Get your pet through Christmas without going crackers
Giving your pet special food treats at Christmas might seem like a nice way to include him/her in the festivities, but you could be harming his/her health. Pet owners often like to give their dog or cat a little bit of the Christmas lunch, a bit of turkey, some stuffing, a roast potato or two, and even some trifle or Christmas pudding. Unfortunately, these foods are some of the ones that can trigger a food intolerance reaction in your pet. Symptoms can be itching and scratching, or upset stomach, with sickness and diarrhoea.
Richard Dixon managing director of Vets Now, explained, “Christmas is a time of celebration and merriment, but it can also be harmful for your pet, therefore, it’s important to maintain a regular routine over the festive break.
“We see so many different emergency cases during this time and it can be the simplest of things that cause harm, like overfeeding with rich food, swallowing poisonous substances or choking on decorations.”
Very fatty foods can also lead to problems such as pancreatitis, which is a very painful inflammatory condition.
Some pets have a more a delicate digestive system than others; so over indulgence can cause these pets to develop an upset tummy.
Tree Barks Powder is a herbal remedy used to help the digestive system get back to normal. It is ideal to give during periods of, and recovery from, acute diarrhoea. It is important however to consult your veterinary surgeon if diarrhoea persists for more than a few days.
Tree Barks Powder added to the feed is effective in soothing the digestive system of animals with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. It is also very good for convalescents recovering from illness.
Digestive supplement tablets can be used to soothe and settle windy tummies, and reduce flatulence along with its unpleasant odours.
These are all useful remedies to keep in your pet’s first aid box. If you are using herbal remedies for your pets, please make sure they are manufactured and licensed for animals, and not for human use. The dosages can be very different.
To help keep your pet safe this Christmas simply follow these seasonal tips:
· Make sure all your leftover chicken or turkey is put away, somewhere safe, where your dog or cat cannot reach. Your pet can easily choke on cooked chicken and turkey bones.
· Do not feed your pet grapes or raisins as these can cause poisoning. Just a handful of grapes have been shown to cause kidney failure. The toxins may be due to a type of mould found on the skin of grapes and raisins.
· Place food based presents out of reach. Dogs that smell food in packages are known to rip them open and eat the contents.
· Be careful that children’s toys are not left lying around, especially if they have small parts that your pet, including kittens and puppies, could tear or chew off and choke on.
· Plastic bags, balloons, tinsel, string, Christmas tree decorations, or any sharp objects can be dangerous if your dog swallows them.
· Keep houseplants out of your pet’s reach, as many of them are toxic. They include the ones we tend to have around at Christmas time, such as: Poinsettias, mistletoe, spider plants and ferns.
· Ask guests not to give your dog food from the dinner table, remember that poultry skin, fat trimmings, rich gravies and sauces can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis.
· Keep alcohol away from your pets.
· Death by chocolate. Be careful of vast quantities of chocolate lying around at Christmas time. Human chocolate should not be fed to dogs, as it contains a substance called bromine. This can cause poisoning and even be lethal if consumed by your dog. Plain dark chocolate is more dangerous, as it has more the bromine than milk chocolate. There have been cases of dogs dying after eating a box of dark chocolates. Drinking chocolate can also have the same effect. So far this year, 135 cases of chocolate poisoning have been reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are excessive drinking, vomiting, diarrhoea, collapse, and heart failure. If you suspect your dog is suffering from chocolate poisoning, you must call your vet immediately.
· Why not give your dog some raw or cooked vegetables instead of chocolate, as a healthy alternative. A great way to boost your dog’s immune system.
· Never give your pet any human medications. In some cases, owners have been known to give their pet a painkiller, or other form of medication, which has not been subscribed by the vet.
Mr Dixon said, “Christmas may mean that your daily schedule changes, but its important to keep your pet’s food and exercise regime the same to reduce its stress.”
He added, “It’s also important to remember that many veterinary practices have limited opening hours, so check with your vet prior to Christmas the opening times and any emergency contact details.
“Following these simple steps will certainly help your pet stay healthy and happy over the festive period.”