Christ­mas can be a dan­ger­ous time for your gundog, so fol­low Neil’s ad­vice and don’t be­come a statis­tic


Vet Neil McIntosh gives his ad­vice on how to keep your dog safe this Christ­mas.

They say that 47 per cent of statis­tics are made up. My ac­coun­tant friend tells me the other 78 per cent are a bit du­bi­ous, too. But you can trust me, I’m a vet… here is my fes­tive round up.

Firstly, 100 per cent of Christ­mas trees are dan­ger­ous. Pup­pies, be­ing eas­ily im­pressed and con­ducive to new ideas, try to climb them, too of­ten bring­ing the whole lot down on top of some poor un­sus­pect­ing guest. They chew the nee­dles and these are par­tic­u­larly li­able to cause gas­tric ir­ri­ta­tion. And there is more – fairy lights are inevitably at­tached by ex­posed ca­bles to an elec­tri­cal sup­ply and 18 per cent of pup­pies will try and chew these, 100 per cent of them will re­ceive some form of in­jury and 22 per cent will die. Around 18.56 per­cent will lose teeth and 45 per cent will suf­fer burns to the mouth. It there­fore fol­lows that 100 per cent of lights should be plugged into a cir­cuit breaker. They cost lit­tle and pro­vide huge peace of mind. They may also save more than your pet’s life.

The dan­ger goes on

Since 99 per cent of trees are dec­o­rated, the dan­ger just goes on and on. Pup­pies are at­tracted to shiny, dan­gly things – so tin­sel can be played with be­fore be­ing in­ad­ver­tently swal­lowed. So, 50 per cent of the time this will re­sult in the need for ex­pen­sive surgery, which is not with­out risk. The un­ex­pected anaes­thetic death

SPORT­ING GUN rate is 0.01 per cent but this rises in the very young and the very old. No­body needs that to hap­pen. Baubles fall off the tree on 4.3 per cent of the oc­ca­sions that you brush past it. When they break, they leave tiny pieces that per­sist no mat­ter how much you vac­uum. These can pen­e­trate pads leav­ing a limp­ing pet. Re­moval of these sharp bits causes con­ster­na­tion in 100 per cent of vets and 258 per cent of own­ers re­sent the cost in­volved.

Con­tin­u­ing the theme, 64 per cent of presents nestling de­light­fully un­der the tree con­tain sub­stances that are harm­ful to pets, and 10 per cent of dogs can smell choco­late through three lay­ers of wrap­ping pa­per. Re­mem­ber the darker and more bit­ter the choco­late, the greater the risk. If in doubt, phone your vet and ad­vise him of the quan­tity and type con­sumed and they will be able to tell you if vom­it­ing should be in­duced. A sim­ple sub­cu­ta­neous in­jec­tion of apo­mor­phine will be suc­cess­ful in 85 per cent of pa­tients.

In 31 of the last 32 Christ­mas pe­ri­ods (96.875 per cent) our on-call vets have had to op­er­ate on dogs to re­move for­eign bod­ies that be­came stuck in the bowel – 56 per cent of these were in­tended to be Christ­mas presents. They were never given. While 22 per cent were cooked bones of var­i­ous ori­gin (62 per cent turkey) that should have been safely and se­curely binned af­ter the meal was fin­ished. And one per cent was a pair of rolled up foot­ball socks that a bea­gle swal­lowed on 25 De­cem­ber. No kid­ding! He sub­se­quently brought them back up on New Year’s Day. A great start to the year!

Cur­rently, 100 per cent of dog own­ers should re­mem­ber that raisins can be highly toxic to dogs. Don’t for­get that 98 per cent of Christ­mas cakes con­tain more than enough raisins to kill a ca­nine. (The other two per cent would not even be touched by the dog, let alone your vis­i­tors). Dogs that swal­low any amount of raisins should be taken to a vet at once. Phone them to tell them you are on your way. Do not de­lay! They may look okay for a few days, but many suf­fer fa­tal or­gan fail­ure. Around 0.013 per cent of peo­ple will ig­nore this ad­vice and lose their dog be­fore New Year.

Di­etary over­load

“Ten per cent of dogs can smell choco­late through three lay­ers of wrap­ping pa­per”

Rum­bling on, 64 per cent of up­set tum­mies in dogs are caused by di­etary over­load. Zero per cent of nor­mal peo­ple want to spend Box­ing Day clear­ing up vomit and di­ar­rhoea, so re­duce food in­take by 25 per cent!

And when you say “they haven’t had any­thing un­usual to eat”, we can tell 100 per cent of the time you are fib­bing when the Brus­sel sprouts come back up…

And fi­nally, while you can’t be­lieve ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing you read in mag­a­zines, I would like to wish 100 per cent of you and your pets a very, very happy and healthy Christ­mas! Please don’t end up a statis­tic!

P.S. Are you one of the zero per cent of peo­ple who read this far?

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