Christmas is a fun time of year, filled with celebrations, good food, family, friends and presents. However, it can be a dangerous time for pets! Read these tips on how to make sure your pets have a safe Christmas.
It’s the time of year to decorate our houses and put up the tree, but did you know they can pose a danger to our pets? Place your tree in the corner of the room and keep the decorations on the tree up high. That sparkly tinsel can be intriguing for pets, but if ingested, it can cause blockages. Don’t put the lights on the lower branches as they could get tangled or burnt and only have the lights on when you are around to keep an eye on things. Use a circuit breaker on the lights to prevent any electric shocks. Keep baubles and ornaments up high on the tree because as well as being ingested, they could also get broken and cut your pet. Avoid hanging chocolate treats as your dog could mistake them for a treat for them. If you do have a live tree, sweep up the pine needles as these can become embedded in your pets paws or puncture their intestines if eaten. Ensure your tree is placed in a solid base to stop it falling over if your cat tries to investigate. It’s a good idea to keep your pets out of the room where the tree is when you are not around to supervise.
Be careful with new plants
Holly (both the leaves and berries), poinsettia plants and mistletoe are poisonous. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive drooling and abdominal pain. Lillies are dangerous to cats, and the cat doesn’t even need to eat it to be affected. Pollen can fall on your cat as she walks past, and when she grooms herself, it will be ingested and this can be fatal. It’s best not to have these plants in the house, but if you do, keep them well out of the way of your pets reach.
Keep your pets away when wrapping up presents. Ribbons, string, sellotape and wrapping paper are all dangerous if ingested. Scissors can also pose a hazard if left out too, so make sure you put them away when you are finished. Keep the presents hidden away, and only let St Nick put them out on Christmas morning to stop Fido unwrapping them for you!
Festive food can be dangerous
It’s the time of year to indulge in food, but be careful with what your pets eat. Raisins, sultanas, grapes, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, chocolate and alcohol are all a big no-no for pets! Explain to children why they shouldn’t share their Christmas treats with the pets. If you want your dog to share the feast, give them safe food like turkey and vegetables. There is nothing wrong with treating your dog at Christmas, just make sure it is doggy friendly.
Of course, your dog will still need a walk even if Jack Frost is knocking at the door. Avoid walking through thick frost and watch out for grit as this can cause contact dermatitis on their paws. Wipe or wash their paws when you get home. The nights are getting darker, so make sure your dog is visible when he is out by wearing something with high visibility, such as a coat or collar so he can be seen.
Lots of people have warm fires burning on cold winter nights. Make sure you have a fire guard to stop pets getting too close and discourage them from playing near the fire. A wagging tail can get burnt too! Even when the fire is not in use, ash and pebbles can be dangerous, so it’s best to have it gated off at all times.
Check their microchip details
With lots of people visiting you during Christmas, it’s the ideal time to check your pets microchip details are up to date. Doors may be left open with visitors arriving, and if the worst should happen and your pet takes a wander, you want the best chance of getting them back, so check those details today. A microchip is useless if your details are out of date. Make sure your pet has a securely fitting collar with an ID tag with your details on too.
It’s that time again for fireworks! Read my other blog on how to keep your pet safe during fireworks night.
Stick to your normal routine
Pets can get confused if their routine is changed. Check my other post on how to keep your dog happy and stress-free.
Give your pet a quiet place to go
Whilst most of us love family and friends visiting, some pets may find it a bit overwhelming if they aren’t used to lots of visitors. Dedicate a quiet room with their bed and favourite toys so should they feel like the celebrations are a bit too much, they will have somewhere to go. Make sure they get used to the room a few weeks before guests arrive so they can associate it with a quiet, safe area. Ask your guests not to disturb your pet should they need some time to relax on their own.
I wish you and your pets a very Merry Christmas!