Pet Safety Tips For The Christmas Period

Christmas and New Year are a busy time of year, with parties and visitors galore. While you and your family are having fun, keep in mind that some parts of the holiday season are potentially dangerous to your much loved furry family members.  This is a list of pet safety tips that will keep your much loved animals safe and avoid a trip to the emergency vet.

1. Watch what your dog eats. The ingredients in many Christmas treats are not good for him. Chocolate, sultanas and some nuts are quite toxic to dogs. Chocolate ingestion may lead to gastrointestinal upset and seizures. Grapes and sultanas that are used to make Christmas cakes and puddings are known to result in kidney failure in some dogs. Macadamia nuts can cause a reversible ataxia, with affected dogs being wobbly on their feet.  Rich fatty foods such as ham often see a number of dogs needing treatment for pancreatitis during the holiday season. Even though it’s tempting to give some yummy treats to your dog, don’t do it. This is one time when it’s absolutely fine not to share. There’s always the option to give him a few doggie treats like dried liver or beef strips, but always in moderation to prevent weight gain.

2. Pick up all the paper and ribbon after opening gifts. They can be very attractive to dogs and cats. The paper is okay; your pet will probably really like pouncing on it to make it crackle and tear. The problem is the ribbon. If they are swallowed, they cause a linear foreign body and can seriously damage his small intestine. He will likely need surgery which is the last thing you need during the holiday period.  

3. Keep your pet away from your Christmas tree. If it is knocked over, glass ornaments may break and the shads will cut his feet.  Young pets can chew power cords and the result is painful burns to the mouth and tongue. Both baby gates and fireplace guards are ideal for this purpose and you can decorate them to make them look like part of your Christmas d├ęcor. A bit of tinsel goes a long way to making even the most drab furnishings look festive.

4. Look out for fireworks. Many dogs are terrified of the bangs and will try to escape their yard. Keep your dog indoors if possible. If you have to go out then a comfortable crate or closed room will be a safe and secure den for him. You may want to add some background noise such as the radio or television.  Dogs that have to stay outside should have up to date identification in case the worst happens and they run away and get lost.

Christmas is a season for spending time with friends and family, not for sitting in the waiting room of your local emergency veterinarian! If you follow these pet safety tips, then you and your four legged best friends will enjoy the Christmas festivities without any risk to their health and well-being.