Winter health care


Things to be aware of with winter coming on

If the weather freezes, beware of grit scattered on the roads which often goes on the pavements too. This can be irritant to feet particularly dogs who walk through it. It is a good idea to wash off feet when the dog comes in

For older dogs now might be the time to consider if they need a coat for inclement weather.

If the weather is mild then fleas are still active and central heating keeps the fleas breeding. Contact the practice for advice on flea control-2014 has been a big year for flea infestations, following the mild winter last year and warm summer this year.

Christmas festivities

Tinsel-always dangerous to animals as if eaten can cause intestinal damage. Baubles these days are usually plastic which can cause problems if they get broken or chewed.

Christmas trees-real ones can cause allergic reactions, needles dropping can get into feet. Lights are often cheap and the electrical wires can be dangerous if chewed.

Plants such as Poinsettias are often around at Christmas and are toxic is chewed as are lilies-here the pollen is a problem particularly to cats who seem to enjoy chewing house plants and rubbing on flowers!

Christmas foods-make sure chocolate is kept away from pets, presents of chocolate even wrapped are tempting to dogs and they cannot break down on the ingredients-theobromine so toxicity is a major issue.

Fruit-grapes and dried fruits such as currants and raisins are very toxic, Beware and don’t allow pets to consume Christmas cake or Christmas pudding as it can cause kidney failure.

Gravy-onion gravy is a popular addition to meals-onions damage red blood cells in dogs and can cause severe anaemia

The food we eat at Christmas is often fatty-turkey skin, sausages and roast potatoes. The high-fatty flesh content can cause stomach upsets and pancreatitis.

Vegetables-most are OK, preferably without gravy!

Alcohol-we all like an extra drink at Christmas but beware the dog who helps themselves to the glass at their level as they cannot tolerate it as well as we can

Overall it is best to stick to the usual diet your dog gets with maybe a small number of safe titbits.

If you are going away on holiday, make sure your pets have been thought of too. Make sure their vaccinations are up to date and for dogs that they are covered for kennel cough if the kennels require it. If they are on a specific diet make sure the kennels or cattery can feed them this as they may stock one your pet is not used to.