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Christmas Pet Care Tips

8th Dec 2021

If you are concerned about your pet in any way over the festive period, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We’ve put together a list of tips which will help you keep your pets safe and happy this Christmas.

Tip #1

Chocolate contains theobromine (a compound poisonous to dogs). How dangerous chocolate is depends on the type and amount eaten and the size and health of your dog. If your dog has eaten chocolate, the best course of action is to contact your vet as soon as possible for advice.

Tip #2

During any celebration it is sensible to ensure our pets have a safe place in which they can hide. Examples include allowing cats to hide under a bed or for dogs, creating a den by placing a blanket over their crate. The main thing is to ensure that pets have a quiet place they can take themselves off to, which allows them to feel secure and where they won’t be disturbed.

Tip #3

Be cautious about sharing Christmas food. Turkey bones can potentially cause blockages and damage to your pet’s digestive tract. High fat foods such as pigs in blankets can sometimes cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and onions (as part of the allium family of plants) are toxic to cats and dogs. Alcohol is also toxic, so spills and left-over drinks should be cleaned away and safely disposed of. If in doubt, the safest option is to feed pet safe treats instead!

Tip #4

Keep your Christmas candles covered! Any flames should be on a stable surface and well out of reach of pets to avoid the risk of burns or accidental fire.

Tip #5

Although Christmas decorations help to set the scene, certain decorations may pose a risk to our pets. For example, stringy decorations such as tinsel and decorative string can cause digestive blockages if eaten and glass baubles may cut paws if smashed. Christmas trees may resemble an exciting climbing frame to adventurous cats, so consider tethering them! Keep inquisitive pets safe by supervising them and keeping them away from potential dangers.

Tip #6

Ethylene glycol found in antifreeze is poisonous to cats and dogs and can be fatal if left untreated, so as a pet owner it is important to be aware of this as the weather gets colder. Signs of antifreeze poisoning are vomiting, drooling, seeming drunk, having seizures, and drinking and weeing more. If you are worried that your pet is unwell or may have ingested antifreeze contact your veterinary team as soon as possible for advice.

Tip #7

Did you know that certain Christmas plants can make your pets unwell if eaten? Keep poinsettia, ivy, holly and mistletoe out of reach to avoid stomach upsets. Also discourage pets from chewing on the Christmas tree as this too can cause digestive issues and sharp pine needles may cause irritation and damage. If your eats something they shouldn’t, or develops vomiting or diarrhoea, then contact your veterinary practice for further support.

Tip #8

Grapes and their dried varieties are common at Christmas but toxic to dogs. The dried varieties of these fruits are often found in mince pies, Christmas pudding, stollen and fruit and nut mix, so keep all these treats out of reach! If your dog does accidentally eat something containing these foods, call you veterinary practice as soon as possible for advice.

Tip #9

As the weather gets colder paths and roads are commonly gritted to melt the ice. However, this grit can sometimes irritate dogs’ paws causing mild to, in some cases, more severe discomfort. It’s sensible to avoid heavily gritted areas where possible and thoroughly wipe your dog’s paws after walks or give their feet a quick rinse if needed. If your dog is distressed after a walk or seems to be in pain, contact your veterinary practice for further advice.

Tip #10

If you are entertaining guests this Christmas, there are likely to be more people going in and out of your home. Take care to ensure your guests know how to interact with your pets and that pets have somewhere quiet to go if they need time alone. Having pets microchipped brings peace of mind that they can be traced back to you if they are accidentally let out or escape.

Tip #11

Fireworks can be very scary for our pets. It’s sensible to keep cats and dogs inside after dark and close windows and curtains. Where possible keep the lights on and create some background noise by playing music or having the television on. Pets will often benefit from having a safe place to hide and stressed pets should not be left home alone. Speak to your veterinary team if you are worried about managing your pet’s firework stress.

Tip #12

With the excitement of Christmas morning, it’s not uncommon for children’s gifts to end up strewn about. However, toys with small removable parts and items such as batteries may pose a real risk to your pets if eaten. Take care to supervise pets and remove temptation clearing up and moving gifts from the floor. If items are accidentally eaten, please contact your veterinary practice for further advice.