As the holiday season approaches, Vets Now, the UK’s leading pet emergency service, anticipates a staggering 79% increase in cases during Christmas and New Year.

Pet owners are set to grapple with the unforeseen risks posed to their pets by the festive period, ranging from accidental ingestion of raisins found in mince pies to burns caused by fairy lights and candles – all typical Christmas emergencies.

Vets Now, operating across 60+ emergency clinics and hospitals nationwide, is fortifying itself for the impending surge in emergency cases. The service is bolstering its workforce with additional vets and vet nurses on duty, and also stocking up on extra clinical supplies and medicines to meet the heightened demand.

Seasonal Challenges for Pets

Dave Leicester, a leading emergency vet overseeing the Video Vets Now service, emphasised the challenges posed to pets during the festive season. He noted the myriad hazards lurking in homes, ranging from festive foods and decorations to gifts, resulting in a substantial rise in caseloads for emergency vets and nursing teams across the country.

Statistics from the previous year underscore the severity of the Christmas emergencies surge, with emergency calls to Vets Now soaring by 66 percent at Christmas, leading to a staggering 79 percent rise in emergency admissions. Particularly concerning were cases of dogs ingesting chocolate (958 cases) and mince pies (667 cases), both potentially toxic to canines. Additionally, instances of pets consuming tinsel, chocolate wrappers, advent calendars, and Christmas puddings posed considerable risks.

Dave urges pet owners to stay vigilant and prevent festive treats from turning into unexpected medical emergencies by being mindful of hidden hazards. Awareness and caution during the holidays can significantly contribute to ensuring pets’ safety and well-being.

Special Christmas Trees and Charity Initiative

To add a touch of festive cheer, four of Vets Now’s emergency clinics – located in Manchester, Glasgow, Newport, and Birmingham’s new pet hospital, Blaise – are also busy adorning ‘wish trees’. Provided by online home furnishings retailer Wayfair, these trees serve a dual purpose by supporting a charitable cause.

Pet owners can contribute £1 to StreetVet, a national charity providing free veterinary care to pets of people experiencing homelessness, by placing a bauble on the tree with their handwritten Christmas wish. All proceeds raised will directly benefit StreetVet’s impactful initiatives.


Image by Jeff Holmes, courtesy of Vets Now.