After consuming all those goodies at Christmas, many of us are thinking about starting the New Year with a weight reduction and keep fit campaign but there are many potential hazards for our pets in January!
For dieters, lots of low calorie foods swap sugars for Xylitol which is an artificial sweetener. This is important to know because it is toxic to dogs. In food, it can sometimes go by its food additive code E967 so it is well worth looking out for that on packaging.
Although the most common source of this product is found in chewing gum, many confectionery products can contain it too. That includes low calorie peanut butter, which owners often used to pack Kongs and other interactive feeders!
If power walking or running on the beach is on your keep fit agenda do look out for Palm Oil. It can find its way to the shore through transport ships washing out of their tanks off the coast. But do beware because it is toxic to dogs if they eat any of it.
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil, which is semi-solid at room temperature. It is used as a biofuel and found in processed foods and toiletries. It appears as whitish-grey or yellow lumps. It can also pick up and absorb fat-soluble material such as diesel, present in seawater, posing an additional hazard.
Symptoms can include: vomiting and diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, belching and lethargy.
As with most toxins it is not advisable to make your dog sick. Instead contact your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible to ask for expert advice. Alternatively there is a helpline service provided by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service: 01202 509000. Charges apply.
The topic of poisoning, as well as lots of other valuable life-saving information is covered on the accredited and veterinary approved hosted and online Canine First Aid Course.
Like human first aid, learning how to respond in an emergency situation is a extremely useful skill for all pet owners and those working with dogs in a professional capacity.