18 December 2023

RSPCA WA is urging pet owners to be aware of potential pet hazards this Christmas.

Google Trends data shows searches for ‘emergency vet’ jumped by 50 per cent between December 24 and December 31 last year.

RSPCA WA Shelter Coordinator Richelle Beswick says the effects of toxic foods and stomach blockages are two of the more common issues.

‘Pets who eat dangerous foods over the holidays can become gravely ill, while things like wrapping paper, decorations and small toys can cause intestinal blockages, requiring emergency surgery,’ Richelle said.

‘Emergency vet treatment can quickly climb into the thousands, so we want to help refresh pet owner’s memories of thing to watch out for.

‘Cooked bones are brittle and can lodge in your pet’s windpipe or stomach, while chocolate, fruit mince pies and Christmas pudding all contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

‘If in doubt, always contact your vet straight away for advice.’

RSPCA WA warned that stress was another risk to pets over the busy holiday period, with unfamiliar people, children, and loud toys potential triggers.

To help pets stress less, exercise them before the festivities begin, and make sure they have a quiet place to retreat to if the party gets a bit much. You can use enrichment toys, like Kongs, to keep them distracted.

If your dog shows any behaviours that they are uncomfortable, such as, licks their lips, shows the whites of their eyes, or turns their head away when a child or adult is patting them, intervene immediately, and take them to their ‘safe space’ to relax.

With temperatures set to rise later this week, the RSPCA is also urging pet owners to include their furry friends in plans to stay cool.

‘Animals left in hot cars or tied up in backyards without shade and water can suffer heatstroke and even die in these hot conditions.’

‘If your pets are staying home alone, make sure they have plenty of shade and at least two sources of fresh, cool water, just in case one gets knocked over. Large blocks of ice with stock or treats frozen in them are a fun, cool game.

‘Walk your dog in the early morning or late evening – if you can’t comfortably put your hand on the ground for five seconds then it’s too hot to walk your dog.’