Wednesday 21 December 2016

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid ... unless you're a pet-owner !

I couldn't help but smile when this popped into my inbox earlier because I definitely recognised the Madhouse pooches. One year, I got a big box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates which I put out of harm's way (I thought), in the middle of the dining room table when we went out shopping. When we came back, there were chocolates and empty foil wrappers thrown all around the room - under the settee, behind the cushions, on the floor, on the table, ... We worked out that the dogs had used the chairs (pushed right in so it must have been a wriggle) to climb up on the table, somehow open the still-sealed plastic box and then throw them around all over the place to unwrap them - they didn't eat the foil, just the chocolates ! They got through the best part of the box and, although it makes me smile now, it actually made Vicky really ill - she was hyperventilating, her heart was pounding and she was violently sick all night long (sorry for the details but the sick was basically pure melted chocolate), so much so that at one point, I wasn't sure if she was going to pull through.

In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers that our beloved pets can face during the Festive Period, Vets Now, the out-of-hours emergency vet provider, has created an emergency pet plan which owners can download for FREE to ensure heaven stays a place on earth for their furry friends: They also created  ‘Pet Heaven’ which you can see in the cute videos in this post, with the world’s first catnip bar, complete with catnip-laced cocktails, and an opulent ‘Dogs Dinner’ Christmas spread, using only ingredients that are safe for dogs to eat.

Vets Now sees a 41% increase in pet emergencies during the holidays and one in two pet owners don’t have an emergency plan – they don’t know what they’d do if their pet fell ill over Christmas. Unfortunately a third of pet owners will experience an emergency over Christmas, with 62% of Vets Now cases caused by pets eating novelty festive items. 9 in 10 poisonings happen while the pet is in its own home and 5.5m of dog owners unknowingly feed their pets harmful foods at Christmas.

To mark the beginning of this busy time of year, Vets Now emergency staff have divulged the weirdest and wackiest cases to come through their practices at Christmas time.

1. Jealous of his owner’s Christmas dinner - a 7 year old Labrador devoured a block of stilton, an entire pack of six Mince Pies, a Christmas Pudding and a box of chocolates, all in one sitting.

2. A 13 year old Jack Russell managed to glue his mouth shut after scoffing a Christmas cracker and toy playing cards, inadvertently making a paper maiche – it really was a silent night.

3. Intrigued by the twinkling fairly lights, a one year old kitten ascended the Christmas tree to see if these sparkly objects were in fact new toys, unfortunately she ended up with scorched paws, a burnt tongue and consequently no Christmas dinner.

4. Emergency surgery had to be performed on a 5 year old Cocker Spaniel after it ingested an entire bath towel which was wrapped round a turkey. Luckily, the spaniel made a full recovery, but the veterinary surgeon is still left wondering why the turkey was wrapped in a bath towel?!

5. Cats can be clumsy, as one cat proved last Christmas when he knocked over a snow globe, and either curious to have a taste, or just trying to clear up the mess he made, the cat ingested some of the liquid inside, resulting in a very poorly pet and an emergency trip to the vets.

Luckily, they all pulled through but to help avoid similar incidents, here are a list of the top ten festive hazards for pets:

1. Chocolate
Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine - a bit like caffeine - that’s severely poisonous to cats and dogs
2. Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings
All grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are toxic to dogs, as are the foods that contain them
3. Blue Cheese
Contains a substance called Roquefortine C which dogs are extremely sensitive to
4. Tinsel
Dogs eat tinsel like we eat spaghetti. It can cause dangerous blockages in the stomach
5. Salt Dough Ornaments
The mix of flour and salt with water can cause a potentially fatal salt toxicosis if ingested by any pet
6. Poinsettia, Mistletoe and Ivy
All mildly toxic to both cats and dogs
7. Wrapping Paper
While toxicity is low, eating a large amount of paper could cause an obstruction in the stomach
8. Snow Globes
Imported versions can contain antifreeze. As little as one tablespoon can be fatal for a cat
9. Candles
Can burn the paws and curious noses of our furry friends. Their tails can also knock them over, which could mean (trouble for your) curtains
10. Alcohol
Can cause severe liver and brain damage. As little as one tablespoon can lead to problems for your cat or dog

“As a nation of pet lovers we want to include our furry best friends in the family Christmas celebrations, but at such a busy time of year we can often overlook the many hazards which can put them at risk of injury or illness,” commented Amanda Boag, Clinical Director at Vets Now.  “Whilst we are always here to give your pets the best possible care in the event of an emergency, we also want to help in any way we can to prevent these emergencies from ever happening. To inform and engage families we have created the Vets Now Emergency Pet Plan which can be downloaded for FREE from, ensuring the whole family can enjoy a safe and happy Christmas.”

Hopefully, you won't need it, but it's better to be safe than sorry !

Disclosure ; I was gifted some chocolate for spreading news of the free pet plan - I'll have to keep it well out of the way of the Madhouse dogs !

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