The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has also issued important advice on making sure your home is a safe environment for pets over the festive season.  
     Chocolate is one of the most common causes of poisoning in dogs, but it’s also harmful to other species, including cats, rodents and rabbits. Other toxic foods include liquorice sweets, grapes, onions, garlic, and raisins and sultanas (plus mince pies, fruit cake and Christmas pud).  
     Blu-tack, used to put up cards and decorations, is also poisonous to pets, as is antifreeze, so keep these well out of animals’ reach.  
     Other hazards for pets include Christmas tree light electric cables – very dangerous if chewed; tinsel, wrapping paper and bows, which could be eaten; and broken glass baubles which could cause serious injury. Also take care not to leave batteries lying around – if swallowed they can cause severe chemical burns to your dog’s mouth, throat and stomach.  
     If you have any doubt or concern about anything your pet might have ingested, contact your vet for advice immediately. It’s a good idea to find out about your vet’s holiday opening times in advance, but if you go away for Christmas and need to find a vet in an emergency, visit   
     To request a copy of the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation’s guide to Pets and Poisons, produced in conjunction with the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, email


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