Christmas is Here (written Nov 2015)

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I know they say the older you get the quicker the time passes by, and I am starting to understand this. It seems to be mere weeks since I last saw Christmas decorations in the shops and before you can say goodbye to the summer the shops are again full of Christmas stuff. Our pets are not forgotten, there are outfits, antlers and toys in all sorts of Christmas configurations. Most people now will make sure that their pets gets at least one present. Our dogs looks rather sad when I bring out the reindeer bells that I put around their collars, and I have restricted myself to only torturing them with it on the Christmas Day walk.

Seasonal warnings regarding Christmas coming up. 

Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs. As we have been getting more and more fond of chocolates with high cocoa content this has increased the risk of poisoning. We are now seeing dogs that have eaten good quality white chocolate that have also become poisoned. If you have a 10kg dog (size of a Cocker Spaniel) and it eats 60 grams of dark chocolate this is sufficient to cause a possible fatal toxicity. It would have to eat 500 grams of milk chocolate. Please make sure that you keep any chocolate out of reach of your pets. I have never seen chocolate poisoning in cats but it is even more toxic than in dogs. Thankfully cats just don't seem too interested in eating it. Last year we had a dog that had eaten alcohol filled chocolates, so not only was it being poisoned it was also drunk. We make them sick when they have eaten chocolate and, quite unusually, the chocolatey/alcoholic vomit we have to deal with smells quite nice!

Raisin and grape poisoning is also very common over Christmas. The problem with this is that we have no clear toxic level per kg to help us. We advise if dogs have eaten any products containing grapes or raisins that we make them sick. If the pet has just eaten it we can make them sick and empty the stomach. Again, keep fruit products out of the way of pets, and if they do eat something then the sooner you get to the vet the better. 

We also see more foreign bodies during the Christmas period, so again make sure your pet has no access to things that can get stuck in the gut. 

Cats can be very fond of climbing in your Christmas tree. This can create a hazard for you as an owner as it will not be fun to have the Christmas tree falling into your lap. I have some owners that have had to omit having any tree at all due to their cats obsession with climbing in it.

Hopefully we will all have a merry and peaceful Christmas, and have happy and healthy pets.

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