BE CAREFUL: Ipswich vet Dr Andrew Hemming is warning pet owners to be vigilant with their Christmas treats this month.
BE CAREFUL: Ipswich vet Dr Andrew Hemming is warning pet owners to be vigilant with their Christmas treats this month. FatCamera

Protect your pets from lethal treats

CHRISTMAS is nearly upon us and that means a little bit of overindulgence!

Balmy nights, hot days and the impending Christmas holiday period. Evenings and weekends filled with lots of yummy food, catch-ups with family and friends, and no doubt firing up the old barbecue.

But what about our pets? They deserve a little bit of Christmas cheer right? They've been so good for the last 11 months eating their bags of Royal Canin pet food day in, day out. Maybe the odd dental chew and a sneaky scoop of wet food here and there (but we all know how that comes out the back end, and oh the smell).

If we're having a fry-up with bacon, eggs, sausages and greasy onions our pooches can have that also, right? No! Dogs and cats don't need Christmas cheer. They don't need special treats that are going to make their bellies gurgle and pancreas shiver in their membranes. Dogs and cats need consistency and regularity to avoid those pre, during and post-Christmas blues. If you want something irresistible for their Christmas sacks, drop in and try our new Ziwi Peak treats - then they will think all their Christmases have come at once!

There are a number of things that will specifically cause havoc to your pets, not just over the Christmas holiday period but all year round.

These include:

Chocolate: The most common thing that everyone always talks about is chocolate. As we know, chocolate comes in all sorts of amazing combinations and concoctions. The least dangerous of the chocolates to our pets is actually white chocolate, because it isn't specifically a chocolate. Although it tastes absolutely scrumptious, it has no coco powder in it, meaning no nasty effects for our pets.

Milk chocolate can cause problems if they eat heaps of it, but the worst of all is dark or cooking chocolate which has very high levels of the two products that makes our animals sick. Caffeine is found in quantities in chocolate to make animals go off their chops, and theobromine causes our pets to become very sick causing vomiting, seizures and even death.

If your pet gets into your Christmas stash over the holidays, make sure you get them to a vet as soon as possible to bring those nasties back up.

Nuts: Many nuts can cause problems for dogs, but the worst offender is macadamias. The unseeded nut can cause obstructions when eaten by your pets, but the cracked delicious white centre causes neurological issues when consumed.

Vegetables: Anything from the Allium family of plants which includes onions, garlic, chives and the like will cause issues with your dog or cat's blood oxygen carrying ability. Animals that eat lots of these things will usually present very sick with brown coloured blood. Corn is also one to avoid, not because it is toxic, but because dogs have a tendency to swallow whole cobs of the stuff, which inevitably don't pass all the way through their bodies, resulting in an expensive bill to remove them surgically.

Fruit: Believe it or not, fruit can be deadly to your pets. Just a small bunch of the humble grape (or just as bad raisins, currants and sultanas) will knock your pet's kidneys out of action, resulting in severe kidney failure. If realised straight away, we can induce vomiting in your pet, removing as much of the toxin as possible, but they will need to go on intravenous fluid support to help flush out the toxins and help the kidneys through the trauma. So no digging into the pudding for your four legged family members this Christmas! Mangoes aren't specifically toxic to your pets (which goes for avocados as well), but like corn cobs, many pips and seeds have been removed from the intestines of dogs.

Lollies: If you boil up your own old fashioned lollies for the kids over Christmas and your pooch sneaks one off the bench, don't worry too much. Purchased lollies on the other hand usually have xylitol as the sugar component (fake sweetener) not sugar. Xylitol results in liver failure in just a few days, so best to keep that out of their stockings.

And no tipples of red wine, rum, vodka, or brandy butter for your little ones (two or four legged) over the holiday period either. Keep that good stuff for human celebration!

Have an amazing Christmas everyone!

For a safe Christmas, drop in and say hi to us at Flinders View Veterinary Surgery, which is located at 2/6 Astral Crt, Flinders View (and at the Ripley Town Centre when it opens in 2018).

Flinders View Veterinary Surgery will be closed during the holiday season, from Christmas to New Year's, so if your pet has a medical emergency, take them to an emergency vet straight away.

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