The Hidden Dangers of Christmas

Christmas is an exciting time for the family – including the furry, four-legged members. New objects such as Christmas trees, Christmas-themed ornaments, and tinsel appear around the living areas, interesting-smelling wrapped parcels are left in easily accessible places, and there is an abundance of delicious food. It’s not surprising that vet practices are inundated with ill pets that have eaten something they shouldn’t have at this time of year.

If you know what to look out for, however, you can help to prevent your pet from turning Christmas into a tragedy. If you notice your pet swallowing any of the below, contact your vet immediately.

Danger Possible effect
  1.    Christmas tree ornaments and tinsel
Foreign body (causing blockage of or damage to gastrointestinal system)
  1.    Presents under the tree
Foreign body or chocolate toxicity
  1.    Chocolates
Chocolate toxicity leading to symptoms ranging from minor neurological signs to death
  1.    Christmas cake/Christmas pudding/mince pies (raisins)
Renal (kidney) failure
  1.    Stuffing/gravy (onions)
Haemolytic anaemia (destruction of red blood cells)
  1.    Roast turkey
Foreign body or constipation from the turkey bones
  1.    Paracetamol or ibuprofen (for Christmas stress headaches)

The faster you can get to the clinic, the more likely it will be that your vet can perform emergency measures and hopefully avoid any further effects.

It is important to remember that risk depends on many factors. The toxic dose of chocolate, for example, depends on many individual factors of your dog such as weight and breed, and more importantly, the type of chocolate. Good quality dark chocolate will contain a huge amount more cocoa solids, and be much more dangerous to your dog, than a cheap milk chocolate. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of action based on what your pet has eaten.

Luckily your pet doesn’t have to miss out at Christmas though. There are plenty of meaty snacks, fun toys, and even pet-safe chocolate flavoured treats to enjoy on Christmas Day.


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