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Health Hazards All Pet Owners Should Be Aware of This Christmas

By Contributed content 18 December 2018

With the festive season in full swing, now is the time to gather with loved ones and celebrate with all manner of food and drinks. However, all of this creates an environment in which it is very easy for pets to be exposed to poisons and hazards, so to help you avoid a festive mishap, Chief Veterinary Surgeon for the SPCA, Dr Jane, offers some helpful tips for pet owners on how to keep your furry friends safe during the parade of gatherings this season.

 Don't Let Them Over Indulge

Just like humans, make sure not to over indulge your pets, in particular with fatty foods like turkey skin, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, and deep fried food this Christmas, as this can precipitate pancreatitis in animals that are prone to the condition – especially small breed dogs such as Schnauzers.

Beware of Toxic Treats

It's important to know that several foods are actually harmful to dogs, and can lead to serious health problems. Foods to avoid giving to your four-legged friend include:

  • Chocolates: these contain theobromine which, when consumed, can result in coma and even death. The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk
  • Sugarless candy: even sugar-free treats contain xylitol which can cause liver damage and death in some dogs
  • Alcohol: ingestion can lead to disorientation, coma, and death
  • Nuts: their high phosphorus content may result in bladder stone formation
  • Macadamia nuts: these can cause stomach upsets, lethargy, and vomiting – and occasionally swelling of the limbs
  • Nutmeg: is hallucinogenic when consumed in large doses. It can cause tremors, seizures, and death
  • Sugarless candy: even sugar-free treats contain xylitol which can cause liver damage and death in some dogs

Be Careful with Christmas Tree and Decorations

As much as we all love festive decorations, there are several important things that you need to remember when decking your halls, if you have pets in your home.

  • Be careful with chocolate Christmas decorations as chocolate is toxic (and potentially fatal) to dogs, as mentioned before
  • Be careful with ornaments, tree decorations, and tinsel etc. which may be ingested by cats and dogs, resulting in life threatening gastro-intestinal foreign bodies
  • Be aware that cats and dogs, especially young puppies and kittens, can chew through the electric cables on Christmas tree lightening, leading to dangerous consequences
  • Make sure to place your Christmas tree and large decorations in places when your pets can’t jump on them or pull them over

Keep Pets Away from Toxic Plants

Not all house plants are as innocent as they look when it comes to pets. Lilies of all types, for example can actually cause acute kidney failure in cats, if they nibble on the flowers or drink water from the vase they are contained in. Other yuletide plants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets, so make sure they are out of reach if you have them in your home this festive season

Who You Gonna Call?
In unfortunate circumstances where you find your pet sick, SPCA’s Wan Chai Centre will remain open over the public holiday. SPCA’s emergency vet services can be reached on +852 2711 1000.

Read more! Explore more pet related articles on Localiiz.

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