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Hawthorn Vets Bake Off

3rd December 2022

As one of the many diversions from the drudgery of Covid related restrictions last year, our head nurse, Dani, organised the Hawthorn Vets bakeoff. After a rush of blood to the head, I agreed to take part despite having the baking experience of a potato (and not even a baked one at that!).

There were several categories and somehow I got put in the cake contest up against non other than Chris "The Victoria Sponge Queen" Creasey. This was a David vs Goliath scenario so I decided to put in some practice with an entry level Lemon Drizzle to flex my baking muscles. The first effort was something more akin to a frisbee and was consigned to the dog bowl. The dogs clearly thought that they were the recipients of all my future baking efforts as something canine ate half of my second effort despite it being on a worktop. However, taste test by the kids on the remainder deemed it fit for human consumption and so I elected to proceed to the main event. As this was a serious baking competition, I decided to try and make a cake version of Hawthorn Vets in Henfield I was also armed with my secret weapon in the form of Mother Underwood's chocolate cake recipe. In my head, I imagined a quaint "Dickens-esq" version of our building with dustings of snow, chocolate button tiles overlaid on the roof and the glowing of light through some caramel windows edged with thin chocolate. However, what materialised looked more like something that emerges from the first lesson of a home economics class - which wasn't really surprising considering my baking pedigree. Luckily, the "judges" regarded that it was edible and despite losing to Chris's excellent sponge my cake wasn't used to grace any doq bowls!

This was obviously fortuitous as we all know that chocolate can be toxic to dogs if they eat enough of it - which given the time of year brings me nicely on the toxins that you should look out for and make sure to avoid over the festive period.

  • Chocolate is the obvious one - it is theobromine which is contained within cocoa which is toxic to dogs causing liver damage - hence dark chocolate is more harmful than milk.

  • Christmas Pudding and mince pies contain raisins which even in small quantities can be toxic to dogs causing kidney failure.

  • Macadamia nuts can cause lethargy, increased body temperature, tremor, lameness and stiffness in dogs.

  • Onion, chives, garlic and leeks are dangerous to dogs and cats, as they damage red blood cells, leading to anaemia.

  • Tinsel isn't edible but it can certainly cause problems if it is ingested! Cats are the main culprits here and tinsel can get stuck in the bowel causing severe illness.

The advice if you suspect your pet may have eaten anything toxic is to call us and we will advise you how to proceed - it will often involve making your pet sick. However, prevention is better than cure, so best to avoid dietary indiscretion in the first place!

At the time of writing, Hawthorn bakeoff II is just starting - I'm in cake week again at the end of the month, could it be rigged, wonder?!? Wish me luck!

Jonathan Underwood