Published: 10:59, 23 December 2021
| Updated: 11:26, 23 December 2021
A labradoodle puppy needed emergency treatment after wolfing down a plum pudding - sparking a warning from vets.
Mischievous six-month-old Nutmeg, from near Canterbury, ate the pudding while her owners' backs were turned.
But it contained raisins, which can be very toxic to dogs and can lead to fatal poisoning and organ failure.
Nutmeg used her front paws to haul herself up to the forbidden pantry shelf where the gluten-free plum pudding was sitting in its box.
She then swiped the box to the floor and set about ripping through the cardboard to get inside.
By the time her family heard the commotion and rushed to investigate, Nutmeg had eaten more than half the pudding.
Fortunately Nutmeg’s owner, doctor Mary McHale, was aware of how dangerous raisins can be to dogs and immediately rang emergency vets, Vets Now.
Vets gave Nutmeg medicine which, following an anxious wait, managed to induce sickness.
The drama unfolded last Christmas Eve. And at 2am on Christmas morning, Nutmeg - a little drowsy but otherwise none the worse for her ordeal - was well enough to be collected by her owner.
Mary said: “Of all the things you might expect to be doing at two in the morning on Christmas Day, collecting your dog after a medical emergency must be close to bottom of the list.
“But I’m very glad indeed that we sought help so quickly - and that Vets Now were open.
“We laugh about it now as a family but it really was touch and go and if we hadn’t been able to get Nutmeg seen so quickly, she could have been in real trouble.
"She had just got hold of the one thing in the kitchen that was possibly the most dangerous to her..."
“My husband and my son were first into the kitchen after it happened and, because they weren’t aware of the danger of raisins to dogs, they were having a chuckle.
“But because I’d done the research beforehand, I put them right, grabbed what was left of the pudding to stop Nutmeg eating any more and explained that she had just got hold of the one thing in the kitchen that was possibly the most dangerous to her.
“In hindsight it is funny of course, and all my colleagues at work have been having a chuckle about it.
“And they also found it very funny that I made use of the time Nutmeg was at Vets Now to make a Mary Berry chocolate roulade as an alternative pudding.
“Needless to say, I put that well out of harm’s reach and this Christmas we’re keeping the pantry door firmly locked!
“You have to hand it to Nutmeg: she’s very agile - and very committed to food theft.
“As well as unfurling her paws, if there’s food around, she’ll use her tongue as a giant extendable scoop to steal it when you're not looking."
Vets Now says it sees a 97% rise in cases around Christmas and the New Year, largely due to animals accidentally ingesting items such as raisins, chocolate and tinsel, or being burned by candles and fairy lights.
Emergency vet Dave Hollinshead echoes Mary's warning about never leaving dangerous foods within paws’ reach of a dog.
He said: “The good news is the prognosis for grape and raisin toxicity is often good if treated early.
“If you think your dog has eaten grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants, or anything containing them, you should telephone your vet immediately or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic. Never assume that a small quantity will be fine.”