Avoid accidentally poisoning your pets this festive season

Scottish pet owners are being urged to keep an extra eye on their four-legged friends this festive season.

Vets Now says an astounding third of Scotland’s pet owners will experience an emergency this festive season, and Vets Now will see a 33% surge in calls to its Scottish clinics (Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Kirkcaldy, Kilmarnock) in the run-up to Christmas as worried pet owners battle with the unexpected dangers of Christmas.

Vets Now sees a 788% increase in chocolate poisoning cases alone over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Dave Leicester, head of clinical intelligence at Vets Now said: ‘As a nation of pet lovers we all want to make sure our cherished companions join in with family Christmas celebrations, but at such a busy time of year for families, it’s easy to overlook the many hazards which can put them at risk of injury or illness.

‘We are encouraging pet owners not to let treats turn into treatment. There are well-known dangers – such as chocolate and raisins – that could put your pet at risk this Christmas, but many pet owners might not be aware of the more unexpected dangers that could see you spending your Christmas in the pet emergency room.’

Our pets are always a part of our Christmas – but make sure you feed them the right things

Here, Vets Now emergency staff have divulged the most unusual cases to come through their emergency hospitals and clinics at Christmas time.
Jealous of his owner’s Christmas dinner – a 7 year old Labrador devoured a block of stilton, an entire pack of six Mince Pies, a Christmas Pudding and a box of chocolates, all in one sitting.

A 13 year old Jack Russell managed to glue his mouth shut after scoffing a Christmas cracker and toy playing cards, inadvertently making a papier-mâché – it really was a silent night.

Intrigued by the twinkling fairly lights, a one year old kitten ascended the Christmas tree to see if these sparkly objects were in fact new toys, unfortunately she ended up with scorched paws, a burnt tongue and consequently no Christmas dinner.

Emergency surgery had to be performed on a 5-year-old Cocker Spaniel after it ingested an entire bath towel which was wrapped round a turkey. Luckily, the spaniel made a full recovery, but the veterinary surgeon is still left wondering why the turkey was wrapped in a bath towel.

Cats can be clumsy, as one cat proved last Christmas when he knocked over a snow globe, and either curious to have a taste, or just trying to clear up the mess he made, the cat ingested some of the liquid inside, resulting in a very poorly pet and an emergency trip to the vets.

Thanks to prompt action of the pet owners and the emergency service provided by Vets Now, all these pets made a full recovery. Dozens of human foods are dangerous for dogs, with some of the most common being chocolate, macadamia nuts, and grapes and raisins. Others include alcohol, caffeine, onions, garlic, and anything high in salt or fat.

Keep your pets happy this Christmas

The top ten Christmas hazards for pets lurking in our festive fancies and freshly decorated homes include:

Chocolate – Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, a bit like caffeine, that’s severely poisonous to cats and dogs;

Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings – all grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are toxic to dogs; as are foods that contain them;

Blue Cheese – it contains a substance called roquefortine C which dogs are extremely sensitive to;

Tinsel – dogs eat tinsel like we eat spaghetti causing dangerous blockages in their stomachs;

Macadamia nuts – often found in cookies, or food ingredients or just as a Christmas snack. These nuts cause severe illness in dogs;

Garlic, chives and onion are found in many foods such as gravy, stuffing and sausages. All Allium species are poisonous to dogs;

Snow Globes – imported versions can contain antifreeze, as little as one tablespoon can be fatal for a cat;

Candles – they can burn paws and the curious noses of our furry friends, and fall over when brushed against;

Fairy Lights – cats are curious and will try to chew on anything, including fairy lights that can burn them and wires which can electrocute them

Alcohol – this can cause severe liver and brain damage. As little as a tablespoon can lead to problems for your cat or dog.

A shocking 5.5m of dog owners across Britain unwittingly feed their pets these harmful foods at Christmas.

However, Vets Now also was warns that simply giving your pet too many treats as per of your Christmas family celebrations can also be dangerous.

Many pets are seen out of hours each Christmas with illness due to over indulgence of Christmas treats like chews and doggy chocs.

To inform and engage families Vets Now has details on how to deal with a Christmas emergency, www.vets-now.com/Christmas ensuring the whole family can enjoy a safe and happy Christmas.