Sheffield vet issues winter warning for pet owners

A Sheffield vet has published a list of festive faux pas that dog and cat owners should try to avoid this Christmas.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 10:55 am

White Cross Vets in Sheffield treats hundreds of pets that have accidently ingested something harmful.

Vet, David Hough, from White Cross Vets in Sheffield, said: “Around Christmas time all sorts of extra treats come into the home – from tasty Christmas cakes to mince pies, chocolate, nuts, extra alcohol and joints of meat – so it’s really important to make sure these are kept out of reach of curious pets.”

One dog, nine-year-old Brann the boxer, who belongs to a vet at White Cross Vets, ate an entire tin of hot chocolate.

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Brann the Boxer, who ate a whole tin of hot chocolate

Her owner, Gilly Duncalfe, said: “I know only too well about the dangers the festive period can pose. Last year, when I left Brann for just 30 minutes to pop to the shop, she managed to get upstairs, into my bedroom and into my handbag.

“She has never done anything like it before, and isn’t allowed upstairs, so it was totally out of character. I’d received the 77% coca hot chocolate as a Christmas gift and she had somehow unzipped by bag, broken the seal of the hot chocolate and eaten it. I took her straight into the practice and gave her an injection to make her sick and popped her on fluids. She also had the charcoal solution, but luckily, as I found her and treated her so quickly there was no permanent damage done. She did feel incredibly sorry for herself though and it was a stressful experience for us all.”

David added: “Many of the ingredients are poisonous and chocolate, in particular, can be lethal for dogs. The severity of the impact of eating chocolate depends on how much is consumed and what type they have eaten – the darker the chocolate the more at risk the dog is due to the levels of theobromine, but any type of chocolate has the potential to be toxic.

“Dogs that eat large volumes will be seriously ill, so it’s essential they are seen quickly by a vet. If they are treated within half an hour to an hour, they will usually make a quick recovery, but owners should always seek professional help rather than trying to make their dog sick themselves, as this can be extremely dangerous.

“Every year we also treat many dogs who have got hold of the fat off the meat, either by helping themselves from the bin or sneaking into the kitchen whilst everyone is distracted eating dinner, and this can result in pancreatitis – a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas which causes vomiting, nausea and pain.”

In addition to the perils of certain festive foods, pet owners must also be cautious about Christmas trees, pine needles, seasonal plants, tinsel and ribbons. David explained: “Cats find it hard to resist a Christmas tree and tinsel! We’ve treated several who have ingested tinsel and Christmas decorations, with surgery often being the only option. Pine needles are another problem, as they can easily get bedded into pets’ paws, and seasonal plants and turkey bones also pose a real threat.”