Christmas is traditionally a time of indulgence and many owners hate to see their pet missing out. As you and your family sit around the table this Christmas, you may be tempted to share all the yummy goodies with your pet. Don’t! Giving inappropriate foods and overfeeding are common causes of health problems seen by veterinarians over the festive period.

Don’t give your pet a trip to the vet this Christmas; follow these tips to keep your best mate happy and healthy.

  1. Many foods are dangerous and harmful to pets. Avoid feeding the following foods AT ANY TIME OF YEAR:
  • Chocolate – toxic to the heart and nervous system.
  • Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas –can cause acute kidney failure.
  • Garlic and Onions – may cause blood cell damage and anaemia.
  • Avocado – may cause stomach upsets such as vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Coffee and tea – may cause stomach upsets. Caffeine is toxic to the heart and nervous system.
  • Xylitol (found in gum, lollies etc) – can lead to liver failure.
  • Cooked bones – may cause stomach lacerations, punctures and can easily become stuck in the throat.
  • Nuts – Macadamia nuts, moldy pecans and walnuts can cause seizures, vomiting and neurological issues.
  • Sage (a seasoning used in stuffing) can cause tummy upsets and central nervous system damage.
  • Alcohol – may cause intoxication, coma and death.
  • Dairy foods – can cause stomach upsets such as diarrhoea.
  • Fatty Foods such as sausages, ham bones etc – may cause pancreatitis.

Think “Just a little treat” is okay! Think again – one piece of bacon (or ham) given to your dog is equivalent to a human eating thirteen pieces of bacon. It’s best to feed your pet a high quality, nutritionally dense pet food, such as Hills Vet Essentials, to ensure they are getting the nourishment they need (some supermarket brands contain fillers that add bulk rather than nutrition). It’s also important not to feed your pet more food than usual, particularly if they’re not exercising as much – just an extra kilo or two can make a small cat or dog obese. Feeding             your pet too much food can also lead to stomach upsets and diarrhoea.  Treat them with love rather than food – take them for walks, throw that ball or frisbee and enjoy cuddles on the                couch. Giving gifts such as toys, a new collar and lead or a comfy bed rather than food items is recommended.

  1. Consider your pets when decorating – Be careful with your decorations. Lift electrical cords and Christmas lights out of reach and ensure your tree is stable especially if you have a cat that is a climber. Traditional Christmas plants such as poinsettias, holly and lilies are toxic to pets and should be avoided in households with pets.


  1. Christmas in the tropics –Thunderstorms, cyclones, the heat and humidity can all have an effect on your pets. Keep your pets cool by ensuring they have a constant supply of fresh water available throughout the day, exercise them early morning or late evening and introduce water play into their daily activities.


  1. New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Fireworks can be very stressful for pets so make sure your pet is kept safe and secure especially if being left alone. If your pet is particularly anxious about fireworks discuss what you can do to relieve their anxiety with one of our veterinarians.


  1. Booked your summer holidays? – Have you booked your pets into boarding kennels? All boarding facilitates require your pet’s vaccinations to be up to date before admission. If your pet’s vaccinations have lapsed it’s important to have them revaccinated two to three weeks prior to your booking to ensure a protective level of immunity is reached. Fleas will also increase during hot humid weather so ensure you keep up to date with your flea preventative treatment.


Cairns Veterinary Clinic wishes you and your pets a very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2017.

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