Tips for a safe & healthy Christmas with your pet

We spoke to Fulham vet Sarah Ramsey and found out all about her most essential tips to ensure that your pet has a safe and healthy Christmas…

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I love this time of year; friends and family to catch up with, warm cosy nights by the fire, nice frosty country walks. Unfortunately, it is one of the busiest times of the year at a veterinary practice as the festive season is fraught with potential dangers and stresses if you are an animal.  In this article we are going to discuss Christmas poisons, arthritis, ways to keep pets stress free.

Christmas Poisons

If you suspect your pet to have eaten any of these substances call your vet immediately, stating how much has been eaten and when it occurred:

Ethylene Glycol

Ethylene glycol is found in antifreeze, screen wash and occasionally de-icers. It is very toxic to domestic animals particularly cats. It is sweet tasting and just small amounts can cause serious toxicity and death.

Chocolate

Theobromine, a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans, is the main toxin responsible for chocolate poisoning in animals. Theobromine is a similar chemical to caffeine and can cause tummy upsets, affect the central nervous system and the heart.

Christmas Trees 

Christmas tree ingestion can cause stomach upsets or blockages. More commonly the needles can cause trauma to the feet. Christmas tree water is unlikely to cause a problem if ingested.

Batteries

Ingestion at this time of year is common as they are often found in children’s toys. They can cause local burns and corrosive injuries to the throat and stomach and occasionally can cause systemic metal poisoning.

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Christmas Dinner

We all indulge a little bit at Christmas and we want to spoil our pets but a sudden change in diet and lots of table scraps may mean you come down on Boxing Day to a rather spectacular case of vomiting and diarrhoea.  It is also important to remember that bones can shatter and lodge in the intestines requiring emergency surgery and onions can cause anaemia. Your dog or cat would much rather have a nice long walk or a new toy than a big portion of turkey and an upset tummy!

Irritant contact dermatitis

As the weather cools we commonly see a lot of dogs coming into the practice with sore feet and this is due to coming into contact with ice and salt used to grit the roads.  The best way to avoid this is to wash and thoroughly dry your dog’s feet when coming back from a walk.

Arthritis

Again as the weather cools some older dogs or ones with previous injuries may suffer from arthritis. Signs of arthritis include stiffness on rising or reluctance to sit down, inability to climb stairs or jump in and out of the car.  Warm your dog’s muscles up by some deep strokes along the back and down the legs before and after a walk, make sure they are dried thoroughly after a walk and even consider a waterproof coat.  Speak to your vet if you are worried and they can prescribe anti-inflammatories and joint supplements.

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Stress free Christmas

It is important to maintain your pet’s routine throughout the holiday season especially if you are travelling or having guests to stay.  This is the best way to ensure your pets do not get upset or stressed by changes going on at home.  There are homeopathic and herbal remedies that can help with anxiety and pheromones which can help pets who are travelling or who are unhappy with visitors to the house.  Again the best person to ask for advice is your vet.

 We hope you and your pet have a very happy Christmas and a healthy New Year!

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