How to help your pets enjoy Christmas
It’s that happy time of year again, and while we want to keep the party fun at an all-time high, there are a few things we need to consider to minimize the dangers to our furry friends.
PDSA veterinarian nurse Nina Downing gives her advice on how to keep your furry family member out of trouble during the holiday season: âThere are many hidden dangers that we don’t realize. that they could be harmful to our four-legged friends. However, being aware of the risks is the first step towards prevention, which is why we’ve put together a list of some of the top dangers to look out for this Christmas.
“Garlands, dangling baubles, and fairy lights look lovely on your Christmas tree, but they can be irresistible to our pets. Broken balls can cut legs, and garlands can potentially cause life-threatening blockages leading to emergency treatment. Animals investigating string lights may run the risk of cutting their mouths or even being electrocuted – battery-powered LED lights kept out of reach are the safest option.
Gifts and gift wrapping
âThe ribbon and gift wrap can present a choking hazard or cause blockages for cats and dogs, so be careful when placing gifts under the tree. It is also easy to overlook the other dangers of gift giving – many children’s toys are not designed to be pet friendly, and if parts or batteries are swallowed, they can have fatal consequences. Edible gifts will be hunted soon, but might not be safe for pets, so it’s best to keep them out of reach and clean up any wrapping paper before curious paws can grab them.
âWhile it is appealing to spread the joy of Christmas in your home by decorating with a multitude of plants, it’s important that you know which ones to avoid, as some can be toxic to our furry family members. Avoid placing poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, and ivy within reach of pets – although they bring a lot of traditional festive joy to the house, they can make pets sick if they decide to snack on them!
Eat too much
âWe are all guilty of overeating and over-indulging ourselves at Christmas, but overfeeding your cat or dog can cause serious health problems. Some human foods can be toxic to our pets and lead to illness, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis. It’s best to stick with healthy, pet-safe treats for your furry friend this Christmas and keep exercising and playing to keep him from gaining weight.
A full house
âFor many pandemic animals after the 2020 shutdowns, this will be their first Christmas – and while it’s a very exciting time of year, it can also be busy with relatives and friends who pop up. Provide a safe, quiet place for your four-legged friend to escape – try building a dog den in a quiet room in the house, and add some pet-friendly toys, too. Cats feel more secure when they are up and out of the way, so provide a comfortable place for them to snuggle up on a secure shelf or closet. For small pets, move their enclosure to a quiet room, away from loud visitors and televisions or music systems.
PDSA is the UK’s largest veterinary charity. Our mission is to improve the well-being of companion animals through prevention, education and treatment. People’s Postcode Lottery player support helps us reach even more pet owners with essential advice and information.
This winter, your support is vital for animals in difficulty. Find out how you can help us give animals a fighting chance at www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsa-chance.