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No titbits for the dogs please

Please think twice before giving your much loved dog left over ham, prawns or turkey. Each, in their own way are salty and fatty and the bits the dog gets are usually the fattiest pieces. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including the potentially fatal pancreatitis as the pancreas tries to deal with the sudden ingestion of rich fatty or salty foods.

Dogs love tidbits and rarely turn up their noses at a tasty morsel or a piece of meat that might be considered "gone past it Vets see plenty of dogs following Christmas with vomiting and diarrhoea and most of those cases have involved dogs that have eaten either the Christmas ham, lamb or turkey along with incidences as a result of prawns shells and the main offender, sausages. For a dog that is susceptible to pancreatitis, half a sausage is enough to trigger the condition. Often, a dog will lose appetite, vomit and have belly pain if it has developed pancreatitis. Other symptoms to watch for are a fever or low body temperature, diarrhea, loss of energy, breathing difficulty, dehydration or irregular heartbeat. If your dog has any of these problems for more than a day, or if these symptoms keep coming back, be sure to contact your vet. If your dog has eaten chocolate there is a need to observe it very closely. Chocolate contains cocoa and cocoa contains the compound theobromine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs. A small amount of chocolate will probably just give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea. Large quantities of theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The symptoms of theobromine ingestion may include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and increased urination, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures and possibly death. If your dog or pet has ingested chocolate (even a small amount) you should contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible for advice. Vets can usually treat chocolate poisoning by inducing vomiting and with supportive therapy in hospital but it is important to seek veterinary attention quickly. Contributed copy

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