Although Christmas is a happy, cheerful occasion for all the family, it’s also one of the busiest times of year for veterinarians across the world. We all love our Christmas traditions, but they can pose a serious risk to our pets.
At this time of the year especially, we need to be mindful of any harmful foods, toxic plants and decorations that can potentially make our pets sick. By being aware of these five common dangers you’ll keep your pet happy and out of harm’s way over the festive season.
Christmas is a time for indulgence. But you should be careful not to leave any foods lying around that could make your pet ill. Foods such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, salt, products with xylitol and alcohol are common this time of year but are toxic to cats and dogs if eaten.
It may seem like a nice treat for your pet, but you should never feed cooked turkey bones. Or any cooked bones for that matter! These can easily splinter and cause obstructions and lacerations in the throat or intestinal tract.
Avoid giving your pet any leftovers or scraps from the table too. Even foods that are considered reasonably safe for your pet can cause an upset tummy if fed in large quantities. Little pieces throughout the day can amount to a lot, and too much fatty food could lead to pancreatitis.
Many of us like to decorate our homes with festive plants at Christmas, but bear in mind some plants can be toxic to pets. Popular Christmas plants like Poinsettia, Holly, Mistletoe and Cyclamen can cause vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested.
Check out the Dogs Trust for the full list of toxic plants. If you must have these plants in your home at Christmas, just ensure they’re well out of reach.
Various Christmas decorations can be dangerous for cats and dogs. Sparkly tinsel can be irresistible to our pets but can cause an intestinal obstruction if eaten. Curious pets could also become tangled in tree lights or electrocuted if they’re chewed on. Also think wrapping paper, foil and cling film.
Candles are a popular choice this time of year but could burn your pet or cause a fire if left unattended. If you’ve opted for a real tree, pine needles can upset your pet’s stomach and damage their intestines if eaten.
If you’re keen on glass baubles, keep in mind these could smash on the floor if knocked and cut your pet’s paws. Ensure your tree is secure with a sturdy base so it can’t be pulled or knocked over. And if you want to make your tree more pet safe, raise it up on a table or construct a barrier around it.
With guests coming and going, Christmas can be overwhelming for our pets. Raised voices, music, fireworks and crackers can make our pets stressed and anxious. Ensure you give your pet a quiet, comfortable place to relax away from the chaos.
If your pet gets particularly anxious around other people, you can try calming supplements, sprays or diffusers. These calming support supplements offer a natural way to help keep your pet’s anxieties at bay. They’re suitable for both cats and dogs and can be used daily to help soothe and relax your pet.
Presents and Packaging
Gift giving is a major part of Christmas, but wrapping paper, ribbons and plastic packaging can all cause an obstruction if ingested. Silica gel (the small sachet found in many toys, clothes and bags) is highly toxic to pets if eaten.
Batteries are also widespread around Christmas but can cause chemical burns to your pet’s mouth and intestines if punctured. So be sure to clear away gift packaging as you go along to avoid any mishaps or accidents this Christmas.
We hope you and your pets have a safe and jolly holiday. Merry Christmas from the Healthful Pets Team!