Vets are warning owners to keep their dogs out of the kitchen on Christmas Day to avoid dangerous burns and scalds.
The advice comes after Lakeland terrier Fig suffered horrific injuries when her owner accidentally spilled burning hot fat from a tray on her. A warning that this article contains a graphic image of Fig’s burn.
The six-month-old puppy needed emergency treatment at Vets Now in Ashford following the incident, which left her yelping in agony.
‘We’re used to being really careful around the house with our older dog Pie,’ says Fig’s owner Sarah Pickett, who lives with her husband Hugh on a farm near Ashford, Kent.
‘But puppies are like toddlers as you never know what they are going to do, and something can happen in the blink of an eye.
Sarah and her husband were both in the kitchen when the incident happened. Hugh was baking sausage rolls in the Aga, and Sarah was at the sink preparing dinner.
‘Suddenly, Fig started yelping and dashing round the kitchen and it was as if someone had stood on her tail,’ says Sarah.
‘But it turned out that as Hugh had taken the tray of sausage rolls out, some of the hot fat had spilled off the tray just as she had got under his feet.
‘I ran to pick her up and actually burned my hand on her as I did so.’
Sarah couldn’t see the extent of the burn on Fig’s side as she is so fluffy, but she scooped her up and put her under the cold tap.
As Fig didn’t seem to be in much discomfort after the initial shock, Sarah tried to look after her at home, applying antiseptic cream and keeping a watchful eye.
But things soon took a turn for the worst.
‘She’s usually lovely and cuddly but became really lifeless and I could see that something was wrong and she just wasn’t happy,’ explains Sarah.
‘The wound had started weeping a bit and I didn’t want to attempt cutting the fur away and making it worse.’
Sarah rushed Fig straight to its emergency pet clinic in Ashford.
‘After assessing the situation, we provided pain relief then sedated Fig so we were able to clip away the fur on her side to get to the wound,’ says vet nurse Claire Howell at Vets Now, who was on duty looking after Fig the night she was hospitalised.
‘That allowed us to carefully remove the damaged tissue, flush and clean the fresh wound and wrap her in a body bandage.’
Fig was kept in overnight on a drip with pain relief as she recovered from the surgery. Sarah and Hugh were delighted to be able to collect her and take her home the following day.
‘The vets and vet nurses were lovely and professional and they did a brilliant job,’ says Sarah.
‘We were just so happy to have her back. Our own vets changed the dressings three times and now, to let the air get to it, we’ve got her in cut-down baby-grows.
‘Thankfully it’s healing really well.’
‘Our vets and vet nurses see a big increase in cases at Christmas and many of these involve accidents in and around the home,’ says Dr Liron Levy-Hirsch, district vet at Vets Now.
‘The kitchen is probably one of the most dangerous places in the house, especially when people are busy cooking, as there a lot of extra hazards and pet owners need to be careful.
‘Our advice is to keep pets in another room when people are cooking.’
Hot liquids are one of the most common causes of scalds to dogs and the emergency vets have drawn up an advice guide on what to do if a dog suffers burns or scalds.
Cold water or wet, cold and clean towels should be applied to the burnt area if the wound is fresh. If the skin is cold, it can indicate that the skin is compromised and bacteria can easily get into the damaged area, so use clean and preferably sterile dressings.
If you do suspect a burn or scald, veterinary help should be sought immediately.
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