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Christmas is a time of cheer and happiness – not one of pain and illness

The Christmas season is with us and you need to be aware of the dangers that your food and your decorations can have to your pets. This is a time of cheer and goodwill, not a time of sitting in the waiting room of the veterinary hospital worrying about the wellbeing of your pet.

We all want to include our pets in the festive times and we can safely do that if we are just thoughtful of the consequences of a few mindless actions.

Remember, the tinsel and the baubles on the Christmas tree are for decoration to be enjoyed by looking at them on the tree. They can be easily swallowed and are not digestible – so your cat or small dog swallows them they may find it impossible to pass them in their faeces, which may lead to bowel blockages or constipation.

Also, some of the decorations can cause serious damage to the mouth of your dog or cat if the animal attempts to chew on them.

The star of your Christmas tree may look wonderful at night when it sits on the top of your tree, but it does not look wonderful when showing on the x-ray of your pet with it’s sitting in the intestine of your very sick pet.

The skewers we use to hold our food together on the barbeque absorb the flavours of the food and are a great attraction to our dog friends who may attempt to swallow them whole. This can lead to serious mouth or throat problems.

Also remember that your dog or cats will sometimes attempt to jump up onto the barbeque in an attempt to get at the food. The hot plate or hot grill does wonderful damage to their paws (if you do not believe me – light up the barbeque, wait until it is hot and ready to cook on and then put your hand on the hot plate and see if it hurts!).

Food wrappings are also indigestible – especially alfoil or plastic. They are not made to be a natural part of an animal’s diet – so remember to clean up after yourself and put any form of wrapping in the rubbish bin away from the animal.

It is always tempting to feed the animal leftovers from the Christmas festival or to remove fat from the ham and feed it to your dog or cat – but this is not a good idea. This fat can cause immense sickness called pancreatitis and may mean your animal needs to be hospitalised and treated intensely for a few days (or in some cases can even die).

There are lots of foods that should not be fed to the family furry friend – foods that do not hurt us but can cause discomfort and pain to your animal and may even lead to death if not treated.

Foods you should NOT feed your pet include;

  • Grapes and raisins – harmless to us but can cause kidney failure in your dog or cat.
  • Chocolate—toxic to dogs and cats. The cooking chocolate is more dangerous than eating chocolate but why take a chance especially as most animals do have the same taste buds as we have and why waste a good piece of chocolate on an animal that does not appreciate the taste as we do?
  • Macadamia nuts—can be toxic to dogs. Signs of toxicity will likely occur within 12 hours and can include paralysis of the back legs.
  • Onions and garlic—can cause anaemia.
  • Avocadoes—contain a toxin which can damage the heart and lungs of some animals.
  • Nutmeg— dogs can suffer from tremors, seizures, issues with the nervous system (and even death).

The best treat or reward you can give your dog, cat or bird on Christmas day is a cuddle, a pat, time spent with them, playing with them, and late on Christmas eve – spend some time staring out the window together trying to see Santa Clause whipping across the sky in his sleigh.

Give your animal a cuddle and dream together of things that have been, things that will happen and just be very thankful of the time you have together. And more than ever – love them to bits and keep them healthy and happy. Don’t spend the Christmas festivities in the emergency ward.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all (including all the animals).

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