How to Avoid Christmas Hazards
Christmas is a time for celebration and fun, but with it comes some seasonal dangers for our pets. We’ve come up with some simple steps to keep your pets safe (and save you an emergency vet trip!) this Christmas.
Step 1: Keep Christmas food and drinks out of reach
For many families, a Christmas celebration isn’t complete without a little indulgence in some festive foods. But bear in mind that some seasonal goodies aren’t so good for our furry friends!
- Chocolates are everywhere at Christmas time and it is easy to leave a box or two lying around. Sensitive noses can sniff these out in no time, and some dogs even manage to unwrap them from under the tree! Chocolate is toxic to our pets so make sure to keep it well out of reach.
- Mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding contain currants, raisins and sultanas which are all types of dried grapes. Fresh grapes are often found adorning our cheeseboards over the festive period too. Even fresh grapes are potentially toxic to cats and dogs, but raisins seem to cause more problems and can cause kidney failure… So make sure they can’t get their paws on these Christmas treats!
- For many of us, Christmas dinner is the highlight of the celebration. But some of the items on our table can be unsafe for our pets. Onions are often used in stuffing or gravy and are toxic to dogs and cats. Bones can cause gut damage or blockages and fatty foods can result in tummy trouble, so think twice before offering your pet these leftovers.
- Alcoholic drinks are abundant in many households at Christmas time and are a big part of the celebration for many, but make sure to keep them to yourselves and out of reach of your four-legged friends! Animals are sensitive to the effects of alcohol and can suffer from alcohol poisoning, so keep an eye on your glass.
Call us straight away if you think your pet has eaten any toxic foods.
Step 2: Watch out for decorations and pet-proof your tree
Lots of exciting and unfamiliar items pop up in the house over the festive period and they can be very intriguing to our pets!
- Baubles can be stolen from the tree and may be chewed or swallowed. Glass baubles are at risk of shattering into sharp pieces which your pet could cut themselves on.
- Tinsel can be very tempting to play with but can be harmful if swallowed. Long objects like this can get stuck in the intestines and sometimes need to be removed surgically.
- Fairy lights can cause burns or electrocution if the wire is chewed and the bulbs may be pulled off and swallowed too.
- Sharp pine needles from the Christmas tree are potentially problematic if they are eaten, or get stuck in paws, and should be swept or vacuumed up regularly to avoid this.
Think about putting a pet-proof barrier around the tree to stop your pet getting their paws on the decorations!
- Candles can cause burns or may be knocked over by pets, so keep them well out of reach to avoid injury.
- Seasonal plants may make their way into the house at Christmas time. Mistletoe, poinsettia and holly can all cause tummy problems (or worse) so keep these out of the way.
Step 3: Don’t store those presents under the tree!
Presents can contain hidden dangers and wrapping paper doesn’t always stop our sneaky pets from finding out what’s inside! Keep presents hidden away until the last minute, then supervise your pets closely to avoid any unfortunate incidents.
- Some toys have small parts that pets may choke on or swallow, leading to intestinal blockages.
- Batteries contain harmful chemicals which, if eaten, can damage the mouth or stomach and sometimes contain heavy metals which can cause poisoning.
- Ribbon and string used to wrap presents can be fun to play with but can have the same effect as tinsel on the guts if swallowed.
Step 4: Offer your pets a quiet space
Some pets can find parts of the festive celebrations scary, such as fireworks, parties and loud music. Providing a den area for your pet in a quiet room away from all the hustle and bustle can help to keep them calm and relaxed. You can give them some treats, favourite toys and maybe use a calming pheromone product to put them at ease.
If your pet is fearful of fireworks and other noises, consider making an appointment before the festive season to talk about what we can do to help.
Keep these simple steps in mind when planning your celebrations to keep your pets safe this Christmas. And if you need help, remember we’re only a phone call away, for advice, a check-up, or even major surgery if needed!