Christmas is nearly here and as you start to decorate your house for the festive season, spare a thought for the deadly dangers posed to your pets by Christmas decorations, gifts and toys.
Christmas decorations, especially tinsel, baubles and ribbons can be potentially fatal for curious four-legged family members.
Dr Cymantha Sorensen who runs the Yanchep Veterinary Clinic and Animal Hospital treats many cats and dogs who are poisoned or injured after exposure to dangerous decorations, toxic foods and small toys over the Christmas/New Year period.
“Cats and dogs are attracted to sparkly tinsel, ribbons and string thinking they are toys. However, one nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.”
“Keep wires, batteries, lighted candles and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach. Wires can deliver electric shocks; punctured batteries can cause burns to the mouth and bits of broken ornaments can tear your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.”
It is also important to secure your real or artificial Christmas tree, so it doesn’t tip or fall and injure your pet. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea if they drink the water under the tree.
Dr Sorensen urges pet owners to also be vigilant about small toy parts strewn around the house. These parts are often too large to be defecated and can cause life-threatening intestinal obstructions.
“It is not uncommon for us to see one or two dogs each holiday season who have eaten decorations or part of a child’s toy and must undergo surgery to remove it,” she said.
Traditional Christmas foods and goodies are toxic to pets. Always remember to keep the ham, pork, chocolates, grapes, and raisins out of the reach of your pets.
An enterprising pet will go to any length to get to something yummy. Keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food and alcoholic drinks and be sure to secure the lids on all rubbish bins.
Dr Sorensen advises pet owners to refrain from using remedies and treatments suggested by friends, neighbours and internet sites.
“There is no substitute for a thorough examination and evaluation by a veterinarian who is trained to diagnose and treat poisonings and other emergency problems in dogs and cats.”