Christmas is a great time of year and should be fun for all the family, pets included. However, the festive period is one where we introduce all manner of exciting items into our house that we don’t normally have. Some of these things can be potentially harmful to our pets and it’s worth knowing some of the pitfalls.
FOOD AND DRINK HAZARDS
Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine this is poisonous to dogs. The amount of theobromine differs in different types of chocolate (dark chocolate has the most in it)
Caffeine also contains stimulants similar to chocolate.
Onions, garlic, chives
These can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage.
Alcohol is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans. When consumed it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreaed coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremos, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
The substance called persin that is contained in the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are particularly sensitive and serious reactions such as congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart.
Grapes and Raisins
These fruits can cause kidney failure. Dogs that have had certain health problems may have even more serious reactions.
These cause weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia within 12 hours
This can cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system. Not only can this be painful but it may cause the stomach or intestines to become obstructed or distended.
Domestic dogs may choke on bones or sustain injury as the splinters can become lodged or puncture your dog’s digestive tract. Eating large quantities of bones can often lead to constipation.
Corn on the cob
This does not digest well in dogs stomachs. If your dog swallows a large chunk of cob or even whole, it can cause intestinal blockages due to the shape.
The artificial sweetner xylitol is found in many foods such as sugar-free gum and diet foods.It can cause insulin to be released causing hypoglycaemia. It has also been linked to acute liver failure and blood clotting disorders. Even very samll amounts can be dangerous.
As dogs don’t have significant amounts of the enzyme lactase, that breaks down the lactose in milk this can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies
These Christmas fancies are bad for dogs in a number of ways. They are jam packed with currents, raisins and sultanas. These are all a variation of the grape and as such have the same serious health risks. They are full of fat, which can often give pets severe stomach troubles or pancreatitis. This can be a very serious and costly disease to treat.
Most species are low toxicity but may cause mild gastrointestinal upset if chewed. Pine needles in themselves can get stuck in paws and cause irritation as well as potentially causing perforation of the intestines if eaten.
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, they can cause significant problems if ingested. Baubles will tend to splinter or smash into shards which can cause irritation, perforation or blockages. Tinsel can bunch up and cause blockages in the intestines. Your pet will also get a nasty shock if they chew through the electrical cables for your lights and could hang themselves on the wires if the get caught climbing up the tree.
If your pet does get into mischief and consumes any of these things then the first thing to do is contact your vet for advice.