If you’re concerned about over-indulging and over-heating this holiday season, then spare a thought for our four-legged friends.
Guzzling down chocolate-covered macadamias? It can be deadly if consumed by dogs.
Basking in the beauty of your Christmas decorations? Inquisitive pets may think they’re edible!
Even bunches of festive lilies can be problematic for cats, with the potential to cause renal failure if eaten.
Dr Leonie Richards, from the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Animal Hospital in Werribee, says it’s vital that pet owners keep an eye out for their pets during the holidays.
“This time of year can actually be quite hazardous for pets, with dangerous toys around and food to eat, as well as concerns with the summer heat,” she said.
Dr Richards said there had already been a number of pets brought into the hospital with heat exhaustion this summer, as well as as a handful of snake bite cases.
“The key here is for pet owners to be aware.
“Sometimes heatstroke can occur on a day that isn’t so hot and they jus think it’s a nice day and take their dog for a long walk.
“But if your dog isn’t very fit and they start to lag behind, let them stop and cool down and pick them up and take them home.”
To limit the threat of snake bites, refrain from walking your dog is tall grass, Dr Richards advises.
All pets – including rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals kept in the yard – need cool water and shade, and should be taken indoors if possible on days over 30 degrees.
Rabbits are the most susceptible to heat because they find it difficult to cool themselves – they can’t pant, but use their ears as a cooling mechanism.
A large ice block is a good way to ensure pets have access to cool water, Dr Richards said.
If you’re spending Christmas Day away from home, then make sure pets are in a secure place, with lots of shade and that their water source can’t be accidentally knocked over.
Other risks over the holiday period include the potential for chemical burns from cleaning products and the New Year fireworks that frighten some animals into a frenzy, Dr Richards said.
Pet owners should be sure to double check gates and doors are secure, particularly when visitors are a-plenty!
Tick bites are another concern during summer.
Dr Richards said food was the source of most trouble at Christmas – and not just for humans!
“It’s best not ot leave food gifts under the tree and you also have to be careful when you put out the Christmas decorations,” she said.
“If they’re at ‘pet height’, they don’t always know they’re not for eating.”
In an emergency, Dr Richards urges owners to stay calm, keep the animal still and get them to a vet as soon as possible.
The U-Vet Hospital’s emergency and critical care department is open 24 hours, seven days a week, with queries welco,e on 03 9731 2000.
Geelong’s U-Vet Animal Emergency Clinic is also available outside of normal business hours on 03 5222 2139.
+61 3 8344 8922
+61 (0) 434 367 449