Fulham veterinary nurse Rosie Martin, talks to PetsPyjamas about keeping your pet safe this Christmas; it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is a time for celebration, for family and friends to come together and for our pets to be well and truly spoilt. Here are my top tips for making sure your pet stays happy, healthy and safe this festive season.
1. Deck the halls with boughs of holly:
Christmas decorations may seem like fun toys for your dog or cat, but they can cause injury especially if eaten. Glass baubles and holly can cause cuts, while small decorations can be swallowed and cause foreign body blockages in the intestines. Cats especially like playing with tinsel and are at risk of intestinal blockage. Make sure that you keep decorations out of your pet’s reach at all times.
2. The candles shine so brightly:
Use a circuit breaker for all Christmas lights, especially those that trail behind the Christmas tree, to prevent your pet getting an electric shock while investigating your bright, festive lights.
3. Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie:
Want to give your pet his own Christmas dinner this year? Avoid toxic foods such as onions, garlic (or foods which have been cooked in or contain onion and garlic), raisins, sultanas, dates and grapes, chocolate and alcohol. Also avoid fatty foods such as potatoes cooked in goose fat or butter as these can cause pancreatitis. If you want to make a special pet dinner, the ideal treat is plain, cooked turkey and some delicious crunchy vegetables! Also, mistletoe and holly berries can cause gastroenteritis, so make sure your pet doesn’t have a nibble.
4. Rocking around the Christmas tree:
Christmas tree needles can get stuck in paws or in mouths if chewed. Try to clear away fallen needles where possible.
5. Time for presents and exchanging kisses:
Some dogs (and cats) will be able to sniff out tasty treats under the tree, even if well wrapped, and may open them early! Keep edible presents out of your pets’ reach, especially chocolate and alcohol.
6. The fire is so delightful:
If you have an open fire, make sure you use a fire guard to stop cats and dogs getting too close. If you have turned the central heating on, check that your cat hasn’t fallen asleep underneath as they can burn the fur on their back!
7. Walking in a winter wonderland:
When walking your dog in the cold weather, be careful of the cold ground on his paws. Avoid walking over frosty grass and watch out for salt grit, which can cause contact dermatitis. Wash your dog’s feet after a walk in the snow with baby wipes or a wet towel.
8. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree:
Watch out for your cat climbing the Christmas tree – he may become tangled or cause the tree to topple over. Ensure your tree is stable by investing in a sturdy base.
9. And a happy New Year:
Fireworks over New Year can be a source of anxiety to many cats and dogs. Make sure your pet is calm and comfortable by using a pheromone diffuser like Adaptil or Feliway and making sure your pet has a hideaway place where he feels safe in case it starts to sound scary outside. Close the curtains and turn on the TV or radio to help with distraction, but don’t fuss or comfort your pet if he is showing signs of fear – this only confirms that your pet is right to be afraid.
10. We wish you a merry Christmas:
Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to give your pet lots of extra love and cuddles this Christmas – after all, they deserve it! Check out our selection of festive dog and cat gifts for your furry companion that will arrive just in time for Christmas.