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Seasonal Issues





Certain human food can be highly toxic to pets, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, currants, sultanas, some nuts and allium species. All these are usually in abundance at Christmas time.

Check out our COMMON TOXINS page to find out more.


Anti freeze During cold snaps, antifreeze poisonings become increasingly common. These typically occur when ethylene glycol, one of the main ingredients in antifreeze, leaks from car radiators or screen wash containers. This chemical is extremely toxic to dogs and, to exacerbate the problem, it’s also very sweet so they like the taste.

Any amount is dangerous, even if it’s found in contaminated water such as puddles, but just a few tablespoonfuls are potentially fatal. Treatment may be needed if your dog swallows any antifreeze so please contact your vet as soon as possible. Cold Weather Slim dogs and older dogs may feel the cold more than others, so consider getting a coat for your dog.

Many of us lead busy lives and in the winter months there’s little choice but to walk our dogs during the hours of darkness.

  • Always carry a torch.
  • Wear bright clothing.
  • Use reflective collars and leads

Christmas day can be exciting, but be cautious of small toys or parts, as they could cause an intestinal obstruction if a pet was to chew them. If a pet chews batteries, this can cause burns or an obstruction, so be careful where you store them.


Keep all cleaning products of out of the reach of your pets. Some dogs may think the brightly coloured bottles are fun toys to play with.

If you put bleach down the toilet, remember to close the lid and bathroom door.
Oven cleaners and drain cleaners can be especially harmful. Keep your pets out of the room when using these products.
Call your vet if you think that your pet has consumed any of these.


Lilies are very dangerous to cats. Eating just two or three leaves or drinking from the water from a vase can be potentially fatal. If you ever suspect your cat has eaten, or even licked, a lily seek urgent veterinary advice.

The stalks, flowers and bulbs contain phenanthridine alkaloids which are toxic to cats. The highest proportion is in the bulbs. Eating amaryllis can cause vomiting, changes in blood pressure, tremors and seizures.

Daffodils are synonymous with spring but can be toxic to dogs and cats, particularly the bulbs. The yellow flowers contain a poisonous alkaloid that can trigger vomiting while crystals in the bulbs are severely toxic and can cause serious conditions such as cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression.

At Easter there is a lot of exciting food around for us humans, however food such as chocolate (easter eggs), dried fruit, found in hot cross buns, easter cakes etc can be highly toxic to pets.

Check out our TOXINS page for more information.



Overheating and heat stress can be a killer so here are some tips to help you all have a happy and healthy summer in the sun. Signs:

  • Panting excessively
  • Drooling
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Reddened/purple gums
  • Vomiting and Diarrhoea
  • Seizures progressing to coma and even death.

  Treatment: As soon as possible move your pet to a cooler spot, keep them as quiet and calm as possible. Use wet cool towels to gradually lower the temperature and use a fan if possible. Contact your vet as soon as possible as serious complications may result. Prevention:

  • Exercise your dog early morning/late evening to avoid the midday sun.
  • Ensure access to shade in the garden you could even supply a paddling pool!
  • Have fresh cool water available, put ice -cubes in the water if taking some out with you.
  • Be extra careful with either very young or old, overweight or longhaired animals. Some breeds are more likely to suffer including short-nosed breeds such as boxers and pugs etc.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a parked car even on overcast days the temperature can increase dramatically.
  • Clip longhaired breeds.
  • Use a fan in the rooms where you pet likes to settle.



Fireworks are a common phobia for dogs and cats as they often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light very frightening. Even a seemingly confident dog can tremble and drool at the unfamiliar sounds.

Preparation is all-important if dogs are to get through fire-works or thunderstorms with the minimum amount of fear and stress. First you need to make a special place where your dog can get away from the sounds he fears. Most dogs will already have a favourite room to go to, in which case all you need to do is modify this place to make it even more suitable as a bolt hole.

Some dogs do not know where to escape and for these individuals, you need to create somewhere for them to hide. It is best to choose a room that is naturally quiet and has minimal numbers of windows. It is best to prepare the refuge as far ahead of the firework event as you can. Your dog must always be able to get to this place whenever he is frightened.

  • Install a Dog Appeasing Pheromone (ADAPTIL) diffuser in your home, preferably close to or inside the dogs hiding place. This is a device that looks like an air freshener that you plug into a wall socket. It produces a smell that is like a chemical that your dog’s mother used to calm her puppies. Available through vets it should be left operating 24hrs a day and if possible installed a couple of weeks before a known event. ADAPTIL makes dogs feel much more relaxed and confident when they might otherwise be stressed.
  • Put in lots of blankets for your dog to dig and burrow in, preferably placed in a corner where the dog has already tended to dig or hide. Include an old, unwashed piece of clothing e.g. woolly jumper, so that your dog can smell your scent and feel comforted by your indirect presence.
  • Try to minimise the amount of noise entering the bolt hole room from outside. The dog must not see the flashes of fireworks or lightening, so close the windows and use heavy curtains to make the room dark.
  • Bowls of food and water are essential and it is a good idea to make sure that your dog has emptied his bladder an hour or so before the storm or fireworks start
  • Leave a few special chews and things for your dog to eat in the hiding place in case he fancies something chewy to reduce his tension. However, do not be alarmed if he does not seem interested in them – some dogs are simply not interested in treats at a time like this.
  • Moderately loud rhythmic music with a good beat is an effective way to mask the fireworks from outside.
  • Moderately loud rhythmic music with a good beat is an effective way to mask the fireworks from outside.
  • Get your dog used to going to the hiding place 2/3 times each day during the run up to a firework display by taking him there and giving him some food or a favourite chew. This will help the dog understand that this is a good place to go to.
  • Give your dog a large, stodgy, carbohydrate-rich meal in the late afternoon of the day. Pasta, mashed potato or overcooked rice will help him feel calm and sleepy as the night draws in.
  • Make sure your pet is kept in a safe and secure environment at all times so that he doesn’t bolt and escape if a sudden noise occurs.


  • As soon as the fireworks start lead your dog to the hiding place and encourage him to stay there
  • Do not get cross with your dog when he is scared as it will only make him more frightened.
  • It is tempting to try and soothe your dog to relieve his fears but this is the worst thing to do. It gives your dog the impression that there is something to be frightened of and may even reward him for being scared. Also, if your dog comes to think of you as the only person that can soothe his fears, he may panic if there are fireworks when you are not around to help.
  • Ignore your dog when he is trying to look frightened and only show attention and affection when he has begun to relax. Then you can give your dog a game and some food treats as a reward.
  • It is a good idea to try to keep your dog in a happy mood by playing lots of games and doing bits of training using food rewards. This will stop him from falling into a state of anxious tension, but do not expect too much.
  • Ignore the noises yourself and try to appear happy and relaxed. If your pet is only mildly fearful, you could try to engage him in some form of active game. Try to appear happy and unconcerned. It can help if you play a game with another pet in the household because the frightened one may be tempted to join in.
  • If your pet is very frightened by the noises and cannot be encouraged to play, then lead him to the refuge you have created.