Christmas Dangers

Of course, our pets are a huge part of our families so will be central to our Christmas fun – here we’ll share our top tips on how to keep your furbabies safe at Christmas, to ensure you all have a ‘Yappy Holiday!’

  1. Santa Paws…..

You’ll be surrounded by excitement about Santa, especially if you have children (and if you don’t have children and you’re still excited about Santa? Well, we won’t judge you… we are too!). It’s important to remember to be a little careful with those beautifully wrapped presents under the Christmas tree – they look exciting to us, but they are also pretty exciting for your pet!

Things like toys with small parts, edible items, or small batteries can pose a hazard for a pet if they decide to snack or chew on them. Small batteries in particular can be hazardous – they can cause chemical burns, heavy metal poisoning, damage to the oesophagus or cause an obstruction in your pet’s tummy, so it’s important to seek help right away if you think your pet might have swallowed a battery.

  1. He sees you when you’re eating……

Does your dog have the most amazing puppy-dog eyes that can spot you eating your Christmas dinner from a mile away?! Does your cat like a sneaky counter-surf to pinch the leftover turkey?! We’re not the only ones who enjoy all the extra delicious food at Christmas!

Unfortunately, much of our Christmas food can be dangerous to our pets – here are the most important things you need to be aware of:

  • Chocolate. It’s common knowledge that chocolate is toxic to dogs, so ensure that all chocolate products, including wrapped presents, are kept well out of reach of dogs. Theobromine in chocolate is a stimulant and causes seizures and heart abnormalities.
  • Christmas Puddings, Christmas Cake and Mince Pies. These nearly always contain raisins, sultanas, grapes or alcohol.  Raisins, sultanas and grapes can cause acute kidney injuries in pets, and alcohol can be toxic too, so keep these items well away from hungry snouts.
  • Nuts. Macadamia nuts are known to cause vomiting and weakness if ingested by dogs and other nuts can cause choking issues, so take care!
  • Bones. Cooked bones are brittle and splinter easily. This can cause injury to the mouth, or cause the bone to become lodged in the mouth. More seriously, this can cause oesophageal or gastrointestinal piercing or injury. Larger bones, including uncooked ones, can cause gastrointestinal obstructions, so look out for this! It’s also worth keeping an eye on those stringy nets that often surround ham joints – these soak up meat juices when cooked so can seem like a tasty snack to a hungry pet! The risk of a linear foreign body with these is very real, and this often needs a large and complicated operation to fix. So watch those bins, keep an eye on bin raiding pets and keep the Christmas food in places only humans can get to!
  • Other items, like Onions and sweeteners. Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener that can cause blood glucose disturbances in pets, so it’s essential to make sure that no naughty noses accidentally sniff out any sweet treats that contain this product. Onions (and related plants like garlic and chives)have been linked to anaemias, so it’s worth just being careful about feeding table scraps such as Stuffing that may contain them.

If you are concerned that your pet has eaten something that they shouldn’t have at any time, it’s really important to act fast – call us as soon as you notice, and make sure you have as much information about what the pet has eaten as you can. If we need to make your pet sick to remove toxic items from the stomach, we ideally need to do this within about half an hour of the food being eaten

  1. Wreck the halls……

Dog Vs Tinsel

Cat Vs Christmas Tree

We’ve all been there! Pets knocking the tree down, cats pulling the tinsel or playing with the dangly decorations, even dogs cocking their legs on the Christmas lights! It’s important to remember that our festive decorations can pose a risk to pets.

If your tree-climbing cat has a propensity to fell the tree each year, it may be worth investing in a very heavy tree base! Look out for the risk of electrocution from pets becoming tangled in fairy lights… or peeing on them…

Edible tree decorations can pose a risk, as can glass baubles if they get smashed by a vigorously wagging tail or a mountaineering cat.  It’s also worth keeping an eye on your pets’ feet as fallen pine needles can sometimes make their way into hairy pads.

Smaller decorations that are fun to play with could pose a choking or gastrointestinal obstruction risk, so it might be safer to try and keep pets away from trees or decorations as much as you can.

  1. Dachshund through the snow……

Think we’ll have a white Christmas?! Even if it’s not snowing, it’s important to be aware that icy weather might require some caution.

The grit that is put down to help stop us sliding around on the ice is sodium chloride – salt. This can stick to your pet’s paws or undercarriage, or might be ingested if you’ve got one of those dogs that just loves drinking out of puddles.

Whilst a small amount of salt isn’t harmful, it’s possible that a cat licking their feet clean, or a dog drinking a gritty puddle might end up with a bit of a spike in their blood salt levels. This can cause all sorts of problems, from vomiting to kidney damage. The safest thing to do, is to rinse your pets’ feet and tummy off when they come in from outside when it’s icy, and to prevent your pet from drinking out of puddles.

It’s a small risk, but it’s best not to have your Christmas spoiled because of something simple like grit.

Hopefully this has given you some good ideas for keeping everyone safe over the festive period. Let’s keep all those risky items away from our furry friends, and enjoy being able to eat, drink and be merry with our fellow humans again this year.

From all of us, Merry Christmutts & may all your Christmases be furry and bright.

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