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.
“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?