Doncaster vets issue warning to pet owners about dangerous Christmas treats

A Doncaster veterinary practice is warning pet owners to be aware of dangerous Christmas treats as the festive countdown begins.
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Arundell Vets are preparing for a flurry of emergency visits from cats and dogs suffering illness or injury after eating foods that are toxic or dangerous.

Many homes are full of extra food and drink in the run up to Christmas when there are more cases of potentially fatal poisoning than at any other time of year.

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Dogs choking or suffering internal damage from turkey bones, usually stolen from the bin or kitchen counter, is one of the common emergencies.

Veterinary nurse Chloe Poynton and Flynn, and festive hazards pets should avoidVeterinary nurse Chloe Poynton and Flynn, and festive hazards pets should avoid
Veterinary nurse Chloe Poynton and Flynn, and festive hazards pets should avoid

Other festive risks include pets being poisoned by chocolate, mince pies, macadamia nuts, Christmas cake and pudding, while overfeeding fatty food could damage their pancreas or cause gastroenteritis.

Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic to dogs, while the caffeine content in many chocs can exacerbate the effects.

Raisins, currants and sultanas in mince pies and Christmas cake are also poisonous, like grapes. Other festive hazards include poinsettias, pine needles, holly berries and mistletoe, which can all cause illness if eaten.

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In recent years, pets have also been brought into Arundell Vets’ branches after eating or chewing decorations like tinsel, twinkling lights and toys on the tree.

Clinical director Steve Arundell said: “During December, we see many cases of pets that have eaten something they shouldn’t have and the number increases as we get closer to Christmas Day.

“We see a lot of examples of poisoning over the festive period. In most cases, the owner was completely unaware of the hidden dangers and was simply intending to be kind to their pet. You don’t want a poorly pet or a trip to the vets on Christmas Day. Even worse, would be losing a pet over the festive period, so we urge owners to be extra careful.

“We see a lot of cases of dogs stealing the Christmas turkey or taking chocolate from the under the tree, so it is important to keep food and treats out of reach of pets.”

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While many people hope for a white Christmas, vets are urging pet owners and car owners alike to be vigilant with antifreeze, which is highly toxic and most often fatal if eaten.

Cats often walk through the substance and then lick it off their paws, causing poisoning.

Taking a few simple steps to keep pets safe can prevent festive fun turning sour, but owners should also know what to do if accidents happen.

Steve added: “If your pet eats something it shouldn’t, contact your vet straight away and make sure you provide a full report on what has been eaten, how much and when. The faster we can see a pet, the better so we can induce vomiting if necessary and assess the level of toxicity.

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“If your pet is a scavenger, it may be best to keep any leftovers in a cupboard out of reach. It is recommended that owners pet-proof presents that are under the tree as we see a lot of cases where pets have sniffed them out and eaten them.”

Arundell Vets has issued tips to keep your pet safe from the 12 dangers of Christmas:

 Alcohol - Keep alcoholic drinks and food containing alcohol out of your pet’s reach. It has

similar side effects to humans and can cause serious liver damage.

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 Aspirin, paracetamol and Ibuprofen - If you’ve stocked-up on painkillers for your Boxing

Day hangover, keep them out of your pet’s way as they can be fatal if swallowed.

 Antifreeze – If there’s snow and ice over Christmas, make sure your cat doesn’t mop up any

spills of Antifreeze. It is highly toxic and most often fatal – but cats like the sweet taste.

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 Batteries - At Christmas, batteries can be easily left on the floor by children or in toys that an

unsupervised dog may play with or chew. They can cause serious damage so keep them out of

your dog’s reach.

 Chocolate - Theobromine is a chemical in chocolate that can cause serious harm to your pet.

The darker and higher the percentage of cocoa, the more theobromine is in the chocolate.

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 Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding – Raisins, sultanas and currants, like

grapes, can cause kidney failure in some pets and can be fatal.

 Cooked bones - Turkey, chicken, lamb, beef and pork bones can easily splinter and perforate

your dog’s stomach. They are dangerous and should never be fed to a dog. Keep bins secure and

food out of reach.

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 Fireworks – If your pet is frightened of New Year’s Eve fireworks, speak to your vet in

advance for advice. Keep them safely indoors, close curtains and turn on the TV to block out the


 Holly berries – Can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation and weakness in dogs.

 Onions – Onions, garlic, chives and leeks are part of the Allium family and are poisonous to

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cats and dogs. They are contained in high concentrations in food like stuffing and gravy.

 Poinsettia – These popular Christmas plants are toxic to cats. Can cause vomiting, excessive

salivation, loss of appetite, lethargy and depression.

 Sugar free sweets and mints – Contain a chemical known as xylitol, used to sweeten mints and

sweets that are sugar-free can cause serious damage to your pet.

Arundell Vets has its main practice at Kirk Sandall shopping mall and two satellite surgeries at Bennetthorpe and Toll Bar.

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