Keeping your pets safe this Christmas
Many of us will be in the midst of unpacking our decorations, buying seasonal foods and many, many treats. Christmas should also be a peaceful time for us all, including our furry companions, but what may be good for us may not be quite the same for them so when those decorations and treats come out, think about whether it is safe for your pets to be around them.
Plants and Flowers
Most of us know lilies are toxic to cats but so are poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and gypsophilia (also known as Baby’s Breath common in bouquets). If these are ingested they can cause fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea. Please keep those beautiful Christmas bouquets out of harm’s way! Mistletoe can also cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems & many varieties of lily can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Poinsettias are classed as mildly toxic and should be kept away from pets as they can cause drooling, licking lips, skin irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness), vomiting and diarrhoea for cats, dogs, birds, rabbits and horses.
Make sure your Christmas tree is securely anchored so if your cat decides to ascend it it will not fall over injuring them or cause damage to your home. Also be mindful to keep all pets away from the water the tree may be standing if it has any added fertiliser. Make sure all the lights are beyond ‘nibbling’ reach to avoid any electric shocks. If you have a real tree, sweep up the fallen needles regularly as these can easily get stuck in your pet’s paws or throat and trim the lower branches to avoid poking accidents.
Tinsel and garlands are not good toys for pets as they can be easily swallowed causing obstructions that can result in an expensive trip to the vet over the Christmas period. A designated pet toy is a much safer alternative.
Never leave candles unattended as a swishy tail or an excitable pet can easily knock them over.
The foods we eat at Christmas are not suitable for pets so don’t offer meat that could contain hidden bones that can splinter and cause blockages. Any coatings that contain additional spices are also a no-no.
So the whole family can enjoy their Christmas meal together, there are lots of special pet foods available at this time of year our pets can enjoy; whether they actually like them or choose to eat them is another matter!
Sweets and chocolates are not intended for animals so they must be kept away from pesky paws and prying noses. Chocolate (especially dark varieties) can be fatal in dogs. If your dog accidently eats some, contact your vet straightaway. Keep all nut and fruit selections out of their way too as they can cause depression, vomiting, pancreatitis, tremors and diarrhoea. The same goes for those festive salted selections so keep them well away as they can cause sickness in pets.
A simple, basic rule to follow is if the food your pets show an interest in a food that cannot be found amongst their day to day food aisle, it isn’t suitable for them and they should not be offered it. Prevention is better than cure! This is especially the case with alcohol, the exotic smells of a liqueur or a spirit can be tempting for dogs so please keep them out of their reach.
Lastly, if you are welcoming house guests over the holiday period; provide a safe quiet corner for your pet to hide away from the noise. Pets are creatures of habit and don’t like their routines disturbed so please remember to give them the attention they deserve – after all, it is their Holiday Season too.