The 12 Hazards of Christmas

There are a few things to consider that could cause harm to your pets this Christmas. There are dangers lurking in the festive traditions that can be harmful to our pets. Here are our top twelve festive hazards and how to make sure they are not a problem…

1. Visitors

Many pets find changes to their environment disconcerting, some may be incredibly stressed by the presence of unusual people, especially excitable children.  Give your pet the option to escape somewhere quiet and undisturbed if they want to.

2. Games

Pets can be frightened by games as many games create tension and our pets may not realise it’s for fun and not for real, which can cause them stress. This is another reason to allow them access to somewhere quiet.It’s important if you’re playing virtual reality games or games with handsets to make sure your pets are clear of the area, so they don’t get hit or trodden on by mistake.

3. Change in routine

To help your pets stay calm and safe, keep some of their daily routine and environment the same. Keep mealtimes, walk times or cuddle times similar where possible.  Consider leaving the room where your pet sleeps free from decorations, especially if they sleep unattended and may rummage through decorations while you’re not watching…see hazards 5 and 6…

4. Change in diet

It is best to keep your pets’ diets consistent regardless of the time of year.  Sudden changes in diet can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Whilst it’s nice to give pets a little seasonal treat, it should be just that, little and a treat, not a dramatic change to their usual diet. Be cautious, make sure you are not feeding any treats that are toxic…see hazards 7-10.

Our upcoming blog post will share some festive recipes that are pet-safe and keep well so they don’t have to be fed all at once; so they are ideal if you want to give your pet something edible but not go overboard…keep your eye on our blog in the coming weeks for more information.

5. Stringy things

Ribbon, strings of lights and tinsel are big risks to pets as they are tempting to play with and chew.They can very easily cause serious illness by getting tangled in the gastrointestinal tract. Always supervise your pets around presents and decorations.

6. Other decorations

Baubles are desirable to chase but many are glass so can shatter and cause injury as well as being a choke risk. Wreaths can contain toxic plants and foamy material like oasis. Trees are spiny and can fall, especially if climbed. As we said before, always supervise your pets around decorations to help avoid any issues.

7. Dried grapes

There are raisins, sultanas or currants in lots of our favourite Christmas treats; mince pies, stollen and Christmas cake all contain them. Be careful; grapes and dried grapes can be toxic to pets and it’s not about how many they eat, very few can cause serious illness.

8. Chocolate

A seasonal favourite for many of us but sadly we see cases where toxic levels of chocolate have been consumed by pets every Christmas. It’s an easy mistake to make so here’s a little reminder…**keep your chocolate treats out of reach of your pets and if you’re not sure if presents contain chocolate, don’t put them under the tree**.

9. Alcohol

Alcohol, even in small volumes, can make pets feel sick, be sick and feel dizzy. Many pets will drink it willingly but remember it’s not funny because they don’t know what they’re drinking and how they’re going to feel.

10. Onions and other alliums

This includes leeks, garlic and chives. When eaten, these can cause disruption to red blood cells and can result in anaemia. Do not feed them to your pets – and beware of onion powder in ready meals, stuffing and on crisps.

11. The cold weather

We are currently experiencing some chilly days; this may continue over the Christmas period.Most pets can regulate their temperatures well in our climate but young and old may struggle more.Make sure small furry pets living outside or in unheated outbuildings have plenty of bedding and shelter. Make sure pets sleeping in unheated rooms overnight have enough bedding to stay warm. Older dogs may appreciate jackets, especially if they have joint disease – keeping joints warm can help control symptoms. Older cats similarly will need a warm place to rest…a lap is ideal!

12. Fancy dress

Fancy dress is lots of fun and many pets are happy to wear jumpers or similar – see pour recent Facebook posts - but please don’t force your pet to wear anything if they are reluctant. Also keep safe with fancy dress; costumes can get caught on things, can be chewed, or can rub on skin. Check the fit carefully, never let cats outside free-range wearing any kind of outfit and don’t leave dogs unattended in fancy dress.

We wish you all a safe, healthy and happy Christmas!