Emergency alert

Watch what they eat

Vet Malcolm Webb with his puppy Margot. (Deanna Corrieri)

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AS Christmas draws closer and we start stocking up on food for the festive day, an Albany vet cautions pet owners not to overindulge their pet.

Veterinarian of 35 years Malcolm Webb said moderation was the key when it came to treating your pet over Christmas.

“You need to be aware that a lot of the food we eat at Christmas time is pretty rich food,” he said.

“So if you’re going to share it, don’t share a lot of it.

“Sharing the love with them isn’t the best thing for them.”

“Sharing the love with them isn’t the best thing for them.”

What to avoid

Dr Webb said foods to avoid feeding your dog or cat include all dairy products, grapes and raisins, garlic, onion, cooked bones and anything with artificial sweeteners due to their high toxicity.

“Things like cheese and cream potentially presents a problem to our pets because they contain a lot of fat,” he said.

“It can cause issues but also often our pets don’t deal well with the lactose that’s in those products.”

“It can cause issues but also often our pets don’t deal well with the lactose that’s in those products.”

Though you may feel that strong urge to put the cooked ham or turkey bones into the dog’s bowl to reduce food waste, Dr Webb said those bones are potentially hazardous to the pet’s health.

“Our dogs are going to love the bone at the end of the day, but cooked bones are potentially dangerous as they are quite brittle and can fracture up and create shards which can be hazardous to the gut and bowel of dogs and cats,” he said.

“We tend to think ‘we can’t throw them out because the dg will love them’ but sadly it’s much better to put them in the bin than put them in the dog’s bowl.”

But it’s not only food pet owners should be cautious of.

Crazy cats

Dr Webb said pets, in particular cats, love to go for tinsel on the Christmas tree.

“Cats are prone to eating crazy things like that,” he said.

Dr Webb said while cats were a bit more discerning with what they put in their mouth than dogs, they were likely to eat tinsel if left unsupervised.

Reconsider that beach trip

In a final addition to caring for pets over Christmas, Dr Webb cautioned people not to take their pet to the beach if they did not go regularly.

“For dogs that go to the beach every weekend, it’s not a hassle for them because they are aware of what they should and shouldn’t eat at the beach,” he said.

“But dogs who go once a year at Christmas time are a bit novice.

“There are plenty of hazardous things on the beach that pose a risk to them, so you just need to be very careful if you’re making a one-off visit to the beach.

“That might be the time to leave the pets at home.”

“That might be the time to leave the pets at home.”

As a summary, Dr Webb recapped the key was moderation in all things.

“Better to throw waste out rather than give it to the pet,” he said.

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