10 Festive foods your pet should avoid.

As the festive season approaches like a steam train going down a steep hill, it is worth considering how our food can affect our pets.  So here are ten foods your pets should avoid this Christmas.

1. Chocolate-contains a chemical called Theobromine, which makes it toxic to dogs. The amount of this substance varies depending on the type of chocolate, with dark chocolate being the worst for your pet. Signs of chocolate poisoning can include restlessness, collapse, seizures and diarrhoea. In some cases it can be fatal. If you think your pet may have ingested some chocolate, please phone us for advice. If it happens outside of normal working ours you will be directed to our emergency line.

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2. Grapes – These can be very toxic to your pet, and sometimes eating only one or two can result in sudden kidney failure.
3. Christmas cake/Pudding/Mince pies – All of these festive treats contain raisins, which are the dried form of grapes. Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting and diarrhoea, lethargy, weakness, not wanting to eat and difficulty urinating. Cakes and puddings also contain high levels of fat, which can lead to your pet having an upset tummy, diarrhoea and vomiting. It can also trigger a bout of pancreatitis, which is a painful condition that requires a trip to the vets.

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4. Bones – Turkey and chicken bones are hollow so can easily shatter, either when cooked or eaten raw. We strongly advise against feeding your pet bones as splintered bones can penetrate the gut wall. This can cause a potentially fatal condition called peritonitis and can require life saving surgery. Make sure any left over turkey, chicken, duck or goose bones are safely disposed of so your pet doesn’t delve into the bins and steal them!

5. Alcohol – Lots of people like to indulge in a festive tipple or two over the holiday season. However, letting your pets share your drink is not a good idea. Even a small amount of alcohol can be toxic to pets . If you are leaving a little glass of sherry out for Santa, make sure it safely out of harms way!
6. Nuts – Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. For a 10kg dog, 24g of nuts would be enough to make them feel sick, wobbly, and weak. It would also cause them to overheat. If your dog manages to eat any nuts this Christmas, please give us a call. The toxicity is easily treated and your pet can be back to normal within 24 hours if treatment is started early.

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7. Gravy – Dogs and cats can find left over gravy irresistible but it can cause them lots of problems. Gravy has a high fat and salt content, which can lead to upset tummies, diarrhoea and flatulence. It can also trigger Pancreatitis, a painful condition that can be costly to treat.
8. Onions- Onion toxicity can affect both dogs and cats. Signs of poisoning will occur a few days after eating the offending item. These can include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, pain in the abdomen, rapid breathing and weakness. Garlic, leeks, shallots and chives belong to the same plant family as onions and can cause similar problems.

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9. Blue Cheese- Roquefort and other blue cheeses contain a substance that can make dogs poorly. In extreme cases it may cause muscle tremors that can last for days, so make sure to keep the cheese board away from your pets!
10. Waste food- Christmas food waste often accumulates over the holidays, especially when bin collections are few and far between. Mouldy food can contain toxins which will your pet very ill. Make sure that food waste is kept safe and secure to prevent your pet from breaking into the bins.

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