Vet warns which Christmas foods can be poisonous for pets

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Christmas is here, and with it come presents, decorations, and delicious festive foods.

However, did you know that a lot of the seemingly innocent treats we eat at this time of year are toxic to dogs and have the potential to kill them?

That is why a top UK vet has warned animal lovers to pet-proof their homes by keeping these foods out of paws’ reach this festive season. Malcolm Morley of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has urged pet owners to “be vigilant and take precautions” over the coming days.

It comes as four in five vets saw at least one case of toxic ingestion over the 2021 Christmas period, according to a BVA study.

With that in mind, here are five ways to keep Christmas hazard-free.

Which Christmas foods are poisonous to dogs?

Numerous Christmas foods and traditional items are poisonous to cats and dogs. According to the British Veterinary Association, these foods should be kept out of reach for dogs at all costs:

  • chocolate
  • sweets
  • raisins
  • xylitol (found in sugar-free treats)
  • nuts
  • grapes
  • liquorice
  • poinsettias
  • holly
  • mistletoe

Keep decorations out of reach

To dogs, ribbons, wrapping paper, ornaments, tinsel, and tree lights may look like fun playthings, but if they break, gnaw on, or ingest them, they could be extremely harmful. 

Batteries for Christmas presents should also be stored safely because they can burn the mouth, throat, and stomach severely if consumed.

Do not give pets festive food

Christmas dinners and fatty foods should not be given to our pets.

They can trigger sickness, diarrhoea, or other conditions ranging from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis, so try to stick to your pet’s regular diet and routine.

Too many treats can also lead to pet obesity.

Do not give bones to your dogs

Given their potential to splinter and puncture the digestive tract, cooked bones, particularly turkey bones, should not be given to dogs.

What to do if your dog eats something poisonous

Animal accidents and emergencies can still occur even with all the care in the world.

Make sure you are prepared by checking your vet’s emergency cover provision and holiday opening hours, or, if you are away from home, use the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ Find a Vet facility.

British Veterinary Association President Malcolm Morley said: “Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year but not if you end up with a poorly pet.

“Being vigilant and taking a few key precautions is all that is needed to keep your pets happy and healthy over the festive period.

“Keep all edible items, decorations and anything else a pet may mistake for a tasty treat out of their reach to help prevent avoidable emergency visits to the vet.

“We also advise keeping pets to their normal diets and avoiding feeding them any human food.

“If you are concerned your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, do contact your vet as soon as possible.”

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