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Looking after your canine friends at Christmas

December 2010

We all look forward to Christmas and expect our pets to have fun too. Unfortunately "fun" for many dogs is raiding the boxes of chocolates under the Christmas tree or helping themselves to the contents of the fridge!

Be prepared and think ahead - keep chocolates out of reach as only a small amount of dark chocolate in particular can be poisonous to dogs. Much of our Christmas fare is really too rich for dogs; high fat foods can cause a very painful condition called "pancreatitis" where the pancreas gland becomes inflamed and can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and severe abdominal pain. We often see an increase in numbers of dogs with this condition around Christmas and the New Year.

Beware of Bones! - there will be many a Vet who has celebrated New Year in the Operating Theatre removing bones that have caused an obstruction of the bowel. This is usually seen in dogs up to several days after eating bones and can be fatal if not treated urgently by surgically removing the offending piece of bone.

Puppies are great fun but are not a suitable Christmas present; wait until the festivities have calmed down so that the poor little chap / lassie has a relaxing environment to settle into. If you do have a pup or adolescent dog around during the festive period, please be aware that they will see no difference between chewing an old pair of slippers or newspaper and raiding the Christmas presents under the tree! Be Warned!!! It only takes a few unsupervised minutes for chaos to ensue.

Take a few precautions, have fun and enjoy a seasonal break with your favourite companion - Merry Christmas!

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