It’s that time of the year again! The silly season is here and it’s time to celebrate. And what kind of celebration would it be without our beloved furry friends?
We humans just love including our pets in Christmas activities, and while it’s normal for us to indulge a little more around this time of the year, spoiling our pets can be harmful to their health. Here are some handy hints to make sure your pets stay safe this festive season.
We’re probably all guilty of over-indulging during the holidays (and sneaking a few treats here and there to our pets too). Unfortunately certain foods can be very harmful for your pets.
- While plain meats can make good treats, marinade, sauces, gravies, and certain spices all contain potentially toxic ingredients and should be avoided.
- It’s true that chewing on bones is often recommended for good dental hygiene, but this applies only to the raw, meaty variety. Cooked bones should be avoided at all costs, as they can easily splinter and cause damage to your pet’s throat and stomach, and could potentially cause an intestinal impaction (blockage).
- Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is extremely toxic to animals. If you intend to indulge your sweet tooth this season, keep any sweet treats out of reach of your pets.
- Corn itself is safe for animals to eat, but never give them the cob – these easily become stuck in the stomach or intestinal tract, causing extreme pain and can often lead to death if not surgically removed in time.
- Treating your pets with leftovers and fatty tidbits (e.g. roast meats or anything else they wouldn’t normally get in their diet) can lead to severe inflammation of the pancreas, called “pancreatitis”. This is a serious, potentially life threatening illness.
Sparkling lights and hanging decorations are a feature of most households at this time of year. And while they make our houses shine and get us in the spirit, they can also pose a risk to our pets.
- Keep hanging or sharp/pointy decorations, such as tinsel and ornaments to the top of your tree. If ingested, tinsel can block and/or constrict intestines and cause major damage to your pet.
- Christmas lights may add that extra something to your tree, but make sure the electrical wires are well hidden and you pets can’t get to them – chewing cords can lead to electrocution. Again, placing them higher on the tree is recommended.
- Make sure your Christmas tree is stable. Many injuries occur because adventurous animals (mostly cats) like to climb in the branches, causing the tree to fall.
- Consider placing your Christmas tree in a corner where you could fence it off, or raise it on a platform to remove the temptation to climb/play in and around it.
- Gifts placed under the tree can be all too much for some! Elevate presents out of reach from mischievous paws to avoid any presents being opened early (especially the edible kind).
Spending time with our loved ones is the best part of the holidays. But unfamiliar people can cause distress for your pet.
- Being aware of how your cat or dog is feeling around unknown people or animals is important. If they seem distressed, move them to a quiet place for some alone time.
- Consider walking your dog before your guests arrive. This will mean they will be ready for a snooze, away from all the action!
- Be conscious of how much noise you and your guests are making. Loud music and raised voices often lead to distress and anxiety in animals, so please keep note of their body language and be considerate of their mental health.
Pet Doctor would like to wish you and your pets a happy and safe Christmas.