Christmas time is approaching, a time when we all want to have fun and enjoy spending special, quality time with our families. As our pets form part of our families, we want to make sure they too can enjoy everything the festive period has to offer. What happens, however, if something doesn’t go quite to plan with our pets and you need advice?

What is an emergency?

An emergency is any situation which if not acted on quickly, could deteriorate rapidly, leading to significant harm.

Christmas time normally involves eating lots of different food and receiving gifts; If it looks tasty to us, it smells tasty to them! Even if it’s toxic…

Christmas poses lots of other risks to our pets too! All those new gifts look fun and exciting to play with. However, for our pets, certain items could be too large and get lodged in a strange places within the digestive tract. A lodged foreign body is almost always an emergency as it blocks or damages the intestines.

Read on to learn about all those common Christmas hazards that you may not be aware of.

Foods that are toxic to pets

Often present around the festive period, special care is needed with anything containing cocoa, raisins, macadamia nuts, or alcohol. The darker the chocolate, the more danger associated. Our staff are able to discuss any additional toxic foods that should be avoided. Remember, pets can be made fatally ill by eating some of these foods. You must see a vet urgently should your pet swallow a toxic substance in order to obtain the best prognosis.

Other outdoor dangers

Winter brings cold and ice, with the main hazards being Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and road salt; both are highly toxic to our pets if ingested. We all love a winter walk with our pets too, but icy and slippery paths pose just as much of a hazard to our pets, as they do us. If your pet does happen to fall or starts to bleed from a wound, you should seek veterinary attention. Similarly, if you fear your pet has become too cold whilst outdoors, please call us and we will discuss the necessary steps to help your pet – these will be different case dependant. If in doubt, give us a ring.

Are there any symptoms that I should look out for?

You know your pet best. Any sudden change in behaviour or mood could be suggestive of illness.

Look out for: panting, drooling, hypersalivation, vomit, diarrhoea, sweating, shaking and lethargy.

What should I do if an emergency occurs?

If an emergency occurs, you need to act calmly and urgently. We are here to help!

Make your pet as comfortable as possible, and with a water supply. Your pet should be left in a comfortable position, preferably on a soft blanket or bedding.

There is always a vet on call so you should be able to contact someone at all times. Out of hours, don’t worry – call the main number and you will be given the emergency line to the on-duty emergency vet. Speaking to a professional will help you put your mind at rest, as you know the next steps of the process and prognosis. You can also be reassured that the best quality care is being provided to your pet.

How to avoid an emergency?

Everyone has different routines at Christmas time. This could mean leaving the house for a long period of time. Ensure you have pre-planned care for your pets and that they aren’t left alone for too long. They still need to be able to exercise, have access to food and drink and be able to behave normally throughout your Christmas break.

If you have or know of any pets left outside, we would encourage you to check on them regularly to ensure they are not too cold. Similarly, when exercising your pet outside, discourage running on any slippery or icy paths to prevent injury.

If your pet is on long-term medication, ensure you have a sufficient amount to cover the festive season. We will have reduced hours over the holidays making it harder to pick up medication, as will many pharmacies. Remember, bad weather might cause disruption too, so make sure you don’t run down your supplies too low.

Ensure any decorations are stable and out of reach from mischievous pets. Decorations could get knocked down, smashed or swallowed leading to choking. Decorated Christmas trees have been known to be accidentally knocked over, which will pose a fire risk. This could lead to both your family and your pets becoming injured.

When the time comes for wrapping those presents, if you can you may like to consider doing your wrapping up high, away from your pets, to avoid them getting their paws on any ribbon! If possible, avoid buying decorations that dangle down too low causing a temptation for pets. Dangling objects and ribbons often look extremely fun to play with however could cause injuries from choking or even strangling. Once presents have been opened, it’s always safest to move wrapping paper out of access from our pets.

Finally, of course, any delicious smelling food gifts which may be sat under the tree are a huge temptation for our pets. So if you can, keep them out of reach to avoid them being opened and eaten earlier than planned! Of course, if in doubt, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Christmas time should be enjoyable for all members of the family.