A harmonious and happy Christmas for both two- and four-legged friends is the best Christmas present you can give yourself. But Christmas is filled with many dangers. The only way to avoid them is to know about them in advance, so here's a little primer.
Leftover Christmas food is dangerous for animals
- Ribs, high in fat - can cause pancreatitis in dogs
- Stick meat, has a high salt content - can cause severe poisoning symptoms
- Cod, dangerous if the animal ingests bones that can damage the intestine, stomach or oesophagus
- Turkey - bird bones can be very harmful to the gastrointestinal system
- Garlic and onions. It's common to use onions and garlic in cooking, but for dogs these vegetables are toxic. Regardless of whether the garlic and onions are cooked or raw, these vegetables can damage the red blood cells. This can lead to something called anemia.
- Alcohol - unlike humans, dogs' kidneys cannot tolerate alcohol, so alcohol can cause health problems.
- Make sure your guests are also aware that they are not allowed to give leftovers from the party to your dog!
Chocolate, nuts and raisins
Don't leave Christmas treats out where a dog can get hold of them. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate contains more theobromine. Try to find out how much your dog has ingested if any. Contact your vet as soon as possible. Symptoms of poisoning are vomiting, agitation/hyperactivity and frequent respiration. In the worst case, convulsions and coma.
Christmas flowers such as swallowtail, Christmas rose, amaryllis and azalea
Most poisonous plants cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. Larger ingestions can cause tremors and convulsions. Watch the location of any poisonous flowers you have at home, or buy alternatives that are safe for animals.
Electric Christmas decorations - electrical burns
Christmas is a dark season and both candles and electric lights are frequently used in our homes. Keep candles out of reach and ensure that animals cannot access electrical wires. Puppies and younger dogs in particular may be tempted to chew on electrical wires. This can cause nasty burns to the mouth and even damage to internal organs.
Don't let your dog play with a ribbon
If ingested, they can tie up intestines and cause cutting injuries. If you have a curious dog in the house, keep a close eye on it and don't leave gifts out.
Christmas tree decorations that can be broken
Ornaments such as glass balls can easily shatter and cause unsightly cuts to paws. Use hangers that are secure on the tree and place the glass ornaments high up on the tree.
Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas!
Elisabeth is a veterinarian and certified ophthalmologist specialising in eye surgery, with further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.