With the Christmas season just around the corner, it’s an unusual time for many of our beloved pets. With lots of people around, an abundance of food and drink, rustling wrapping paper and the squeals of excited children. There are several Christmas dangers that pet owners need to know before spending more time with the family and less time at the vets!
Chocolate – with lots of this around at Christmas time, temptation can be a bit much for our furry friends. Even wrapped up presents under the Christmas tree are not safe as dogs have an amazing sense of smell and will be able to find presents containing chocolate easily. As most of us are aware chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, the darker the chocolate the worse it is, as dark chocolate contains a higher amount of theobromine. Only a small amount can make a dog very ill. The first signs of chocolate toxicity are often vomiting and diarrhoea followed by restlessness, muscle spasms, seizures, coma and in fewer cases death. Veterinary advice needs to be sought as soon as possible.
Christmas plants – Mistletoe and holly along with their berries are toxic to both dogs and cats, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, excessive salivation and abdominal pain. Depending on the amount ingested, mistletoe can also cause breathing difficulties and odd or unusual behaviour. Lastly, although a stunning flower that many of us have indoors, lilies are poisonous to our feline friends, even the smallest amount ingested can cause severe kidney problems.
Decorations – pretty sparking tree decorations, reflective tinsel and flashing fairly lights, a young cats haven for adventure! Just remember it’s not every day that you have a tree in your living room with “toys” on. While tinsel itself isn’t poisonous, it is dangerous if ingested as it can cause an intestinal obstruction or damage to your pets digestive system, symptoms of this may include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and painful/swollen abdomen and while Christmas lights are pretty, pets can become tangled up in the wire or get a nasty shock if they chew through them.
Antifreeze – Many of us have this to hand in the winter months, ensure this is stored with the lid tightly on, away from pets. Antifreeze or ethylene glycol is extremely dangerous to both dogs and cats. Ingestion is usually following a spillage that hasn’t been cleaned up or from a car that is leaking. Initially, after ingestion both dogs and cats may have drunk like symptoms, excessive drooling, vomiting and excessive thirst. As the kidneys begin to fail there will be signs of inappetance, depression, lethargy, seizures and unfortunately, if not treated soon enough death is inevitable.
The Christmas cake – well, not just the cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies as well in fact, as they all contain raisins which can cause kidney or liver damage in both dogs and cats. Symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Vomiting, lethargy, inappetance and excessive thirst can be commonly seen. These Christmas treats also contain a large amount of fat which can not only upset tummies but can cause pancreatitis, a serious painful condition in which patients often require hospitalisation
So have a happy, healthy Christmas, keep your furry friends safe and remind Santa not to share his mince pie and tipple with the dog !
For any further information please contact us on 01708 251200