As we look forward to the festive season, it’s sometimes easy to forget about our pet’s needs. It’s as important as ever to ensure vaccines are kept up-to-date, enticing edible treats are out of reach, remember that some decorations can cause harm and don’t assume that fleas are taking a holiday they don’t!
Although it’s true that fleas prefer the summer to proliferate, with modern heating systems, fleas are now a year round problem! Adult fleas can lay in excess of 50 eggs a day and a brief flea infestation can result in thousands of eggs being produced. These fall off your pet and are deposited in the carpets and bedding where they lay dormant for many months before developing into adult fleas. For optimum flea control it must be kept up all year round.
Chocolate, especially the plain varieties are very toxic to dogs and should never be given. Also keep an eye out for dogs eating grapes, raisins and sultanas (contained in Xmas puddings, mince pies etc) as these can also be highly toxic. If you do find that your pet has accidentally eaten something they shouldn’t, contact your vet immediately for advice.
Remember if cats aren’t going outdoors as much they will be finding things in the home to play with, so watch the ribbon and tinsel (as this can cause blockages if swallowed) and beware of lilies which are extremely toxic to cats.
For you romantic people out there, mistletoe should also be kept well out of reach of your pets as both the leaves and berries if eaten are extremely toxic to pets.
If you do have any concerns about your pets during the Christmas and New Year periods, contact your vet immediately for advice. If they are not on 24 hour emergency call, they will have out of hour’s procedures in place where you will be directed to the nearest vet.
Wishing you and your pets a very Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. w: www.hillsidevets.co.uk.