We’d like to help make sure your pet stays happy and healthy this silly season so here’s a list we’ve compiled of the ‘Twelve Pet Hazards of Christmas’:
Christmas can be a risky time for your pet. There is usually lots of food around as well as plenty of people, parties and changes in routine. You may not be able to keep an eye on your pet as much as usual and on top of this, we tend to find that pets can get themselves into all sorts of trouble during this period. Keep an eye out for the following hazards, and give you and your pet the best shot at a happy, healthy, holiday season!
1. Christmas dinner and leftovers: These are all too rich for our pets and can cause nasty tummy upsets and even life threatening Pancreatitis. We recommend you stick to ‘pet approved’ treats only, and avoid the temptation to feed your pet Christmas ham under the table.
2. Macadamia nuts: While they are very popular at Christmas, Macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs if ingested. The toxicity leads to muscle weakness, vomiting and tremors.
3. Sultanas and raisins are common in Christmas cakes and grapes make a lovely addition to a fruit platter but they may contain a mycotoxin which can cause kidney failure in dogs. Keep these out of paws reach!
4. BBQ skewers can be catastrophic for pets if they are accidentally ingested. Take extra care to ensure your pet doesn’t grab one that has fallen off the BBQ. NEVER feed your pet cooked bones as these can splinter, or cause an obstruction, and result in the need for emergency intestinal surgery.
5. Chocolate – dogs can’t metabolise the theobromine in chocolate. Chocolate ingestion can lead to an increased heart rate, tremors, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate the more toxic, and the size of the dog and amount ingested also plays a part in the severity of the symptoms. Seek veterinary attention immediately if your dog eats chocolate.
6. Decorations such as tinsel and fairy lights are very attractive to pets (especially cats) but can lead to a gastric obstruction if eaten.
7. Ribbons and string tied around presents are also super attractive to cats and if ingested can lead to a nasty gastric obstruction requiring emergency surgery.
8. The Christmas tree might be an attractive indoor ‘pee tree’ but can also be a falling hazard.
9. Lots of guests can cause your pet to become stressed and even lead to them trying to escape, so make sure they have a safe and quiet place to retreat to.
10. Christmas lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. The stamen, leaves and stems are all potentially toxic as is the water they are stored in. If possible, it’s best not to have them in the first place.
11. Snakes are out and about and will be all summer. Take care in long grass, around water or areas where there are rodents (grain sheds and chicken pens are common places.)
12. Heatstroke: Never leave your pet in the car during the warmer weather as heat stroke can occur very quickly. Even on a mild day, the temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels in minutes. Leaving a window down will not help either, so please don’t risk it! It’s best to avoid car trips in the heat with your pet unless absolutely necessary.
And don’t forget! Heat stroke is not limited to a hot car. The strong Aussie heat can have an effect on your pets too.
Taking your pup for a walk is a great idea, but not in the heat of the day. Test concrete with the back of your hand before walks – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Keep your pets in the cool air, and the shade, and save exercise for mild evening, or early morning temperatures.