Animal Friends Blog
Christmas is a fantastic time to make memories with your pet, but it also has the potential to be very dangerous. This is the time of year when sweets and chocolates are found all over the house – great for us humans, but not so good for your new friend. This is especially important the younger your dog or cat is. They say curiosity killed the cat, but it could very easily hurt your dog too.
Fortunately, there are ways to make your home as safe as it can be for your new friend this Christmas – and you can still enjoy your festive feast of chocolate and other food and drink too!
Why is chocolate dangerous?
Chocolate can be fatal for cats and dogs, but – as we all know – cats don’t tend to be as interested in human food as our curious canine companions. Let’s look at how chocolate can affect our canines in particular – and how you can protect your pooch this Christmas.
Research carried out by the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) shows that the most common times for dogs to become ill due to chocolate poisoning are Christmas and Easter, coincidentally (or not!) the times when pet owners have the most chocolate in their homes.
Whether it’s a chocolate decoration hanging from the tree, or that open box of choccy treats you left lying about on the sitting room floor, your new puppy pal will see that as an invitation to treat itself!
Chocolate is particularly dangerous for your dog as it contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic for your canine companion and can potentially be lethal. The effects of eating chocolate in dogs usually appear within 4 hours and can begin with your puppy pal becoming more thirsty, drinking more than usual, being sick, having diarrhoea, and more.
These symptoms can last up to 24 hours after the dastardly chocolate-eating deed was done, but it’s always best to contact your vet immediately after you notice the symptoms for the first time. The longer you leave it, the more likely your dog’s symptoms will become more severe, so keep your vet’s phone number close at hand!
Although your mind will most definitely be focused on your dog’s health, there’s also the cost of treating them. According to our statistics, the average claim to treat a dog with chocolate poisoning comes in at £374.89 – not an amount to be sniffed at. A total of 1456 claims have been made which have involved a dog eating chocolate in the past 3 years, showing that it’s all too common for our canine companions to have eyes bigger than their bellies when it comes to chocolate!
Preventing chocolate catastrophe this Christmas
However, fortunately for you, there are ways to prevent this ever happening to your new friend. With a bit of care and common sense, you should be able to avoid this terrible situation for your new puppy pal.
You can start by making sure all chocolate in the house is kept safely away and out of reach from your canine companion. But you can also teach your dog the command ‘Leave it’, which can help you avoid any choccy-related accidents.
If you can’t guarantee your pup pal won’t take a cheeky bite out of some chocolate while you’re away from home, then crate training may be the best way to go. Getting a crate that is plenty large enough for your dog is essential. That way, when you’re out and about and can’t take your dog with you, you can be safe in the knowledge that they won’t eye up and eat any loose choccy treats hanging around the house.
Other goodies for your pet to avoid this Christmas
Chocolate isn’t the only thing you should watch out for this Christmas when it comes to your new friend!
For cats, everyday foods like cheese, raisins, grapes, along with anything alcoholic can be fatal for your feline. As these can easily be left lying around over the festive season, you need to take extra care to avoid anything putting a dampener on your holidays.
Foods ranging from macadamia nuts to blue cheese can be potentially fatal to your dog, with the effects on your pooch including vomiting, muscle tremors, and even seizures in more severe cases.
Alcohol can also have serious effects on your canine companion – dogs are more sensitive to ethanol than humans, so even the slightest drop could lead to symptoms.
Be risk aware
Keeping your pet safe this Christmas shouldn’t be a chore. Knowing about all the potential risks to your new cuddle buddy this festive season should let you prepare your home for your new friend while letting you enjoy all the goodies that you know and love.
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