We can’t believe January is already behind us!! Seems like only yesterday we were ringing in the new year. We thought this would be a good time to pause for a moment and tell you guys about some of the emergencies we had at the Vet over the Christmas period….. Hopefully this can help prevent some of them happening again in 2019.
Pet emergencies are all too common an occurrence at Christmas time and there are several reasons we see so many during the festive period. The majority of people are very busy with lengthy to-do lists, so if a pet’s visit to the vet has been prioritized, the likelihood is it has an important reason to be there. And, at Christmas time there are a lot of extra potential pet hazards in each of our homes.
So, what are the most common reasons pets are present at the vet ?
- Gastroenteritis (aka vomiting and diarrhea!)
Many of the delicious foods we enjoy around Christmas are too rich for our pet’s sensitive stomachs, who aren’t often exposed to them. If your pet eats bland food 360 days of the year and then eats lots of turkey, gravy, treats etc. all at once, then the likelihood of them causing inflammation and irritation to their stomach and intestines is high!
Signs: Vomiting, loose stool, a decreased appetite or seeming off form.
Prevention: Don’t offer your dog foods they’re not used to or if you feel bad and want to give them something tasty to celebrate the occasion then consider chicken breast without any bones, some boiled sweet potato or a safe dog treat. As when introducing any new food to your pet’s diet, make sure to offer only a small amount first and keep an eye out for any intolerance!
A lot of human indulgences are not suitable for our four-legged friends! This will be covered in more detail in our poisoning article but the main ‘off-limits’ offenders include chocolate, artificial sweeteners, raisin filled mince pies, onions, alcohol, flowers, pain killers etc!
Signs: It varies based on what is consumed, but if your dog eats any of the above call your vet straight away! Time is of the essence when a pet ingests a toxin.
Prevention: Keep all tempting ‘off limits’ items well protected from prying paws! This means stored well out of reach and in sealed containers, where possible. Food and drink should be disposed of properly into robust bins and inform all house guests what foods are ‘off limits’ and dangerous to your pets!
- Foreign Bodies
No, we’re not talking about international relations! These are seemingly innocuous objects which end up in your pet’s body and can unfortunately cause a lot of damage. The main culprits around Christmas include decorations such as tinsel, baubles or lights, toys, socks, underwear, jewellery, and also food objects such as bones etc. If you see your dog consuming any of these potentially life-threatening objects please call the clinic straight away!
Signs: You may directly observe them eating the object or you might see signs of gastroenteritis.
Prevention: Keep all decorations, toys and tempting objects well out of reach of your pet. Please do not offer bones to your pets, as we have seen so many wonderful pets’ lives put at risk from a bone getting lodged in their throat or stomach.
Wounds or road traffic accidents are all the more common at Christmas when different pets are being invited into each other’s homes and people are busier with guests coming to and fro!
Signs: If trauma occurs to any of your pets call the clinic straight away.
Prevention: Avoid mixing of pets, where possible, and if pets do have to share the same space make sure all introductions are done gradually and in a controlled manner. Keep doors and windows closed and pets well supervised during busy periods so that pets don’t get hurt trying to escape a noisy situation. Anxious or flighty pets may also benefit from stress reducing remedies such as Feliway for cats or Adaptil for dogs.
Finally, we hope that you didn’t experience any of these emergencies on a personal basis over the Christmas period and that this article might help some of you in avoiding hazards during festivities at any time of year. Having said that, even the most astute pet owner can’t avoid or prevent all emergencies occurring and that’s why we strongly recommend getting a pet insurance policy to help lessen the load, should any unfortunate incident occur. If your pet has an emergency please contact us immediately.
We would like to take this opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ for all the lovely Christmas cards and treats we received, which were much appreciated.
Here’s to sharing many more happy Christmases with our valued clients and pets!