Christmas is a time for families and friends to come together and spend quality time, this often includes our pets, but be aware that there are a lot of hidden dangers for our beloved pets around this time of year.
The abundance of food can be a problem for our pets, especially if they love food and well-meaning guests cannot ignore your dog’s big brown eyes. Too much fatty food can cause a gastro intestinal upset, which can be mild with mild vomiting and diarrhoea that may resolve or more severe gastrointestinal signs and sometimes even pancreatitis. So if your dog is bloated, is vomiting a lot, is depressed, lethargic, not interested in food or normal things, is weak or has gastrointestinal bleeding then visit Cronulla Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible for emergency veterinary care.
Cooked bones can’t be digested by your animal’s intestines and can therefore cause obstructions. The sharp edges of cooked bones can also damage the intestinal tract which can be life threatening to your pet.
The pieces of string holding the turkey or roast meats together, when eaten by dogs or cats act as a linear foreign body, effectively getting stuck and cutting into the intestinal wall, which is a life threatening situation. The same goes for finger foods stuck on cocktail sticks or skewers. Your pet may not be able to distinguish between the edible and non edible part and the stick, resulting in swallowing the entire object which can cause major internal damage.
Certain foods can also be toxic for your pet, examples include:
Chocolate – Toxic ingredient is theobromine. Any product with theobromine in it is toxic. Some of these products include cocoa powder, baking chocolate and cocoa mulch. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.
Signs of toxicity: Anxiety, vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, muscle tremors, high temperature, seizures, irregular heart rate or the animal falling into a coma.
As well as containing the toxic ingredient theobromine chocolate is high in fats and sugars and can upset the intestinal tract and pancreas.
Raisins, sultanas and grapes (fruitcake!) are toxic to dogs and cats – this Includes both seeded and seedless grapes, as well as store bought, home grown and grape pressings.
Signs of toxicity: vomiting, high heart rate, rapid breathing, dullness.
Onions – toxic component is organosulfoxides which can be found in onions, leeks, garlic and onion powder. Any meal containing this is also toxic, including home cooked human food
Signs of toxicity: Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, lethargy, weakness, pale mucous membranes, blood in urine and collapsing.
Causes: Damage to red blood cells.
Artificial Sweeteners such as Xylitol – found in human “sugar free” products such as dental products, sugar free mints, sugar free gum and low carb baked goods.
Signs of toxicity:Vomiting, weakness, incoordination, depression, tremors, collapsing, seizures and the animal falling into a coma
Causes: Low blood sugar and liver failure
Christmassy plants – Mistletoe and holly are poisonous! And even live Christmas Trees are mildly toxic. The fir tree oils can irritate the mouth and stomach and cause drooling and vomiting. The tree needles are not digestible and so sharp that they could even puncture the gut when swallowed. Christmas tree water can also contain the fir tree oils, so try to keep your pet from chewing on the tree or drinking the tree water. Other plants such as lilies and poinsettias can also be toxic, so be careful about how to decorate your home!
Christmas Decorations can also cause problems for our pets, especially when chewed on or eaten as there is a high risk of obstruction and possible need for surgical removal of the foreign body. Electrical cords often pose as a threat as they can be chewed on as well, either by playful puppies and kittens or even the free roaming rabbit.
Sometimes a lot of changes with lots of guests and constant loud noise can upset the dog or cat. It is important to make sure they have a safe haven to retreat to, and try to keep some normality in their day to day routine, such as making time for walks or play time.
If your pet does seem unwell during the Christmas Holidays, please make sure not to give him or her any Panadol or nurofen, but contact Cronulla Vet Clinic instead. If unattended, our phone message will give you the phone number of the emergency Vet Hospital to contact instead.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!