Submitted by Steve on 13:31, 18th Dec, 2014 | 0

Christmas can often be overwhelming for animals and there can be extra temptations around the home for inquisitive mouths.

Their usual home environment is filled with trees, flowers and other decorations and also there are odd noises such as crackers and fireworks.

Your routine is likely to change and there may be unfamiliar visitors coming to the house.

Following a few simple rules can mean the Christmas period can be as enjoyable for pets as for their owners.

Here are a few of the most common Christmas dangers around the home for your dog and pets -

Food hazards like chocolate, onions, nuts, blue cheese, fruit cakes, puddings and mince pies can all be toxic to dogs.

Watch out for turkey bones as these can cause choking, constipation or cause damage to your dog’s intestines.

Most species of Christmas trees are low toxicity, but may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhoea) if chewed. Pine needles in themselves can get stuck in paws and cause irritation as well as potentially causing irritation or perforation of the intestines if eaten. Vacuum daily and ideally keep plenty of water in the bucket to help reduce the number of fallen needles.

Crackers, party poppers and champagne corks can spook animals, so please take care.

Christmas decorations are designed to look attractive and beautiful, unfortunately this usually means they are also tempting to your furry friends. Whilst not often toxic in their own right they can still cause significant problems if ingested. Baubles will tend to splinter or smash into shards which can cause irritation, perforation or blockages and dogs tend to eat tinsel a little like spaghetti - often consuming an entire ribbon of tinsel in one go! Again these are often not especially toxic (even if not particularly nutritious either) but can bunch up and cause blockages or, more worryingly start to work their way through the guts whilst some is still in the stomach, this effectively runs a thread through the intestines and causes a linear foreign body which can be extremely serious!

Your dog may also get a nasty shock if they chew through the electrical cable or cat when playing in your tree from your Christmas lights!

Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are all pretty types of festive foliage are mildly toxic if ingested and can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea to name a few, so should be avoided or kept well out of reach.

Batteries Ingestion of batteries is more common at this time of year. If the battery is chewed and pierced it can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. If they are swallowed whole it is possible they will cause an obstruction. All batteries are potentially toxic so if you suspect your dog has chewed or swallowed a battery speak to your vet.

Presents are one area where people can come unstuck. We put a lot of effort in hiding away potential problems but then wrap up the big box of chocolates to place under the tree. Although we can no longer tell what it is... our dogs can! Apart from the irritation of having them unwrap someone else’s present and having diarrhoea in the living room on Christmas day, there is likely to be an emergency trip to the vets needed.

Make sure any tasty or tempting presents are placed high enough out of the way so that your dog can’t help themselves.

Antifreeze Ethylene glycol (anti freeze) ingestion is very dangerous. It is sweet-tasting and very palatable. Even a relatively small quantity can cause serious kidney damage and can be fatal. Unfortunately, the longer the delay between ingestion of the anti freeze and initiation of treatment the less favourable the prognosis.

It goes without saying, if in doubt about your pet’s health contact your vet and they will be able to advise you. 

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "We all have to ensure our pets are safe at Christmas and over the festive period and here are just a few tips."

"We hope one and all, humans and animals have a happy and safe Christmas from all at the GSPCA."


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