10 tips to keep your pets safe this Christmas!

No-one wants to end up at the vets over the festive season. You have far too much on and have probably run out of money anyway!  Nevertheless, plenty of people have to see us and often the drama could have been easily avoided.

So here are my tips to keep your pets, happy, healthy and out of trouble this Christmas!

1) Dastardly Decorations

The amount and variety of ways pets can damage themselves on Christmas decorations never ceases to amaze me, so don’t blame yourself if yours invent a new one!

However, there are things you can do to try to prevent disaster; Use non-shatter baubles, so if your dog or cat do decide to take a chunk out of them or remove them from the tree, they don’t burst into a million shards of glass. Keep tinsel out of reach; it can easily get stuck in guts or up noses and cause nasty (& expensive) problems, and make sure any electrical cables are not available for a curious nibble! (This is particularly relevant if you have a rabbit!)

This was the tragic story of a kitten who lost his life in the Christmas tree, they can be very curious!  I think the best option is to not allow them access unless they are supervised.

2) Chocolate

Pretty much, in my opinion, the best thing about Christmas! However, keep it well out of reach of your dogs and don’t forget a bit of wrapping paper is no match for their sensitive noses.

If they do bury themselves in the Quality Street hopefully the worst that will happen is a bout of vomiting (at least it will smell good!) and diarrhoea but if they end up in the Green and Blacks, it could be very serious indeed.

So keep your chocolate treats to yourself, not that I need telling twice!

3) I spy, mince pie!

Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies can be an acquired taste for people but generally dogs don’t hesitate if they can get hold of them (me either!). However, this can cause significant problems.

Raisins can be extremely toxic to the kidneys, the suet and sugar will really upset tummies and any alcohol will NOT be well tolerated!

4) Turkey Trouble

Staying with the foody theme, lets talk turkey! A nice bit of plain meat as a Christmas treat isn’t going to lead to trouble but make sure your pets don’t get to the carcass.

As with any cooked bones, they can be really problematic for the guts; leading to blockages and even ruptures that often need emergency surgery to fix.

5) Visitors!

Many homes (especially the ones with really good nibbles) have a constant stream of guests at this time of year. Some pets will love the attention but others, particularly cats, can find the extra activity very stressful. Make sure you give them space to hide away, don’t force them to be sociable and consider installing an Adaptil or Feliway plug-in to help them cope.

6) Festive Foliage

Sometimes it’s like a forest suddenly grew in the living room, what with the tree in the corner, the holly on every surface, the ponsiettas that appear and someone always brings mistletoe!

Unfortunately, all of these plants can be toxic to our pets if they eat them and the pine needles will be painful if they end up in your pet’s feet.  So make sure you keep them where they can’t be snuffled and vacuum the carpet around the tree regularly.

7) Anti-freeze

This is an all-round winter problem but it is worth mentioning again!

Anti-freeze is incredibly toxic but, in the UK, can taste really nice. Cats will often lick it up if they find it and will always groom it away if it gets on their fur. Even a tiny amount will cause irreparable damage to their kidneys and sadly the vast majority of pets who ingest it will die. So keep it locked up and make sure any containers, and your car, aren’t leaking it!

8) Batteries

Have you stocked up yet? If you have kids you better had! (Or maybe not of you fancy a peaceful day!) But whatever you do, make sure you keep them safe and that they don’t get lost under the mounds of wrapping paper, ready to be sniffed out by nosey pets.

AA type batteries if they are chewed will leak a corrosive fluid which damages the delicate tissues of the mouth and intestinal tract but the real danger come from the flat button batteries and lithium ion ones. These generate an electrical current when they contact flesh and can burn though the stomach lining in minutes.

9) Frosty feet

What could be better after a big Christmas lunch than a refreshing walk? Just be careful of ice and snow balling up in your dog’s feet, especially if they are very hairy  and avoid any gritted roads or pavements if you can.  Make you can’t make sure you wipe their feet down thoroughly when you get home, otherwise they can develop painful sores, that will need your vet’s help to heal.

10) Ban the Booze!!

Well, maybe not for people but definitely for pets! Keep the punch bowl well away from curious tongues and make sure you clean up any spillages immediately. Otherwise, you might be cleaning up fluid of a very different (and much more disgusting) kind in the morning. Which, if you are feeling a little worse for wear, will not be a pleasant task!

Really, its just about common sense, keeping things out of reach and tidying up after yourself! Possibly easier said than done over the hectic festive season (or is that just me?!) but it could save you a lot of money and your pet a lot of pain!

If you are at all concerned, remember that vets will be on-call and available throughout the holidays to give you advice and see your pet if needs be.

Happy Christmas and have a fabulous 2016!!


You can follow me on Twitter; @cat_the_vet and find me on FaceBook;  Cat_The_Vet

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