As the festive season is finally upon us, it’s time to deck the halls, hoist the tree and wrap the endless amount of stocking fillers in preparation for the big day. With all this excitement, it’s important to remember the safety of our beloved four-legged friends throughout the holiday season.
A combination of selection boxes and fairy light cabling can spell disaster for our pets with potentially life threatening consequences. As tempting as it can be to offer your furry friend some of the abundance of left overs that they so desperately desire, this too, can lead to serious problems.
Top Tips for Pet Safety
One of the most common call outs for vets over the holiday season is for pets with stomach upsets from eating rich Christmas trimmings or items that shouldn’t be eaten at all. Dog owners need to put leftovers and decorations out of reach of inquisitive faces.
Avoid Left-Over Indulgence
Despite our pets best efforts to guilt us into allowing them a taste of Christmas dinner, it is vital to their health that we refrain from indulging them. Particularly problematic foods include:
Chocolate: As a lot of pet owners will already know, chocolate is incredibly toxic to a great deal of animals with potentially fatal consequences.
Turkey/Chicken: Bones from birds in particular are very problematic for our furry friends. This is because the bones are much more brittle and more likely to break causing serious damage during digestion.
Stuffing: Grapes, raisins and onions are popular ingredients in a great deal of readymade stuffings – and the latter two of course form the mainstay of Christmas pud and Christmas cake. These can potentially cause serious health issues such as kidney failure and haemolytic anemia in various animals.
Watch out for unexpected things too – string from roast dinners for example, and remember dogs by their very nature are inquisitive animals and will often have a field day rummaging for tasty titbits in bin bags or on tables in unoccupied kitchens. Some vets will recommend a ‘baby gate’ across the kitchen door to stop access, which can have a double plus of offering a safe refuge for a dog from visiting family members. But remember this will offer no obstacle for your cat!
You might have seen the discussion about a festive TV advert where a dog ends up being passed the Christmas pud as the children don’t want it – the British Veterinary Association has issued a statement from the veterinary profession which reinforces advice to resist giving our four legged family members things which we may – or may not – regard as treats ourselves.
Double Up Decoration Precautions
Whether you plan to douse the house in Christmas cheer or simply add a few sprinkles of discrete decoration, remember to take extra precautions to avoid injuries and accidents. Any cabling should be kept concealed as much as possible, whilst glass or plastic ornaments should be placed high on every Christmas tree – and chocolate decorations may be best avoided.
As much as your furry bundle of joy would love to be entertained by hours of playing with tinsel, this popular decoration can actually cause severe damage in the intestinal tract, requiring immediate medical attention. If your pet swallows these items it can lead to an upset stomach at the very least and can cause severe damage and require surgical removal. Cats in particular may see the tree as a climbing challenge – and pets can see (or smell) beyond the wrapping paper and have no respect for waiting till Christmas day before opening gifts. The traditional ‘under the tree’ is not the best place for a household with a pet! Also, don’t let your pet drink from the water at the base of the tree as it could contain toxic chemicals. House plants and flowers can also be very poisonous, so keep these out of reach and sight of your pet too.
The most important thing to remember is use common sense when decorating the home and consider any potential dangers that may face your pet, causing serious health repercussions. Your four-legged friend can enjoy the Christmas period just as much as us humans, so don’t forget them when preparing for the holidays!