Whilst Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year with lots of family time, parties and plenty of yummy food – it can be one of the most stressful times for our furry friends!
Below we have put together a list of hazards for you to watch out for with your pets, and also a guide on how to keep them calm during all your festive socialising!
Top 10 hazards to look out for
1 – Overindulgence! We all enjoy a few extra treats around the Christmas period, and we like to treat our animals too! However, too many naughty goodies could cause health problems and give them an upset tummy. Keep the treats to a minimum, and give them some extra cuddles instead.
2 – There are lots of festive foods that are toxic to our animals. These include: chocolate, macadamia nuts, onions, grapes, sultanas, raisins and alcohol.
3 – We’ve all seen the images of animals happily gnawing on bones, but these are actually quite hazardous to our furry friends! Bones can break and splinter, and if swallowed can get stuck in the intestine, so please avoid giving these to your pet.
4 – Whilst we have all enjoyed a good smooch under the mistletoe – it’s actually a toxic plant to animals if swallowed. Keep holly and mistletoe out of your house – and give those spontaneous kisses to your animals instead!
5 – Real Christmas trees look very lovely, but their needles can imbed in our animals’ paws. Keep the area around your tree swept up to avoid any feet issues with your pets.
6 – Twinkly fairy lights really help set the scene, so ensure wires are tidied up and out of reach of chewing mouths to avoid any nasty electric shocks.
7 – Tidy away all gift wrapping and avoid letting your animals play with this. If swallowed this could get lodged in your pets’ throat.
8 – Many cats are obsessed with your tree, and it can be a problem trying to keep curious kitties away from exploring. A heavy stand will ensure it will be harder to topple over and secure ornaments to branches so they can’t get knocked off.
9 – Fake snow can contain harmful chemicals, and if ingested can be hazardous to your animals. Please avoid having this in your homes.
10 – Ensure all presents under your tree do not contain any edible items – your animal will sniff those out instantly and you could end up with a present massacre. (And a potentially high vet bill!)
Christmas parties and your pets
Christmas is the time for socialising and enjoying parties with friends and family. Whilst your animal may know your house guest – lots of people could be overwhelming and sensory overload. Having strangers over could cause them even more anxiety.
Below is a small guide to help keep your animals calm when you have guests over this festive period.
- Stick to your normal pet routine as much as possible. Walks, mealtimes, rest times etc should all be continued. Routine helps provide them with security.
- When visitors are around, help your dog’s to stay calm with gentle attention. This gives them a distraction, and keeps them relaxed.
- Offer all animals a ‘safe space’ to retire to if things become too much for them. A quiet room with a bed and some fresh water will give them a “time out zone” if they start getting overwhelmed.
- Encourage any children visiting to be calm, and to only approach your pet with adult supervision.
- Tell family members before they arrive, what your pet’s personality and behaviour is like, so they are aware of anything that could trigger them beforehand.