Christmas Pet Hazards to Avoid

 

Many common features of our festive celebrations can pose hazards for our pets, and with the many distractions at this time of year it can be easy for dogs to help themselves to inappropriate foods, or for inquisitive cats to get into dangerous situations. Here’s our advice to help ensure your pets have a safe, happy Christmas.

9 CHRISTMAS FOOD DANGERS

Food plays a large part in our Christmas celebrations, but unfortunately many of the foods that feature during the season are hazardous, and in some cases poisonous, for pets. It’s always best to stick to their regular diet and keep foods and treats out of reach of little paws so they can’t help themselves. 

The top 9 foods to keep out of reach of pets at Christmas are:

1. Chocolate

It’s not just open boxes to be wary of. Dogs will soon sniff out a chocolate decoration or wrapped chocolates under the tree, or an unguarded box of chocolate biscuits.

Contact us urgently if you think your dog has eaten chocolate.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol can cause an array of serious health problems, the most common symptoms being vomiting, depression, visible dizziness and breathing difficulties. Make sure filled glasses are kept out of reach.

3. Raisins and Grapes

These are highly toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure if they’re eaten, even a just one raisin can be highly toxic in sensitive animals.

Keep Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, fruitcakes and sweet mince pies well out of paws’ reach.

4. Onions and Garlic

These ingredients are known to cause stomach and red blood cell damage to pets. Be careful while you cook: it’s worth keeping your pets out of the kitchen in case you drop anything. Be sure to have a good clean up (especially of the floor) before letting them come back in. 

5. Macadamia and Other Nuts

Certain types of nuts, macadamia nuts in particular, can cause our pets to suffer vomiting, depression and hyperthermia if they eat them. 

6. Xylitol - artificial sweetener

Xylitol is found in most sugar-free treats such as chewing gum, sweets and some types of peanut butter. It can also be used in toothpaste/mouthwash and in certain baked goods. If your pet ingests any such product, they’re at risk of vomiting, general discomfort, seizures and even death. Seek urgent veterinary advice.

7. Fatty Foods

Although it's tempting to feed pets the leftovers it's not good for their digestion, and a pet with an upset stomach is the last thing you'll want as you sit back to relax after your Christmas dinner.  It’s worth steering clear of turkey skin and sausages. When eaten in large quantities fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis and obesity.

8. Cooked Bones

You should avoid giving cooked bones to your dog because they are known to split, sometimes scratching or getting lodged into the throat, sometimes causing slab fractures of their teeth.

Raw bones, which can also cause salmonella, are equally dangerous. 

9. Blue Cheese

The Christmas cheeseboard might look harmless but cheese contains enzymes that dogs have difficulty breaking down. Blue cheeses are particularly dangerous as many contain roquefortine C, which dogs are especially sensitive to. This can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and tremors, twitching, seizures and high temperature if eaten in large doses.

Seek emergency veterinary advice if you think your dog has eaten blue cheese.

HOME HAZARDS AT CHRISTMAS

With the decorations up and the fairy lights switched on, it begins to look a lot like Christmas. But the sparkle of the lights and baubles hides a minefield of hazards for our furry friends.

1. Fairy Lights

Keep curious pets away from lights. As an extra precaution opt for low voltage lights in case your pet is tempted to chew them, and try to avoid flashing lights that can be scary for pets. 

Call us urgently if your pet has an electric shock.

2. Batteries

Keep batteries away from dogs.. Batteries pose a major health risk for dogs if ingested.  If pierced they can cause chemical burns or poisoning, and if swallowed whole can cause blockages. If you suspect your pet has chewed a battery contact us urgently.

3. Pine Needles

Look out for pesky needles. Vacuum daily to ensure any dropped needles don't become embedded in little paws. Trees should be kept well-watered to help avoid dropping needles, and cover the water at the bottom of the tree to prevent pets from drinking it.

Position trees in a corner or secure to the wall so that excited pets can't knock them over.

4. Decorations

Supervise pets around decorations. Cats often mistake sparkly decorations for toys. Always ensure that they're not small enough to swallow as they area choking hazard, nor long and sting-like, such as tinsel. 

If pets swallow decorations they can be very difficult to spot; can cause blockages, irritation or perforation and often require urgent surgery

5. Festive Plants

Some are poisonous for pets, and lilies can even prove fatal for cats.  Seek veterinary advice immediately if your pet has had contact with:

  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettias
  • Holly
  • Amaryllis
  • Lilies

Remember to pick up berries and lily stamens.

WHEN IT ALL GETS TOO MUCH !

Loud parties, excited children, a houseful of guests, and even just a change in routine, can all be stressful for pets. Signs that it is all getting too much for them include:

  • Excessive vocalisation
  • Pacing
  • Hiding or running off
  • Fouling indoors

Follow our 3 tips to help them cope.

  1. Try to keep to their normal meal and walk times to help reduce stress. Giving dogs an extra walk before guests arrive will help to reduce their energy and anxiety levels..
  2. Ensure they have a safe, quiet place to retreat to with a toy or treat if it all gets too much.
  3. If your pets tends to get particularly stressed ask us about products that can help. 'Vetpro Stress & Anxiety' naturally calms anxious pets, aids relaxation and reduces unwanted or unruly behaviour.