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12 hazards of Christmas for your pets

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

“So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun!” at least we hope they are!  Christmas can be lots of fun for pets but it can also be frightening, and with Christmas decorations, chocolates and gifts around the house, it’s often fraught with hazards.

As vets, we often need to treat the after effects of accidents and well-intended treats over Christmas.  Many of these could have been avoided so this year we’ve put together the 12 hazards of Christmas for your pets to help you all to have a very happy Christmas.   

1st Hazard of Christmas 

“Now bring us some figgy pudding” - the holiday season always involves a lot of indulgence with food, but remember that not all of our Christmas treats are suitable for pets to share. Foods that are poisonous to pets include: chocolate, sweets (or anything containing xylitol), Christmas pudding or fruit cake, mince pies, garlic and onions.

2nd Hazard of Christmas

“Rockin’ around the Christmas tree” – make sure your Christmas tree is properly secured so that it doesn't fall over if your pet decides to play with a decoration of even climb the tree! If you choose to have a real Christmas tree, try to avoid pine needles being left on the floor so your pet can’t get them stuck in its paw, or possibly swallow one.

3rd Hazard of Christmas

“Those Christmas lights keep shining on” – don’t leave burning candles unattended around your pets - they can be easily knocked over and cause a fire, or a curious cat could singe its whiskers. Also, make sure all Christmas lights and wires are out of reach to avoid any deadly electric shocks.

4th Hazard of Christmas

“Deck the halls” shiny tinsel is almost irresistible to a trouble-making kitty! As much fun as it is to watch them playing with it, make sure that your pet doesn’t swallow any part of it or get tangled up in any way. Also, avoid low hanging decorations or fragile tree ornaments that could be easily ‘stolen’ and broken. Smashed or broken tree ornaments are a high risk to a pet, so clear up any broken bits as soon as you find them.

5th Hazard of Christmas

“Santa Claus is coming to town” – the amount of time and money we spend buying Christmas presents for friends and family can be ruined in an instant by a nosey pet investigating the gifts under the tree! Not only is it very annoying to find them all unwrapped or destroyed, there is every possibility they could eat something they shouldn’t.

6th Hazard of Christmas

“Would you share with me Christmas dinner?” – most of us are guilty of giving our pets leftovers after dinner, but please remember that the rich fatty foods of a Christmas dinner can cause tummy upsets, vomiting or promote pancreatitis. And of course, make sure pets do not get hold of the turkey carcass as bones can splinter, which can puncture internal organs.

7th Hazard of Christmas

“Mistletoe and wine” – a tipple at Christmas is expected during the celebrations, however remember that alcohol is toxic to animals, so be sure to keep your beverages out of reach!

8th Hazard of Christmas

“The holly and the ivy” festive plants such as holly, ivy and mistletoe are toxic to pets; so if you do decorate your house with these plants, make sure they’re safely out of harm’s way and can’t be eaten or chewed.

9th Hazard of Christmas

“Time for toys and time for cheer” – do you buy your pet a present for Christmas? If buying pet friendly stocking fillers, make sure the toys you buy are from a reputable pet store or veterinary practice and won’t break apart easily or be eaten. Nobody likes a foreign body removal on Christmas Day!

10th Hazard of Christmas

“There’ll be a party for hosting” – with Christmas parties and all the family around on Christmas Day, it’s easy to forget how stressful it can be for our pets. Party poppers, loud voices and just the general amount of running around required to host the festivities can be quite worrying for nervous pets. To help calm them down, provide a safe place for them to hide away or plug in a pheromone diffuser.

11th Hazard of Christmas

“Lonely this Christmas” – if you’re spending Christmas at someone else’s house and are not able to take your pet with you, try not to leave them home alone for long periods of time, and provide enough food and fresh water to keep them going until you return. If you have guests with you for Christmas, make sure they don’t leave doors open or create any risk of your pet escaping.

12th Hazard of Christmas

“Baby it’s cold outside” – although it’s unlikely we’ll be getting a ‘White Christmas’ here in the UK, we can still have very cold weather. So keep an eye out for cats hiding under cars. If using antifreeze, make sure it’s kept well away from animals and clear up any spillages. Finally, don’t forget your small furries or outside pets - they need to be kept warm too.

If you are worried about your pet in any way over the Christmas period, please contact your local branch for advice or to book an appointment.

From all of us at Highcroft Veterinary Group, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!


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