The dog who ate the Nativity ...

Nativity set

Nativity set

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The British Veterinary Association is urging pet owners to watch out for potential hazards to their pets this Christmas as findings just released reveal a Nativity display, anti-freeze and £200 in £20 notes were just some of the items which landed animals in veterinary practices over the 2014 festive season.

Findings show chocolate poisoning in dogs was the most common poison ingestion case, however, a quarter of vets also treated cats for dangerous anti-freeze poisoning and one in ten vets saw dogs who had eaten Christmas decorations. Last Christmas almost one in five vets saw dogs had eaten a non-edible gift given to them by their owner.

Roger Salmon

Roger Salmon

One vet reported that an unfortunate dog ingested both chocolate and several foreign bodies last Christmas: “One dog ate £200 in £20 notes as well as most of the animals and baby Jesus out of the Nativity stable. He then ate a large chocolate Santa.

“The dog was presented to us shortly after eating the chocolate and vomited up most of the money, all the Nativity players and the chocolate!”

Fortunately the dog in this case was fine after veterinary treatment but toxic ingestion can be serious and veterinary care should be sought immediately.

Tips to protect your pets: Chocolate, raisins, xylitol (found in sugar free treats), nuts, grapes, liquorice, poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are toxic to cats and dogs.

Keep decorations out of reach - ribbons, wrapping paper, baubles, tinsel and tree lights can all prove irresistible to cats and dogs but can be very dangerous if broken, chewed or swallowed.

Batteries also need to be kept safe as if ingested they may cause severe chemical burns to the mouth, throat and stomach.

Fatty foods and Christmas dinners should not be shared as they can cause indigestion, sickness and diarrhoea or even conditions from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis.

Turkey bones should not be given to pets as they can splinter and puncture the digestive tract.

Most importantly beware of the neighbours who throw the turkey carcass out for the birds