Festive perils abound for pets

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Christmas may be a time of fun and celebration for most of us, but it is one of the most dangerous times of the year for pets.

Potential perils are everywhere at this season, and cats and dogs have an unfortunate tendency to find them, especially when their owners are distracted by preparations and visitors.

One of the biggest threats lies in all the rich foods which abound in most households over Christmas and New Year, with chocolate poisoning being top of the list. If there happens to be a box of choccies on the coffee table, or even still neatly-wrapped under the Christmas tree, you can almost guarantee a clever canine will manage to sniff it out and, if no-one notices, have its doggy way and devour the lot.

Chocolate is poisonous to pets, at best resulting in a very upset tummy and at worst, fatal consequences for a much-loved member of the family as there is no antidote. So make sure children and visitors are aware that they must ignore those pleading eyes and refrain from handing over any goodies. If you want to give a sweet treat, stock up on special pet-friendly chocolates or the wide range of chews available from pet stores and supermarkets.

It isn’t just chocolate which can spoil a pet’s Christmas by giving it a really severe stomach upset. It may be tempting to let your cat or dog share in the festive goodies, or to allow them to enjoy the left-overs, but over-indulgence in any kind of rich or inappropriate food is something to be avoided.

Even worse is the prospect of a pet ingesting bones from a turkey, chicken or other fowl, so make sure that if these are left on a table or kitchen worktop, they are out of reach of an opportunistic animal.