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Tips for having a happy and healthy Christmas with your pet


Christmas is a time for family, food and fun.

However, with a 40% increase in emergency calls to Vets at Christmas, it appears many owners aren’t aware of the dangers the festive season can bring.

We’ve produced this handy blog to make sure that you, your pet and your whole family have a happy and healthy Christmas.

Don’t share your Christmas treats!

5.5 million pet owners unknowingly feed their pets harmful food at Christmas.

Foods which pose the most risk to your pet include:

  • Chocolate – this is poisonous to dogs and cats. If you have chocolate decorations on your tree, be sure to keep these out of reach of pets. More information on the danger of chocolate can be found here.
  • Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies – these all contain currants and raisins which are highly dangerous for dogs. Eating just one or two raisins or grapes can lead to poisoning.
  • Bones – it can be tempting to treat your dog to a turkey bone. However, bones, especially when cooked are brittle and splinter easily. These splinters can become stuck in the stomach or intestine and lead to perforation of the bowel.
  • Nuts – as well as providing a choking hazard to pets, macadamia nuts are very dangerous to dogs and can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia.
  • Onions – these can be toxic to both cats and dogs, causing stomach irritation and anaemia. That little bit of gravy might be more harmful than you think!
  • AlcoholAlcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, tremors and even death.

How to reduce these risks:

  • Stick to pet appropriate food and treats.
  • Keep food and alcohol out of reach of pets.
  • Clear food straight after eating.
  • Put food in the outside bin as soon as possible to prevent “scavenging”.

If your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t, keep the wrapper where possible and call your vets immediately.

Be aware of decoration-related dangers

These include:

  • Christmas Trees – pine needles can cause cuts and stomach aches.
  • Poinsetta and mistletoes – both are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Baubles – They look like toys to pets – they are likely to want to play with them and even chew or swallow them, causing a potential choking hazard or blockage.
  • Tinsel, string, and ribbons – these can fun to play with, especially for cats. However they are a choking hazard and can cause serious intestinal blockage.

How to reduce these risks:

  • Consider an artificial tree for your home.
  • If you choose a real tree, hoover needle dropping regularly.
  • Keep any plants to a minimum and out of reach of pets.
  • Keep baubles, tinsel etc out of reach of pets.

Be careful with presents

Dangers associated with presents include:

  • Children’s toys: these may be chewed and parts swallowed.
  • Batteries: ingestion of batteries is more common at Christmas and can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning.
  • Wrapping paper: ingestion of higher volumes of paper may cause an obstruction in the stomach

How to reduce these risks:

  • Monitor the opening of gifts.
  • Gather and throw away wrapping paper immediately after gifts have been opened.
  • Never leave batteries lying around.
  • Keep even wrapped presents out of reach of pets, particularly if you suspect they might be edible!



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