It’s the time of year when car owners are resorting to using de-icer on their car windows, and anti-freeze in car radiators, but very few will realise just how poisonous the chemicals in these products are for dogs and cats. Very small amounts can be fatal, and in recent years the RSPCA has tried to quantify the scale of the problem in the UK and it estimates that the number is in the thousands. So, please mop up spillages and keep sprays and bottles well away from animals.
And as we approach Christmas, there are lots of other seasonal dangers for our pets inside our houses too. Whilst most people know that chocolate is toxic for dogs, did you know that grapes, sultanas and raisons are also poisonous for them and can cause serious kidney damage? And whilst it is a well-known fact that cooked bones should not be fed to dogs because splinters from the bones can become stuck in their throats or even pierce their intestines, less well known is that this advice also applies to cats.
Even some Christmas plants carry a health warning for our domestic pets with ivy berries, mistletoe, Christmas cactus and poinsettia being poisonous for them. And avoid a trip to the vets with a pet related mishap by making sure your decorations are kept well out of your pet’s reach – baubles and tinsel can be irresistible but extremely problematic if smashed or swallowed.
And without wishing to be too much of a party-pooper, there’s yet another item to add to the list – one that some pet owners may not be aware of – namely alcohol. Even tiny amounts of our favourite tipple can be fatal if consumed by an animal. Cats and dogs are naturally inquisitive and are highly likely to approach wine glasses and beer bottles that are left unattended.
The social atmosphere and variety of rich and tasty food and drink available at Christmas means that it is a key time to be careful about what you leave and where, and to ensure that visiting friends and family are also aware of the risks.