Pet owners are being urged to keep their pets safe this festive season by pet proofing their Christmas, ensuring anything which may be mistaken for a tasty treat is out of paw’s reach.
The warning comes as new research from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) revealed four in five companion animal vets saw at least one case of toxic ingestion over the 2021 Christmas period.
The festive season brings with it presents, decorations and festive food. But these seemingly innocent pleasures can be deadly if eaten by animals.
Chocolate, raisins and other dried fruit – such as that in mince pies or Christmas puddings – onion, garlic, xylitol in sugar-free products and seasonal decorations like mistletoe and holly can all be dangerous, and even fatal, to dogs and cats if eaten.
New Voice of the Veterinary Profession research shows that thousands of vets treated dogs for toxic ingestion last Christmas season, with 76% seeing cases of chocolate poisoning and 69% seeing dogs taken unwell after easing raisins or sultanas. Around a fifth (19%) reported seeing cases caused by the artificial sweetener Xylitol.
BVA president Malcolm Morley said: “Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year but not if you end up with a poorly pet. Being vigilant and taking a few key precautions is all that is needed to keep your pets happy and healthy over the festive period.
“Keep all edible items, decorations and anything else a pet may mistake for a tasty treat out of their reach to help prevent avoidable emergency visits to the vet. We also advise keeping pets to their normal diets and avoiding feeding them any human food. If you are concerned your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, do contact your vet as soon as possible.”