Winter Worries!

Christmas treeIt’s hard to believe that autumn is over and we have the long cold winter months ahead of us! We have put together some seasonal tips to keep your pets fit and healthy this winter.
• Do not give your pet chocolate, unless it is the dog variety! Chocolate contains theobromine that is poisonous to pets and if eaten can be fatal. Make sure any chocolates including chocolate tree decorations are kept well out of your pet’s reach. Dark chocolate contains more theobromine than milk chocolate. If you suspect chocolate poisoning you should get in touch with us straight away.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, collapse, seizures, heart failure and death.
• What we consider to be treats can be extremely dangerous to our pets: Christmas cake, mince pies, macadamia nuts, onion, garlic, chives, alcohol, avocado, grapes and raisins should all be avoided. Ingestion can be toxic and sometimes fatal. It is very important that you contact us straight away if you suspect your pet has eaten anything poisonous.
• Some Christmas plants such as Poinsettia, Holly, Mistletoe, Amaryllis and Lilies are highly toxic and can be fatal. Keep them well out of the reach of animals.
• It is the time of year that many car owners prepare their cars for the colder, icy weather. Antifreeze is a very palatable poison for our pets and often fatal, even in small amounts. Contact us straight away if you suspect your pet has ingested any antifreeze.
• As the weather turns colder, rock salt is often used to help de-ice roads and paths. Unfortunately this can be toxic to our pets. Rock salt is a mixture of salt and grit which easily attaches to pets’ paws and is then licked off. It is very important to remember to wipe your pet’s feet and their fur on their tummy after they have been for a walk or spent time outside. Grit can also be abrasive and damage the skin on their paws.
• Older pets with arthritis will feel more discomfort in the cold so make sure they are kept as warm as possible especially when going outside. The smaller the pet, the more likely they are to suffer with the cold weather due to the increased skin surface area to volume ratio. Make sure your small furries are kept warm and provide extra bedding in their hutches. In the wild, rabbits especially would
protect themselves by sheltering in their burrows. Check water bottles daily to ensure they don’t freeze.

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