Tis the Season..
...to keep your pet safe this Christmas
Just as night follows day, Christmas selection boxes appear on supermarket shelves the day after Halloween!
While it’s a few weeks until the arrival of the man in the red suit, it’s worth bearing some things in mind when it comes to your pets - especially inquisitive puppies and curious kittens!
Some of the most common Christmas items may appear harmless but can pose serious dangers to your pet. This year, it’s not just Santa creating a list - we’ve put together some tips to keep your pet safe this Christmas.
Christmas Trees and decorations
Whether you have a real or artificial tree, these can pose a risk to pets who decide to climb the tree. They can easily get tangled in the branches and fairy lights. As for decorations - these can cause a choking hazard for your pet or intestinal damage if it passes through their system. It’s also worth noting that while pine needles from the trees are not poisonous, they can cause stomach upsets.
If you have a fresh Christmas tree and it sits in water, you should consider blocking access to it. The water used to keep a real tree fresh can be a health hazard for dogs and cats; it may contain bacteria, mould, or fertiliser and other chemicals that can be toxic to your pet. Make sure the tree water is covered and inaccessible.
Chocolate decorations should also be avoided as they can be poisonous if ingested by dogs. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, higher heart rate and laboured breathing.
Christmas lights are wonderful at this time of the year, but keep wires out of reach from naughty nibblers. Chewed wires can pose a risk of causing a fire - especially when they are on the tree.
Snow globes can contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze). Even small quantities of antifreeze can be fatal for a cat or dog, depending on their size. Immediate treatment is vital. Even if symptoms seem to improve, internal damage can be getting worse, causing acute kidney failure. Do not wait to seek help if a pet consumes liquid from a snow globe or any other source of antifreeze.
Flowers, Plants and Wreaths
In addition to trees, our table decorations will often include a garland made with holly and ivy, and many of us like a poinsettia. Be aware that these can cause stomach upset if ingested, so keep your pet away from them. If you’re fond of lilies, be careful that it can cause stomach upset in dogs but kidney failure in cats.
Festive Food and Drinks
We don’t know about you, but we’re known to overindulge at Christmas time….just a little! If you end up with leftovers after Christmas dinner, don’t be tempted to just hand it over to your pet - no matter how cute and hungry they pretend to be! Many Christmas recipes feature a lot of onions, leeks, shallots and chives, from your granny’s gravy recipe to your auntie’s special turkey stuffing! These are toxic and can end up making your pet very ill.
While the smell of your Christmas dinner may delight your pet, the reality is that the level of fatty items on the plates are just too much for your pets’ delicate gut to manage. If you do want to share your plate, consider plain turkey or vegetables. If you have potatoes, avoid sharing the heavily salted roast potatoes as they have most likely been cooked in duck fat or similar.
If you are tempted to share the turkey carcass, don’t. While they are non-toxic, cooked carcasses are brittle and have a high chance of splintering and getting stuck in your pet’s intestines, creating havoc. Why not make up a bone broth for your dog with the carcass instead. It’s full of healthy nutrients and just as tasty!
When it comes to dessert, we never say no, except when it comes to our pets! Desserts such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake contain fruits including currants, sultanas and raisins. These can cause serious health issues for cats and dogs - including kidney damage - even in small quantities. As little as three raisins can be fatal to a 1kg puppy. 12 grapes could potentially kill a 5kg dog.
Foods that contain artificial sweeteners, including xylitol should be avoided at all costs. This includes chewing gum and sugar sachets that might be left on counter tops.
Crisps and snacks are refined carbohydrates, high in glucose and usually contain lots of salt. So keep them out of reach.
Tinfoil is not a food. But try telling that to a pet who knows that lies inside of the shiny packaging! Plenty of dogs have eaten their way through some aluminium foil to get to the delicious contents lurking inside. This is usually not a big deal and most dogs will just poop it out and be no worse for the wear.
However, if they eat a lot of it, it can cause intestinal obstruction, and in rare cases it may cause aluminium toxicity. Try to assess how much your dog has eaten, and then monitor your pup for the next 24 hours and check his poop to make sure most of it has come out. If your dog starts behaving oddly, with any tremors or loss of balance, then seek veterinary assistance.
Just consider this - showing your pet love and affection this Christmas is more about keeping them safe and healthy… and this means denying them things that they might think they want!
We would recommend having our Holistic Hound Tummies on hand should your dog get hold of anything it shouldn’t, or maybe has a few too many treats or turkey dinners! This will help to quickly soothe and heal any tummy upsets and re-establish their good bacteria.