So Christmas is nearly upon us (scarily again!) – this time of year can be full of festive cheer for our furry friends, but please remember to look out for their health at this time.
Around Christmas time there are lots of things that can keep us vets busy, many of which can easily be avoided, so for top tips on things to avoid this festive season to keep your pet safe read on…
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
These horrible ticks are grey in colour and are common on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches as well as the South Coast. Remember to always use tick prevention in your pets no matter where they are in Sydney (as they can appear in places you least expect).
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Remember, as delicious as it is to us,chocolate is toxic to dogs. Please contact you vet if your pampered pooch grabs any of the holiday stash to check if they have eaten a dangerous dose!
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Remember our furry friends as temperatures soar in Sydney around Christmas. Always provide them with shade, fresh water and never leave dogs unattended in hot cars.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Macadamia nut poisoning
When planning your festive fare remember macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause muscle weakness, vomiting and lethargy. Please contact your vet if any nuts are eaten by your dog.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me..
Remember to keep cooked bones, Christmas decorations and presents away from both dogs and cats. If eaten, these strange objects can get stuck in the windpipe, food tube and anywhere in between the mouth and the bottom in our pets, often needing surgery to be retrieved.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Raisin or grape toxicity
Raisins are almost ubiquitous in our Christmas dinners and grapes often make a guest appearance on cheese boards. Remember that both raisins and grapes in any quantity (even one or two) can cause kidney failure – so keep the mince pies and Christmas pud away from your furry friends!!!
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Poinsettia are those beautiful red Christmas plants that often adorn our tables at Christmas. Pretty as they are did you know that eating them can result in vomiting and diarrhoea? And the sap is very irritant to animals skin. So keep them separate from your family pet.
Other plants to look out for include pine needles, lilies, holly and mistletoe to name a few.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Being a behaviour vet I am acutely aware of the strains we put on our pets at Christmas time. Expecting them to happily accept rowdy parties and long days alone in the house. Always allow your pet somewhere to take themselves away from scary situations and be mindful what effect your plans can have on your dog or cat.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Christmas lights are often just too irresistible for cats and dogs alike. Always keep wires away from sharp teeth as chewing cables can cause both electrical burns and electrocution.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eating fatty foods in dogs has been directly linked to the development of pancreatitis – an inflammation of the pancreas causing vomiting, lethargy and abdominal pain. So please refrain from spoiling your pet too much with human food over the holiday season.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Firework and noise phobia
Please be mindful of fireworks around this holiday season. Provide your pet somewhere safe to hide and comfort them if this helps. If your pet’s anxiety around noises is severe please contact your veterinarian to discuss drug options that may help.
And finally on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Batteries are used in many new toys that will be bought around this time. Please keep them away from pets as ingestion can cause burns to the gastrointestinal tract and can be fatal 🙁
So now you know what to look forward to please enjoy a happy healthy festive period with your furry friends 🙂
Dr Julie is a veterinarian and behaviourist and works in Sydney