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Vets want people to stop drinking at home for the sake of their inquisitive pets

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Chris Sayer
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It’s not just your head that’s at risk of some serious ‘morning after cracking into Aunt Jane’s Bailey’s stash’ suffering this festive period.

Vets are urging pet owners to keep an eye on how much alcohol their furry friends are knocking back this Christmas, too.   

The push for awareness comes on the back of the increased amount of time people are spending drinking at home rather than in the pub, and inevitably resulting in drinks being left laying around within easy reach of inquisitive little paws.

“Pets are inquisitive and will hunt out human food and drink that can be hazardous to their health,” Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association, said. “Dogs and other pets are far smaller than we are so their toxic levels are reached much quicker making any access to alcohol more dangerous. If a pet has access to alcohol it can lead to several serious health issues, from a distressed and disorientated pet who does not understand what’s happening to them, to seizures and even respiratory failure. If owners suspect their pet has consumed alcohol they should contact their local vet immediately.”

A survey by Argos Pets Insurance found that 25% of pet owners admit their dogs have drunk and a similar proportion of British vets report they have treated a drunken canine during their career – a potentially fatal canine affliction. 

In fact, in 2015 the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) was contacted 26 times for advice by vets treating pets suffering from alcohol poisoning – a number that’s increased massively since 2000, when it was at just five.

A spokesman for VPIS told The Telegraph: “I suspect that vets see lots of cases of mild intoxications, but know what to expect and how to treat so they don’t call us. The actual number may therefore be much higher.”

Vets are also concerned that this ramped up number is due to a growing trend of owners filming their dogs and cats drinking booze, and then sharing the footage online for social gratification and mad ‘likes’. A quick punch of ‘drunk dog’ into YouTube returns a pretty hefty 2,190,000 results – not all of which will be little Rex appearing sh*thammered on martinis, but still, there’s a lot to get through on there. 

That’d be another member of the extended family to hide the eggnog from this year, then. 

Pic: Design Pics Inc/REX/Shuttestock

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Chris Sayer

Chris Sayer is a freelance journalist and editor based in London. Chris has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and travelled the world doing an all manner of adventures for lots of brilliant magazines. He writes for Shortlist about booze but would probably prefer we let him write about fishing instead. Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00

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