With the festive season approaching, Christmas trees going up with baubles and other decorations.  These can be fatal to our pets. Chocolate is toxic not only to dogs but also cats and rabbits, the substance is called Theobromine and can poison them whether it be milk, white or dark chocolate.  Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hyperactivity, and a rapid heartbeat. In extreme cases convulsions (fits) can occur and liver damage may develop.  The high levels of caffeine in coffee can also be toxic to dogs so take care to dispose of coffee grounds from coffee machines.  Grapes, raisins, currents and sultanas can cause kidney failure.  Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies are all packed full of forbidden fruit. Other poisonous festive foods include macadamia nuts, onions and mouldy foods, ie walnuts, bread, and cheese.  Artificial sweeteners contain xylitol also found in sugar free chewing gum, can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels and liver failure in dogs. Plants such as Mistletoe, Poinsettia, holly and ivy can also cause upset tummies, while Christmas decorations and candles are non toxic they can cause obstruction in the gut if they are eaten by an inquisitive cat or dog and a missing Turkey can result in a nasty bout of vomiting and diarrhoea so lock all your goodies away and seal the turkey away from temptation, also be very careful when opening presents as ‘Fido’ will want to help and any wrapping paper, pins, ties etc can be fatal if eaten.

Have a Happy Christmas – and a safe one!

…  Anne