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Keep Your Pets Safe This Christmas

While us humans are tripping over fairy lights and recovering from too much mulled wine, dogs and cats have their own festive hazards to avoid. From getting tangled in tinsel to over eating (usually thanks to sneaky swiping off the table), vets see all sorts of poorly animals over Christmas.

To make sure your pet has a safe and happy Christmas, take a look at the tips below from the wonderful Dr Holly Mash. 

Lily at Christmas

Good Sense and Frankincense

  • Make a den for your pet so they can escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Put food, water, toys and a bed in a cosy place where they can feel warm and peaceful.
  • Keep up your pet’s regular feeding and exercise routines to keep them feeling calm and content.
  • Be strict about keeping your pet’s food and mealtimes normal.
  • Close kitchen doors and put food away carefully so your pet can’t eat more than you know about.
  • If your dog enjoys regular walks, then do keep these up over the holidays so that they don’t get bored or over excitable with too much excess energy to burn!

Getting a Bad Wrap

  • Watch out for wrapping paper, Christmas tree baubles and string, which can all cause serious problems if swallowed.
  • It’s vital to keep Christmas decorations well out of reach of inquisitive paws and tails.
  • Never give your pets chocolate or leave any presents that contain chocolate under the tree or anywhere that your pet can get to. Chocolate smells really yummy to pets but contains theobromine which can be highly toxic. (Be aware of presents from family and friends and do ask whether they contain chocolate before leaving under the tree!)
Sophie the cat at Christmas

Forbidden Festive Feasting

  • Some of our favourite Christmas goodies like chocolate, grapes and dried fruit found in Christmas cake and pudding are toxic to pets.
  • Don’t use edible decorations on your tree as they will be sniffed out and pulled down.
  • Christmas plants may look pretty but poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, ferns and pine sap are poisonous to cats and dogs.
  • Never offer your pet turkey or chicken bones as they can splinter and cause serious issues for your pet by getting lodged in their digestive system.

Deck the Halls (Carefully)

  • Keep cables from Christmas tree lights out of reach or get a cable guard that your cat or dog can’t chew through.
  • Vacuum regularly to reduce the risk of real or fake pine needles being eaten by your pet.
  • Secure your Christmas tree in its pot so that exuberant dogs and inquisitive cats can’t pull it down.
  • Choose non-toxic decorations that don’t contain any obvious hazardous parts that could be chewed or entangle your pet.

Hosts with the Most

  • If you’re having guests make sure that any young children are supervised when they’re near your pet to avoid injury to either party - children don’t always know how to behave around pets, and vice versa!
  • Make sure all visitors know to close any doors, windows or gates to stop a panicked pet making an accidental escape. And ensure that your pet is microchipped, just in case!

You'd Better Watch Out, You'd Better Beware.... Antifreeze 

Be very careful of antifreeze at this time of year. It contains ethylene glycol which is highly poisonous to pets. Unfortunately, dogs and cats love its sweet flavor.

The toxic effects are rapid and kidney failure is inevitable if the animal is not treated soon after ingesting the substance. Do be vigilant about using anti-freeze and be aware of its use by your neighbours. If you think your cat or dog has swallowed any, go to a vet straight away.

More Useful Winter Tips from Dr Holly Mash

Read more about keeping your cat or dog healthy this winter in our other helpful blogs.