The Lort Smith Animal Hospital's Dr Andrew Kapsis

The Lort Smith Animal Hospital’s Dr Andrew Kapsis

As the festive season approaches we like to celebrate with friends and family, but there are some things we shouldn’t share with our furry family members.

Hide the sausages!

Aussie summers lend themselves to barbeques and relaxed dining, but you aren’t doing your dog any favours by giving them the leftover snags. At Lort Smith Animal Hospital, we are seeing an increasing number of dogs with health problems such as pancreatitis and obesity, so avoid giving your dog fatty meats (which they can’t digest properly) and keep cooked bones, well away from dogs. Other foods that are harmful to dogs include grapes, nuts, chips, lollies and of course chocolate.

Trimming the tree

The first thing to do is make sure your tree is securely anchored so that it can’t be knocked over by boisterous dogs or adventurous, climbing cats. Decorate with your pets in mind. Glass or metal balls can fall and break, small ornaments can be swallowed and tinsel seems to be irresistible to cats, but can cause serious intestinal problems if ingested. Assess decorations with the same eye you would apply to toys safe for children under two – if there are bits that can be chewed off and swallowed, keep them out of reach.

Plan an escape route

If your dog or cat is used to a quiet home, the sudden influx of guests can be disturbing. Take your dog for a nice long walk before people arrive, and make sure there is a safe retreat for both dogs and cats where they can escape from noise, curious little hands and other sources of stress.

When things go bang

Fireworks can be frightening for pets. If you are leaving your dog home on New Year’s Eve, you might consider shutting the windows and turning on the TV or radio to provide some calming white noise. Make sure your pet is microchipped so that if he or she does escape, you will be reunited more quickly.

Most of all, remember that the festive season should be a time for happiness and relaxation, so take the time to enjoy the company of loved ones, furry and otherwise.

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