BROAD Lane Vets in Balsall Common is urging pet owners to watch out for potential hazards to their pets this Christmas, as findings released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) reveal that a nativity display, antifreeze and £200 in £20 notes were just some of the items that landed animals in veterinary practices over the 2014 festive period.
In the West Midlands, 75 per cent of vets saw at least one case of toxic ingestion in pets during Christmas 2014, according to findings from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey.
Across the UK, chocolate poisoning in dogs was the most common toxic ingestion case, however a quarter of vets also treated cats for dangerous antifreeze poisoning and one in ten vets saw dogs that had eaten Christmas decorations.
Elly Pittaway, Senior Vet at Broad Lane Vets said Christmas was always one of the busiest times of the year for seeing pets that had eaten things they shouldn’t.
She added: “Last year, we had the expected cases of chocolate ingestion, a couple of suspected antifreeze poisonings in cats, and a dog who ate a whole turkey crown on Christmas Day.
“But already this year, we’ve had some more unusual cases, including a dog who almost died after eating a toxic wild fungus whilst out on a winter walk, and another who decided to eat some Christmas decorations, along with some carpet.
“We’re getting higher numbers of ‘phone-calls for advice, so there is definitely an increased awareness among pet owners, of the potential harm that chocolate and other substances can cause.”
BVA President Sean Wensley, BVA President, added: “Christmas is typically a fun and chaotic time, with lots of presents and treats suddenly arriving in our homes.
“Our results are a cautionary tale about the range of potential hazards around your home at this time of year and owners should be very aware that tasty treats, interesting decorations and new plants can be hard for curious animals to resist.
“If you suspect your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t then don’t delay consulting your local vet.”
To keep Christmas merry for the whole household, local vets are urging animal-lovers to ensure their home is safe for four-legged friends by following these five simple tips:
1. Protect your pet from poisons – a number of festive treats and traditions, such as chocolate, raisins, xylitol (found in sugar free treats), nuts, grapes, liquorice, poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are toxic to cats and dogs.
2. Keep decorations out of reach – ribbons, wrapping paper, baubles, tinsel and tree lights can all prove irresistible to cats and dogs but can be very dangerous if broken, chewed or swallowed.
3. Forget festive food for pets – we all enjoy a richer diet over Christmas, but fatty foods and Christmas dinners shouldn’t be shared. Turkey bones should not be given to pets as they can splinter and puncture the digestive tract.
4. Give toys not treats – we all want our pets to share the fun and many of us include a gift for our pet on the shopping list. But too many treats can lead to fat, unhappy animals so consider opting for a new toy, or a long walk if you want to indulge your pet this Christmas.
5. Make sure you’re 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 at http://www.findavet.org.uk/
For more information on pets and poisons download the Animal Welfare Foundation leaflet at http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet-care-advice/pets-and-poisons.