Tips to keep your pet safe this Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, a St. Helens veterinary practice is urging pet owners to keep an eye on festive treats this Christmas.

Rutland House Veterinary Hospital is warning that pets can be exposed to food, drink and products harmful to them during the festive season.

One of the most common emergencies over Christmas is dogs choking or suffering internal damage from eating turkey bones, with chocolate, which contains a chemical toxic to pets, being another culprit to beware of.

The St Helens vet has also seen pets being brought in after eating Christmas decorations.

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Stephanie Walsh, a senior vet at Rutland House, said: “In December we see many cases of pets eating something they shouldn’t have and the number is increasing as Christmas Day approaches.

“We see many cases of poisoning during the Christmas season. In most cases, the owner was not at all aware of the hidden dangers and simply wanted to be kind to his pet.

“You don’t want a sick pet or a trip to the vet on Christmas Day. Losing a pet during the holiday season would be even worse, so we urge owners to be extra cautious.

“We see many instances of dogs stealing the Christmas turkey or taking chocolates under the tree, so it’s important to keep food and treats out of pets’ reach.”

How to protect your pet

Here are 12 dangers to avoid and expert tips to keep your pet safe over the holidays:

Alcohol – Make sure alcoholic beverages and food are out of reach as the effects on pets are similar to humans and can cause severe liver damage.

Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen – These pain relievers can be fatal to pets if swallowed.

Antifreeze – This is probably a much-needed tool in winter, but it can be toxic to cats if consumed. Make sure to keep it away immediately after use.

Fireworks – Make sure similar campfire night preparations are made in advance by keeping your pet indoors, closing curtains, and turning on the TV to block out loud noises that might startle them.

Batteries – After using batteries in children’s toys, make sure unused batteries are out of your pet’s reach as they can cause serious damage.

Chocolate – This sweet treat contains theobromine, a chemical that can cause serious harm to pets. All types of chocolate contain the chemical, but darker chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa have the greatest amount of theobromine.

Christmas cakes, mince pies and Christmas puddings – ingredients in these holiday desserts like raisins, sultanas and currants can cause kidney failure in some pets and be fatal.

Holly Berries – May cause vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, and weakness in dogs.

Sugar-free candies and breath mints – These contain a chemical called xylitol, which can cause serious harm to pets.

Cooked Bones – Turkey, chicken, lamb, beef, and pork bones can easily splinter and pierce your dog’s stomach. To protect your pet, avoid feeding cooked bones and make sure the container is secured.

Onions – Onions, garlic, chives and leeks belong to the allium family and are toxic to cats and dogs as they are found in high concentrations in foods such as stuffing and sauces.

Poinsettia – These plants are toxic to cats and can cause vomiting, excessive salivation, loss of appetite, lethargy, and depression. Tips to keep your pet safe this Christmas

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