Pet Health – How to have a happy, healthy Christmas with your Pets

The best thing about winter has to be Christmas! It is the time of year that we celebrate together as a family and of course our furry friends are a big part of that. Hanging up their own stockings by the fireside and placing their presents with care under the tree, we wouldn’t want to exclude them, would we?

2-36However, Christmas is the time of year that we as vets get our most emergencies! The over indulgences that we take for granted for ourselves can be catastrophic to our companion animals. The worst offender
has to be the turkey skin and gravy; too rich in fat (enhanced invariably with alcohol) for our cats and dogs, they can end up with very painful pancreatitis as their bodies cannot cope with the excesses. Although treatable it can be a very expensive experience on top of being very upsetting and traumatic. And let’s not go there with the foie gras!

Turkey bones are best left for the soup and not to be given as a special treat. Splintering as they do and then being ingested can only lead to perforation of the gut. Painful, expensive, traumatic for pet and owner; get my drift?

All chocolate’s pose an extreme threat to our pets well-being and can be fatal, as can raisins, grapes, licorice, certain nuts and xylitol (found in sugar-free treats). Of course, these aren’t the only things our pets will eat given half the chance. Those beautiful Christmas plants Poinsettia, Mistletoe and Holly all pose a threat to our pets if ingested; they are toxic folks and can cause irreversible damage.

It doesn’t end there… Tinsel and ribbons, baubles and tree lights as beautiful as they are can cause injuries if pets are not suitably supervised. Rabbit owners will be aware that their fur buns love to chew and electric cable is fair game (though with disastrous consequences!) Do keep an eye on that adventurous kitten climbing the tree or for the inquisitive puppy eating the tinsel or chasing baubles.

Christmas can have its downside as the veterinary profession can testify.

With all the care in the world accidents and emergencies continue to happen so be prepared. Check your vet’s emergency cover and have the telephone number to hand, or, if you are away, have a suitable alternative close by. The number of a local taxi service is good to have also, if you are going to partake in a festive tipple or two!

Being aware of the pitfalls and taking a few extra precautions, should help to prevent the unexpected. Which leaves me to finally wish you all a Merry Christmas. Saving the mince pies and puds for yourselves will help to give your pets a safe and healthy festive season and you a peaceful Yuletide.