Tips to keep pets safe during Christmas

The festive season is an exciting time and one that many pet owners love to share with their four-legged friends.

However, Christmas can also bring some challenges for many pet owners with many hazards around the home and during the big day itself. To help pet owners during the festive season, we share some tips to keep pets safe.

Christmas visitors

Christmas can be a busy time at home, with friends and family visiting. For some pets this can be stressful due to new faces and sounds. To help pets, provide them with a safe space or room that they can escape too if they become anxious. Leave your pet to come and go as they please but be sure to check on them every now and then. Make your visitors aware so they don’t leave doors open resulting in your pet escaping.

Decorations

Keep wires from the Christmas tree lights and any festive decorations away from your pet to prevent them from being chewed. Make sure all decorations, including ones on the tree are well out of reach. Consider using non-toxic and unbreakable decorations to prevent them getting stuck in paws or swallowed.

Tinsel can be dangerous to your pet if swallowed. Keep it out of reach on the tree or around your home. If swallowed it can wrap around the base of their tongue or cause choking, vomiting and intestinal obstruction.

Chocolate

It may be tempting to treat pets at Christmas but don’t give your dog chocolate as it contains theobromine, which is poisonous. If you have sweet treats like chocolate decorations hanging on the tree, be sure to keep them out of reach, as they will be able to sniff them out.

Buying treats made specially for your pet means you’ll be able to give them a treat this Christmas, while reducing the risk of stomach problems.

Rich food

Don’t feed your pet rich turkey dinners that we like to enjoy over Christmas. High fat, festive foods could irritate your pet’s digestive system and can make them poorly. Certain foods that are popular at this time of year are poisonous to dogs, such as raisins, used for making Christmas cake, nuts, onions and mince pies. Keep these out of reach from your dog to prevent a festive trip to the vets.

Festive plants

Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants, which are popular during the festive season can be poisonous to pets. The toxicity can depend on how much of the plant is consumed, so try to limit the amount of these around the house at Christmas and display out of reach.

Christmas trees can also be troublesome for pets. The oils in fir Christmas trees can be mildly toxic to pets and could cause upset tummies. Regularly sweep up any loose pine needles that drop into the floor as these could get stuck in your pet’s paws or throat.

Christmas wrapping

When wrapping presents, keep wrapping paper and decorations such as bows or ribbon out of reach of curious pets. They can be easily chewed and swallowed which could cause problems for your pet.

Routines

Stick to your pet’s routine as much as possible during the festive period. Christmas can be a busy time but keeping your pet’s usual feeding times and exercise routine can help to reduce any stress they may feel. Disturbed routines can cause anxiety in pets.

Antifreeze

At this time of year, when the weather turns wintry, antifreeze is commonly used in cars. The sweet smell can be alluring for cats and dogs, but it’s hugely toxic and if swallowed can be fatal. If you are using it, be careful not to spill any on the ground and keep all bottles out of reach of your four-legged friends.

Fireworks

These can be a common occurrence during Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. Loud bangs can cause stress and anxiety for many pets, prepare in advance if you know your dog or cat will become anxious. Read our firework tips here.

Cold weather

During the Christmas period, the weather can be colder, make sure your pet keeps warm. Use warm bedding in the house and coats for dogs can also be used during walks. Be sure to keep up exercise routines with your dog, although the weather might not be as nice and cold, it’s still important to ensure your dog gets some exercise – even if it’s a shorter walk.

If you are worried about your pet at this time of year, contact your vet right away, as they are best placed to offer advice and treatment.