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We asked Today show vet Dr Josie Gollan to share some helpful advice for keeping your furry family members safe and healthy these holidays.
“We all know the feeling of overindulging over the Christmas holidays. However if your pet joins in, you may find yourself in the vet emergency room instead of around the Christmas table.
Pancreatitis is one of the most common problems we see in dogs during the Christmas period. It has even earned the nickname ‘Christmas Disease’ because it is so apparent. Essentially, it is inflammation of the pancreas and it is extremely painful and can make your dog very sick. In some cases it can be life threatening. The most common cause of this is your dog ingesting a fatty meal. Think treats from the Christmas table such as ham, turkey skin or potatoes cooked in fat. I therefore recommend a blanket ‘no human food’ rule to ensure your pet’s safety. If you want to treat your pet there are plenty of dog treats available to make them feel special.
Other Christmas dangers include, chocolate, which is very toxic to dogs. Just the other day, I had a very sick puppy that ate all the chocolate out of the kid’s advent calendar! Christmas cake is also a danger as it is full of sultanas and nuts, which can be toxic to dogs.
Remember to be on the lookout for non-food dangers as well including all the little toys out of the Christmas bon bons. These make fabulous foreign bodies and have an uncanny ability to get stuck in your pet’s intestine. With cats, be aware of all the string and ribbon lying around. They love to eat this and it can have life threatening consequences if not treated as it gets stuck in the intestine. Also, watch out for your Christmas lights… they are attractive to pets too!
Remembering the simple rule of ‘pet food only’ and keeping a look out for other dangers will ensure a vet free Christmas period for you and your pet!”