VET’S DIARY: Watch out for festive hazards

At this time every year we urge pet owners to be extra vigilant when it comes to keeping an eye on their pet and watching out for potential hazards.

Findings released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) reveal that a nativity display, anti-freeze and £200 in £20 notes were just some of the items that landed animals in veterinary practices over the 2014 festive period.

Post-Christmas and New Year can always be a busy time for vets on call so hopefully these handy tips will help keep you and your pet emergency free.

In the North East 82 per cent of vets saw at least one case of toxic ingestion in pets during the festive period of 2014, according to the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey. Across the UK, chocolate poisoning in dogs was the most common toxic ingestion case, however a quarter of vets also treated cats for anti-freeze poisoning, and one-in-ten saw dogs that had eaten decorations.

You can follow these simple tips:

1. Protect your pet from poisons – a number of treats and traditions, such as chocolate, raisins, xylitol (found in sugar-free treats), nuts, grapes, liquorice, poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are toxic to cats and dogs.

2. Keep decorations out of reach – ribbons, wrapping paper, baubles, tinsel and tree lights can all prove irresistible to cats and dogs, but can be very dangerous if broken, chewed or swallowed. Batteries for Christmas gifts also need to be kept safe as if ingested they may cause severe chemical burns to the mouth, throat and stomach.

3. Forget festive food for pets – it can trigger indigestion, sickness and diarrhoea, or even conditions from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis, so try to stick to your pet’s regular diet and routine. Turkey bones can splinter and puncture the digestive tract.

4. Know where to go – even with all the care in the world, accidents can still happen. Make sure you check your vet’s emergency cover and holiday opening hours, or if you are away from home use the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ Find a Vet facility at

If you need us we are here 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Just give your surgery a call.

For more information on pets and poisons download the Animal Welfare Foundation leaflet at