I’ve been giving some thought already to Christmas as it’s my turn to work Christmas Day at the emergency veterinary clinic, so I need to be organised.
With my Registered Veterinary Nurse hat on, I take a share of working over the Christmas holiday period, and although it may sound tough working Christmas Day, I greatly prefer that option to Boxing Day as that is the day when we tend to see the aftermath of Christmas in lots of our dog and cat patients.
There are obviously the odd genuine unforeseeable emergencies, they could happen to anyone, no matter how knowledgeable and careful they may be, but what amazes me is the number of completely avoidable and predictable things that happen, especially to dogs.
A really common problem is stealing chocolate gifts from under the Christmas tree or chocolates hanging on the tree – please make sure all chocolate is safely out of reach and definitely inaccessible to your dog.
A less common occurrence is eating salt dough tree decorations, they’re great fun to make and decorate, but very bad for your dog, so make sure they can’t be pinched.
Christmas puddings and mince pies are another problem if they’re stolen, you wouldn’t believe the number of dogs we see excreting foil after Christmas. I’m saying stolen as I hope that everyone knows not to feed dried fruit to dogs.
Another common incident is theft of the turkey carcass (a powerful message from dogs who aren’t lucky enough to receive raw bones, I sometimes think). As it’s cooked (unless a dog has made a very sneaky advance theft) it can cause very serious problems, so do think carefully about where it’s left, just in case.
For some dogs, their Christmas dinner is a meal shared with the family, and is often the only “real” food they get in a year of kibble. It’s definitely a lovely idea to give your dog a special meal when we are all (over)indulging, but not if they are not used to it and it makes them poorly and end up at the vets. Even for dogs who are fed real food regularly, our rich Christmas dinner can result in an upset gut which is miserable for all concerned.
Fortunately, there is a fantastic way around this now, as Cotswold RAW have produced a delicious Christmas special recipe called “Three Bird Raw” (a crafty play on the traditional “three bird roast” we might have ourselves !) The birds are free range and organic, and there are some tasty seasonal veg to make it nutritionally complete.
I’ve ordered a good supply for my three, and I can’t wait to see them enjoying this over the Christmas period.
Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone, but please stay away from the emergency clinic if you can.