Christmas can be an exciting time for pets as well as for the whole family, but it can also be traumatic, confusing and even dangerous for them. By following these safety tips though, you can all be sure of a merry Christmas.
Christmas decorations can cause problems for curious pets. Shiny tinsel and sprayed-on glitter can lead to digestive problems if swallowed or can lead to choking or bowel blockage. Avoid using tinsel or ensure it is well out of reach of your pet (even placed high around the tree can prove too much temptation and, if they jump up at it, can result in a toppled tree and a terrified or injured pet). Place bulbs high up on the tree where pets cannot reach them or chew the wiring. To really be on the safe side, do not leave pets unsupervised in the same room as the tree or decorations. Trailing electrical cables on the floor can be sheathed in chew proof flexible tubing – owners of house rabbits will benefit from using this for all electrical cables on the floor at all times.
Never give pets chocolate to eat, as it really is toxic to dogs. There’s always more of it lying around over Christmas so make sure it’s safely out of reach of your dog. Other things to prevent your pets from eating are grapes, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, broccoli, coffee and avocado. Beware of cocktail sticks in buffet food or when they are discarded – the smell of sausage on an old cocktail stick can still make them an attractive prospect for a dog.
Children get excited and hyper at Christmas and their shrieks and screams can surprise or frighten pets, sometimes leading them to scratch or bite. Watch out for guest’s playful young toddlers visiting the house and using your pet as a toy and pulling its tail or ears. Explain the rules for handling pets to them or, if your pet is nervous of strangers in the house, keep it in a separate room away from the noise.
There are many plants around the house at Christmas that are toxic to dogs and cats so avoid putting these in places where they could become in contact with them; these include Mistletoe, Lillies, Cyclamen and Poinsettia. Whenever you buy a new plant, no matter what time of the year, you should always check to see if it’s toxic to pets.
You could bake a special cake or biscuits for your pet using tasty ingredients – there are plenty of recipes on the internet for these. Also make up a special ‘Christmas Stocking’ for your pet containing favourite types of toys, treat and goodies. Sit with them and have fun opening the wrapping together.
CAPTURE THE MOMENT
Take some Christmas pictures with your pet – especially at the present opening time – and put them into frames so you can enjoy the moment all year.
Enjoy all the fun things that go with Christmas and remove all the things that could spoil it and your pet will appreciate spending happy times with you, your friends and family.