Roger Salmon column: Make sure your dog has a happy Christmas too

Roger Salmon
Roger Salmon

Here’s some tips that dog owners may find useful over the festive period. Keep your dog happy and safe throughout Christmas by following them.

*Keep your tree lights out of your dog’s reach
*Tree needles can become stuck in paws so vacuum daily
*Secure the tree to stop it toppling over
*Festive food is often toxic to dogs, for example, chocolate is the most commonly reported poisoning and is a definite no. Chocolate contains a powerful stimulant called theobromine which is particularly high in dark chocolate and cocoa. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.
*Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, Stollen and mince pies can all be poisonous to dogs because grapes, raisins, currents and sultanas can be toxic. Some dogs exhibit no adverse effects but others can develop kidney failure after a few raisins. The mechanism of action is unknown but dogs may start with vomiting and diarrhoea and then develop kidney failure 24-72 hours later.
*Holly and ivy can result in drooling, wrenching or vomiting as can mistletoe and Pointsetta.
*If you suspect your dog has been poisoned take it to the vet urgently as the vet has an injection to make the dog sick before much of the poison has been digested. 
*This advice also applies if your dog has eaten rat poison, slug bait and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen which can cause severe stomach ulceration and kidney failure.
*Have a good festive season by keeping your pet safe particularly by avoiding small bones such as those from turkey and chicken because they risk becoming lodged in the dog’s throat or splintering, potentially perforating the intestines.
*Lastly but not least beware of antifreeze which is sweet tasting and attractive to dogs and cats.