Christmas is almost here, and the signs are everywhere – decorated trees, wrapped presents, and yummy food! Your pets love all these things too, but Christmas can be a dangerous time for them, and as pet parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure they stay safe – that’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Christmas safety tips for pet owners.
In this article, we explore the common aspects of the Yuletide season, such as food, decorations, presents, and festive plants that may pose a risk to your beloved pet.
Keeping our pets safe during a magical time of year
While you dig out the dusty boxes of Christmas decorations and start getting festive, remember to be mindful of your curious pets – especially with new puppies and kittens. They love all the sparkly and shiny decorations, and the temptation to get in there and pull some playful pet hijinks is sure to get the best of them.
Keep reading for our top tips on keeping your furry friends safe this holiday season, starting with some favourite festive foods!
Pet owner Christmas safety tips: food!
One of the best parts of Christmas is all the delicious food, but some of our favourite treats are quite dangerous for pets.
Make sure that you check this list twice!
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats.
Foods that contain grapes, raisins, currants, and sultanas are poisonous to dogs. Pudding or mince pies are a major no-no for pets.
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, and hyperthermia in dogs.
Onions and garlic can irritate your pet’s stomach as well as cause anaemia.
Alcohol is toxic to your pet’s liver and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing issues, and even death. It’s best to keep your pet in another room when drinking alcohol!
Artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, are toxic to dogs. Hypoglycemia, acute liver disease, and blood clotting are possible.
Blue cheese contains roquefortine C, and some animals are quite sensitive to it.
Pets, just like humans, can get sick from eating spoiled food, including the chance of them developing pancreatitis. Make sure whatever leftovers you’re feeding them are pet-friendly, properly stored and consumed within a reasonable time frame.
Cooked bones are brittle and can splinter and lodge in your pet’s throat or digestive system, leading to potential choking or intestinal blockages.
Check out our article from Christmas 2021 entitled Christmas Foods That Are Dangerous For Cats and Dogs for more information.
Pet owner Christmas safety tips: decorations!
The next festive-related area to keep your eye on this year is your Christmas decorations, especially if you have curious and mischievous pets in the house!
Christmas tree needles can cause stomach issues or get stuck in your pet’s paw or throat. They can easily get knocked over too. Make sure your floors are regularly swept or hoovered to prevent too many needles from collecting on the floor.
Chewed wiring increases the potential for electrical shocks, fires, choking, and intestinal blockages. Keep your Christmas lights tied up, blocked off or up off the floor as much as possible.
Christmas baubles can easily fall and shatter, causing injuries to paws or your pet’s mouth if they decide to chew one. Make sure they are securely fastened onto you the branches of your tree.
Tinsel is a choking hazard for pets and can cause intestinal obstruction. Be sure to wrap tinsel around the branches of your Christmas tree or other decorations to ensure they don’t slide off.
Fairy lights run the same risk as Christmas lights: electrical shocks, choking, fires, and intestinal problems if swallowed. Keep them high and keep them secure!
Christmas ornaments are easily chewed and ingested, leading to intestinal obstruction and choking. Try to ensure that ornaments are displayed at a height your curious pooch or kitty can’t reach.
Lit candles are easily knocked over by playful animals and can be a serious fire hazard. Ensure they are stored in areas that your pet simply cannot reach them.
Snow globes sometimes contain anti-freeze and glitter that are dangerous if ingested by pets. They’re also a choking hazard – so keep them well away from animals!
Pet owner Christmas safety tips: plants!
We can’t forget about Christmas plants! Some are toxic to pets.
Mistletoe & Holly
Mistletoe and holly are slightly toxic to dogs and will cause stomach irritation, and so will poinsettias.
Ivy is poisonous to pets and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Contact with the skin can irritate too – so keep ivy at a significant height!
Lilies are highly toxic to pets and can cause liver failure within three days. Be extra careful with this plant whether it’s Christmas or not!
Potpourri contains essential oils and other ingredients that are toxic if ingested. The strong fragrance can also cause respiratory problems.
Check out an older article we published entitled What plants are poisonous to dogs? for more information.
Pet owner Christmas safety tips: presents!
Pets are curious, and holiday presents can be a tempting target. Watch out for these potential dangers.
Pets can quickly ingest wrapping paper, and large amounts may cause intestinal obstructions. Whether you’re wrapping presents in the days beforehand, or else unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning itself, be sure to collect the discarded wrappings before your pet does!
Dogs love to chew on anything, making small toys a choking hazard. It can be wise to coach little children on how to keep their toys off the floor so your pet doesn’t try to eat them!
Batteries contain chemicals that, if ingested by pets, can cause severe burns or metal poisoning. So no matter the use – for toys, lights or new devices, make sure that batteries both in use and in storage are kept well away from pets.
Silica gel packets are usually non-toxic but can cause digestive blockages – throw them out as soon as you spot them!
Have a Merry Christmas from all of us here at VetIQ
We know Christmas is a hectic time of the year for everyone. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the decorating, cooking, and gift-buying, but sparing a little extra attention for your pets will keep them safe during the holiday hustle and bustle.
We hope our Christmas safety tips help keep your furry friends healthy and happy:
- Keep them indoors and warm: Like us, cold weather can affect them too.
- Watch what they’re eating: Opt for healthy, high-quality pet treats this Christmas. How about real duck, salmon, or cheese treats? Our Healthy Treats are available for both dogs and cats so give your pet a Christmas treat that is also good for them!
- Be careful with decorations: Christmas decorations are beautiful but can be dangerous to pets.
So from all of us at VetIQ, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! See you in 2023!