The run up to Christmas is one the most favourite times of the year for many of us. What is not to like when it comes to decorating your house with Christmas lights and ornaments and planning the ideal meal for the whole family – including your companion animal?! We encourage festivities that include all family members and just want to make sure these can be enjoyed by everyone. Many people don’t know that some of their favourite Christmas items pose a threat to animal health. In this blog we discuss a few of the most common hazardous items and tell you how to deal with them.
The Christmas Tree
Pine needles are toxic for cats and dogs and can be damaging to the intestines when they’re swallowed whole. Most cats and dogs wouldn’t consider the needles a tasty treat but do make sure you regularly clear any rogue needles left on the floor. Also make sure that their water trays are far removed from the tree and that their water is refreshed regularly because needles that end up in their water bowl will poison the water.
Cats won’t be able to resist playing with Christmas baubles! If they manage to get some out of the tree and smash them into smithereens on the floor… they not only ruin the decorations but also risk getting some of the shards in their sensitive foot pads. Playful dogs could mistake them for chewy toys and bite them into pieces. This could lead to severe internal damage. When you choose your bauble, choose an animal friendly one that won’t break.
They may look all innocent and bright but they could be a real hazard if your kitten or puppy decides to chew on the spindly wires. Always make sure you hide the wires to prevent your animals getting an electric shock.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Christmas pudding, mince pies and chocolate. However, none of these are good for cats and dogs so make sure that these are always out of reach of your four-legged companions. Refrain from decorating your tree with chocolate figurines or candy canes and always choose animal friendly ones instead.
There are few plants so synonymous with Christmas as Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia but they are also very toxic for cats and dogs. They can cause upset stomachs and should therefore be placed far out of reach.
The festive season means a bountiful table of food and snacks and we understand you might be tempted to feed your dog or cat the scraps. Your guests might be thinking the exact same though, leading to overfeeding. Fatty foods like turkey and pork crackling can lead to upset stomachs and generally speaking, dogs and cats don’t take well to sudden changes in their diets so don’t be tempted by the festive cheer and stick to their normal feeding routine.
Make sure to dispose of any wood wrappers and other utensils such as aluminium, wax paper, and skewers. Inquisitive dogs might start looking for scraps and per accidentally chew on a skewer or aluminium wrapper with painful consequences.