PET SAFETY: Our Christmas chow is not for bow-wows
AN ANIMAL industry expert with almost 20 years' experience has a stark warning for all pet owners this holiday season.
To avoid spending thousands of dollars and making your four-legged friend gravely ill, Hervey Bay Veterinary Surgery practice manager Narissa Corfe had some firm advice.
Ms Corfe said the most common issue she sees each year is pet owners feeding their animals Christmas leftovers.
"You really shouldn't feed your animal human food to begin with," she said.
"At this time of year, the biggest thing we see are things like fat from meat, pork crackle, fruits such as grapes, sultanas and raisins.
"The grape family in general is toxic, onion, garlic, all of those things are toxic, and then anything with a relatively high fat content.
"Especially if it's out of the general scope of what they normally eat, it can cause acute onset pancreatitis."
She said straying from the pet's regular diet had dire consequences and was most commonly seen post-Christmas.
"A couple of thousand dollars in vet bills for hospitalisation for acute pancreatitis would be my primary (clientele)," Ms Corfe said.
"Things like renal deficits, they need to be hospitalised and on fluids to counteract kidney disease.
"And hyperactivity and neurological symptoms that come from feeding your animals chocolate."
Ms Corfe said another issue pets face during the summer months and end of year celebrations was anxiety from thunderstorms or fireworks.
"We find most animals with a true phobia and anxiety do require a bit of chemical help," she said.
"There's plenty of new behavioural drugs on the market that are working absolute wonders and seeing fabulous results."
Those planning to surprise a loved one with an animal as a Christmas gift was strongly discouraged by Ms Corfe who said the result was local refuges being inundated with unwanted pets.