are pine needles dropping from your Christmas tree

2. Ornaments & tinsel

- If your dog or cat is tempted to put anything and everything in its mouth, the tinsel and ornaments on your tree could be particularly tempting. Ingestion of these can lead to severe obstructions, especially tinsels that can make its way to your dog’s or cat’s small intestine

- Similar to tinsel, ribbon is often a very tempting toy to cats and can cause serious intestinal blockages that often require surgical removal if ingested

You may need to have your tree completely inaccessible to your pet, otherwise opt for pet friendly decorations or have the decorations out of reach.

3. Lights

- There is significant risk of electrocution to cats and dogs if they were to chew through the power cords/wires of Christmas lights. Keeping these out of reach is very important to avoid this risk.

4. Silica gel

- Commonly found in many packages, although typically non-toxic, these can still lead to intestinal blockages in your dog


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