Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

Cat and dog under a christmas tree. Pets under plaid.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

The festive season is an exciting time, with lots of delicious food to eat, presents to give and decorations to hang. However, all the extra wrapping paper, dangling tinsel and leftover food can pose a serious risk to your pet, and they could end up finding themselves in a tricky situation. Read our advice below on what you can do to keep your four legged friend safe this holiday season.

1. O’ Christmas Tree

Hazard: Ah, the Christmas tree, a festive staple in every home during Christmas time; but did you know they can be a danger to your pet? Real Christmas trees shed sharp needles, which can become lodged in your pet’s throat or injure their paws. They also produce natural oils that can be toxic to cats, dogs, and rabbits, causing upset tummies.

Prevention: Always make sure to sweep up any needles that have fallen off the tree and do not allow your pets near the tree unsupervised, regardless of whether it is real or artificial. Try keep the tree out of your pet’s reach and in a room they do not normally hang around in. Aluminium foil will also help both your dog and cat avoiding the Christmas tree, as they do not like the feel of it on their paws.

Hazard: The sparkle of tinsel and baubles can be very tempting to pets, as they may see them as another play opportunity. However, if a piece of decoration comes loose and is swallowed by your pet, it can become lodged in their stomach and may require surgery to have removed; a very painful and traumatic procedure.

Prevention: Keep decorations out of reach. This can be tricky if you’ve got a cat, as they are known for getting into difficult spots, but focus on the top half of the tree and the centre when decorating, where your cat can’t reach. Don’t place the tree near ‘launching pads’ such as a piece of furniture, to reduce the temptation to spring onto your tree. Make sure your tree has a solid base and never let them near it unsupervised.

Cute tabby kitten in Christmas tree playing with ornament
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Charming little girl in Santa Claus hat with dog labrador retriever are waiting for the New Year at home, smiling and looking at camera.

2. Family Time

Hazard: There’s nothing like gathering the family around on Christmas Day, and your pet will be feeling a lot of emotions with all the new faces around. Some pets love meeting new people and adore the attention, other pets may feel the opposite and become nervous, reclusive or agitated.

Prevention: If you think your pet will be feeling the latter, set up a quiet, comfortable area for them to retreat into when mingling with the family gets a bit much for them. This could be in a bedroom or spare room; the important thing is that is a quiet, safe spot with little foot traffic. If they normally use a crate, perhaps move the crate away from where guests are to ensure your pet’s safe space is quiet.

Make sure they have some chew toys and fresh water, and a cosy blanket or two for warmth. If they are very anxious, PET REMEDY De-Stress & Calming Plug Diffuser is great for both cats and dogs and other pets to help ease anxiety. Locate the plug diffuser in room where your pet’s safe space will be. This diffuser helps with separation anxiety as well as fireworks, loud weather, new home, and any other stressful circumstances for your pet.

It is also best to ask guests to knock before coming in—you don’t want your pet running out the door the first chance they get.

Hazard: If you have children coming over to the house and they aren’t used to being around pets, or if your pet isn’t used to being around them, it can spell trouble as children who don’t know how to behave appropriately around animals can cause your pet to react in a harmful way, such as biting, growling, or scratching.

Prevention: It is important to have a chat with your family beforehand to ensure the children know how to behave and react around your dog, cat, or small animal. They should know not to touch him while he is sleeping or eating, and only to pet him when it is allowed by their owner. Children, no matter how old or young they are, shouldn’t be left unsupervised with a pet.

3. Festive Food

Hazard: Christmas dinner is one of the big things to look forward to on Christmas Day, but did you know the majority of veterinary visits over the holidays is due to food related illness? It essential that you never feed your pet any human foods which may be toxic to them.

Prevention: Foods to avoid feeding your pet are:

  • Grapes and Raisins can cause kidney failure in both cats and dogs.
  • Onions, garlic and chives-consumption of these foods causes gastroenteritis or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Chocolate-Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can be lethal to dogs and cats. Dark chocolate and cooking chocolate in particular contain high levels of theobromine, but it is present in milk chocolate too.
  • Macadamia Nuts-Highly toxic to dogs and known to cause tremors, diarrhoea vomiting, and weakness if ingested.
  • Fatty foods or fat trimmings-Do not give your pet fatty foods such as potatoes cooked in goose fat or butter, as it can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Alcohol-Our pets cannot metabolise alcohol like us humans can; it can make them extremely ill.
  • Cooked bones-Avoid feeding your pet cooked bones from Christmas meat as it can cause serious internal damage as well as pose as a choking hazard. Only give safe, pet-friendly bones to chew on if need be.
  • Mince Pies-The raisins are poisonous to dogs and ingesting them can lead to serious illness, diarrhoea, and even kidney failure.
  • Avocado- Persin is a toxin found in the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados which can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea.
Close-up portrait of a dog wearing reindeer‘s horns celebrating Christmas. Bone on a plate as a treat on served holiday table. Christmas vibes

Symptoms of food poisoning in cats and dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, nausea, dizziness, lethargy, uncontrollable peeing, cramping, severe thirst, panting and salivation.

If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately contact your emergency vet. Even if you don’t notice any symptoms but think your pet has eaten something bad for them, we still recommend contacting your vet.

Any more questions?

If you’re concerned about keeping your pet safe this Christmas or are interested in finding out more about our range of food, toys, or crates, do not hesitate to contact your local store today and a member of our team will more than happy to assist you.

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