Greedy Nutmeg needs emergency treatment

Puppy Nutmeg almost had a Christmas catastrophe when she munched her way through a luxury plum pudding. 

Grapes and raisins can be very toxic to dogs and even just a few can lead to fatal poisoning and organ failure. 

But mischievous Nutmeg was blissfully unaware of that when she sniffed out the tasty pud late last Christmas Eve. 

With her owners’ backs turned for a second, the labradoodle, named after her radiant red fur, swooped in an elaborate operation of canine cunning. 

First, she used her front paws to haul herself up to the forbidden pantry shelf where the gluten-free pudding was sitting in its box. 

Then she managed to swipe 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, fast-moving Nutmeg had wolfed down more than half the pudding. 

Fortunately, Nutmeg’s owner Mary McHale, who lives near Canterbury in Kent, had done her homework, was aware of how dangerous raisins can be to dogs and rang Vets Now straightaway. 

Nutmeg on the beach
Grapes and raisins can be very toxic to dogs and even just a few can lead to fatal poisoning and organ failure.

Every second matters when a pet has eaten something poisonous – a point not lost on Mary, who is a doctor. 

Our team went to work straightaway, giving Nutmeg medicine to be sick. 

After an anxious wait, six-month-old Nutmeg brought up a large amount of Christmas pudding. 

At 2am on Christmas morning, Nutmeg – a little drowsy but otherwise none the worse for her ordeal – was well enough to be collected by a very weary Mary. 

Nutmeg running along the grass
At 2am on Christmas morning, Nutmeg was well enough to be collected by his 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. 

“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 anymore 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.” 

Nutmeg standing on pavement
“You have to hand it to Nutmeg: she's very agile and very committed to food theft."

Our teams see a massive rise in cases and queries involving raisins at Christmas. 

Emergency vet Dave Hollinshead, who is part of the Video Vets Now team, echoed Mary’s warning about never leaving dangerous foods within paws’ reach of a dog.  

He added: “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.” 

All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.   

We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available.   

While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies like Nutmeg’s, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have.   

If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, Vets Now will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.