Blue Mountains News

Keeping Pets Healthy and Happy at Christmas

Source: RSPCA NSW
Archived 7 Jan 2018 - Posted: 23 Dec 2017
Image: RSPCA NSW
It may be hard to resist a pleading face, but it could save your pet’s life. Christmas food is among some of the most dangerous for animals to consume. So before you drop a titbit under the table, think about what it could do to your pet’s health.

Treats can be given sparingly and in small quantities. In general, human foods should not be used as treats, although some vegetables such as carrots or green beans make good treats. The best dog treats are very small, low-calorie but high-reward options, such as training treats. Large jerky-like treats such as Schmacko’s should be avoided as they are very high in calories. Also, treats that are too hard like hard bones, antlers, and some rawhide treats can cause tooth fractures – particularly to small teeth, or dogs that are enthusiastic chewers.

Christmas is almost upon us, and with all that delicious food around, animals can be just as tempted to indulge as us humans. But the results can be severe for our pets. Many common Christmas foods contain ingredients that can do serious internal damage or even be fatal to animals. Grapes, chocolate and onion are just a few of the things that can cause your poor pooch intense pain, or make your beloved cat vomit.

RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Christina Zhu advises, “Don’t share human food and drinks with your pets at Christmas, as what does not affect you may be toxic to your pet.”

Festive foods to keep away from your pets:

Pork or ham
Can cause intense pain, pancreatitis and shock.

Fruit cake
Currants, grapes and raisins – all common ingredients in a fruit cake – are toxic to a dog’s kidneys. Eating these can make your four-legged friend lethargic, and cause increased thirst and vomiting. Fruit cake also often contains alcohol, which can also be toxic.

Chocolate
For dogs, can cause diarrhoea, an elevated heart rate, seizures and vomiting.

Macadamia nuts
Can cause severe abdominal pain, the inability to walk and an increased heart rate.

Alcohol
Can cause intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing, and even coma and/or death.

Avocado
Can cause diarrhoea, heart congestion and vomiting in dogs.

Coffee
Can be fatal to dogs, and cause seizures, heart problems and vomiting.

Onion
Can cause your pet’s red blood cells to burst, leading to anaemia.

All the visitors over the festive period also mean a lot of handbags lying around. These can be a serious danger for persistent pets, as many contain sugarless chewing gum and pain medication. Chewing gum commonly contains xylitol. This is poisonous to dogs, causing lethargy, liver failure, seizures, vomiting and weakness. Paracetamol can be fatal to pets, particularly cats. Warning signs that your feline friend has managed to help himself are grey-blue gums and salivation.

Christmas decorations, including candles, should be kept well out of their reach of pets. A plastic or glass tree ornament may look like a tennis ball to a dog, but if one breaks in his mouth, it could damage his tongue and intestines. Edible decorations, such as candy canes, are also tempting, but could prove fatal. Hanging decorations at the top of the tree will help reduce this risk.

Sparkly ribbon, tinsel, tree lights and wrapping paper also pose threats. Floral arrangements containing holly, mistletoe, lilies and poinsettias are all poisonous and potentially fatal to pets.

Some pets are known to do anything to get their paws on treats. If your pet eats anything he shouldn’t have done, or displays any of the side effects listed above, RSPCA NSW advises taking him to one of our vet hospitals across New South Wales or to your local veterinarian as quickly as possible.

RSPCA NSW will still be up and running during the festive season, but will close on 25, 26 and 27 December 2017 and 1 January 2018. As always, our contact centre is open every day for emergencies and to report animal cruelty and can be reached on 1300 278 3589.

 
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