Christmas and the Yuletide season is an exciting time of year for everyone celebrating it, including their pets. Sadly, you'll also find dangers that can put your pets at risk of sickness or injury during the festivities. By knowing these dangers, you can help keep your pets safe and healthy.
Real or fake, Christmas trees pose a risk for pets, especially the inquisitive ones. Cats are notorious for climbing trees, which can easily fall and injure or trap them. Dogs may also become nosy and investigate the newly acquired tree, making it topple over. When erecting your Christmas tree, make sure it is fastened at the base and weighed down so it won't fall and hurt your pets.
As well as the tree, decorations adorning the branches can pose a risk to animals. Tinsel and baubles often look like fun toys, but they can cause serious damage if eaten. Baubles, especially those constructed of glass or metal, can break or shatter and cause injuries. Small shards are easy to miss and can become infected if left in cuts or scrapes, causing the pet extreme pain and discomfort.
Fairy lights also present a hazard as pets can chew the electric cables, especially rodents like rabbits and rats. Young puppies and kittens are also fond of chewing anything they can. Make sure all cables are securely fastened and tucked away. Investing in some chew-deterrent to spray on unconcealed areas is also a good idea.
Plants are sold in abundance around this time of year. Typical purchases include holly, ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia, all of which are extremely poisonous to animals. Eating them can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, seizures, coma and death. If you can't resist buying seasonal plants, put them up high where animals can't reach them.
While feeding your dog or cat the leftovers is tempting, doing so can cause severe stomach upsets. If they don't usually eat rich foods, pets can experience vomiting and diarrhea, or an even worse condition called "bloat," which is often fatal. They're also at risk from small bones which can cause choking, constipation and blockages.
However, you can still make your pet a special dinner. Many pet stores sell Christmas-themed meals suitable for pets, including doggy mince pies and kitty turkey dinners.
Spare a thought for your pets when you rip open your presents and toss packaging around the room. Paper, card and plastic can all be seen as toys, but can cause serious problems for their digestive tracts if your pets swallow them.
Further problems with gifts include the items themselves. Toys can be a choking hazard if they have tiny buttons or plastic parts, and the fluffy innards of cuddly toys can be toxic to pets. Make sure any wrapping goes straight into a bag and toys for humans are stored out of the reach of animals.
Chocolate is a delicious treat enjoyed by millions, especially at Christmas. Unfortunately, countless people don't realize chocolate is poisonous to some animals, especially dogs. While some dogs can eat an enormous amount before becoming ill, a small piece can be fatal to others. Avoid giving any chocolate to pets, but instead buy pet-friendly chocolates formulated especially for them.
Many chemicals that are toxic to animals are used during the winter. Antifreeze from your car radiator can easily drip into puddles that are dangerous even when animals don't drink from them. Walking through a chemical puddle or under the drips can contaminate their fur, which they then lick, ingesting the antifreeze and causing serious health problems. Make sure you keep all chemicals in locked sheds and your cars are checked regularly for leaks.
Other chemicals used during the holiday season include cleaners and detergents. Keep them in a cupboard your pets can't access so they don't accidentally consume them.
Remember, veterinary clinics may not be accessible during the Christmas period, but they'll have emergency staff on call. If any emergencies or accidents arise, contact your vet immediately for advice and treatment. And now that we've covered all that potentially scary stuff, be sure to have some fun with your pets this holiday season. A great place to start is our awesome selection of holiday themed dog collars, leads, outfits, and tags here