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Christmas treats can be deadly for pets, warns RSPCA

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IT IS tempting at Christmas to want to treat your pet to a few festive goodies, but the RSPCA is warning that some can be lethal to dogs.

For example, chocolate – especially ones with a high cocoa content – can make your pet very ill and can be fatal if ingested in large quantities. The problem is, delicious as it tastes, chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, as well as caffeine, both of which are poisonous to dogs.

Keep boxes of chocolates out of reach of pets and, if you have chocolate decorations on the tree, make sure your dog cannot get hold of them.

The RSPCA has released this graphic
The RSPCA has released this graphic

Mince pies, Christmas cake and puddings should also be put in safe places as raisins, currants and sultanas are all poisonous for pets due to the xylitol.

Feeding a pet leftovers and bones may seem a great way of getting rid of extra food but it can make them seriously sick. Bones can splinter and cause internal injuries.

Onions, leeks and garlic are all toxic for pets and the high salt content of bacon, sausages, gravy and stuffing makes them a no-no as well.

Small amounts of turkey and carrots are okay for pets, but steer clear of anything fatty and salty. They may wolf it down, but a dicky tummy later may not be the worst of your troubles. A costly trip to the vets could ensue.

It’s not just food that is dangerous for pets – tinsel and wrapping paper should never be left where they can reach it. You might think it is fun to play with your dog with a string of tinsel but if they eat any of it, they may choke or become ill. Watch out also for the small sachets of silica gel that often comes in packaging as this can cause stomach upsets in pets if eaten.

Keep your dogs safe at Christmas
Keep your dogs safe at Christmas

Festive plants such as poinsettias, holly, ivy and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Keep your pets safe this Christmas by swotting up on what can be dangerous; no one wants an expensive vet visit this festive season.

“Other tips for the holiday period include making sure your pet doesn’t feel stressed during the chaotic Christmas holidays by keeping their routine as normal as possible and providing them with somewhere quiet and cosy to retreat to if the way.

“Always ensure you have plenty of food and medication for the holiday season when shops may be shut – and know contact details for your nearest emergency vets just in case you need help.”

The RSPCA is open over the Christmas period to help in emergencies. It can be reached on 0300 1234 999

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