Dangers for Pets at Christmas

'Christmas Riskmas’

This time of year presents a few special circumstances for us as vets…family gatherings, Christmas trees and loads of tasty treats can cause all manner of trouble for our pets.

Since nobody wants a visit to the vet on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it’s worth taking a few extra precautions to make your festive season safe and happy for all the family.

Top 5 at Christmas. Did you know…

1. Chocolate and pets: This is the bane of every Christmas on-call shift… Auntie Margaret and Uncle Bill are around, everyone has had a few too many sherries and Buster the schnauzer sees a lovely box of sparkly Quality Street on his favourite seat. Chocolate can be extremely toxic to dogs, with the chemical Theobromine causing everything from upset tummies to heart palpitations.

The toxic dose varies depending on the size of the dog and the amount and type of chocolate ingested. A German Shepherd who scoffs a strawberry cream will be a lot less at risk than a chihuahua who eats his own body weight in Green & Black’s finest 70% cocoa chocolate but we would advise you give us a call, just to be sure.

2. Dried fruit: Another unlikely toxin comes in the form of raisins and other dried fruits commonly found in Christmas cakes, puddings and mince pies. The toxic dose with these is less predictable than with chocolate so we would advise contacting the vet on call if your pet munches the Christmas Pud.

3. Another unfortunate source of danger at this time of year is anti-freeze. Please be careful not to spill if you’re topping up the car as the sweet tasting Ethylene Glycol is both attractive and deadly to dogs and cats.

4. Random toys, decorations and Christmas Tree ornaments: My most random Christmas memory was the dog who decided that eating a metre of tinsel was a great idea! We managed to get it removed surgically but were unfortunately unable to instill any sense in him as he tried the same trick with a crocheted snowman a week later! If you know your pup is prone to eating random objects, please let everyone know so that the opportunity does not present itself!

5. Grit: If we happen to get a white Christmas it’s worth remembering that grit on footpaths and roads can irritate and inflame paws. We would recommend washing the paws with warm soapy water after walking through slushy footpaths.

Christmas Opening Hours

Our clinic is closed from 2pm on Christmas Eve, right through Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We will reopen on Thursday 27th and are also closing early on New Year’s Eve and all day New Year’s Day.

As usual, we are operating an emergency service right through the festive period to accommodate any festive mishaps that might occur. Ensure you read our Christmas Risk list above to try and make sure that your only Christmas Day drama is the Eastenders Special and whatever Bond classic they roll out on ITV 2!