Keeping your pets safe at Christmas

Keeping your pets safe at Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner and many of us having our Christmas decorations up around our homes, this comes with an element of excitement and curiosity for our pets and this curiosity could lead you to an expensive trip to the vets. I know it’s hard to keep your eyes on your pets 24/7 and I don’t want to sound like Scrooge, but at Christmas time we bring lots of items into our homes that our pets aren’t used to having in their environments.

For example, tinsel is a very common decoration for Christmas trees and it’s often a very attractive toy for cats. It’s shiny, it dangles and it’s something new in their environment so when they’re playing with it, it’ll often end up being swallowed or getting wrapped around their tongue and it’s a very common cause of digestive obstruction in cats.

And just like tinsel, the ribbons and bows lots of people add to wrapped presents are also appealing to cats and can cause digestive tract blockage if eaten. The best solution is to keep these items out of your home and out of reach from your cat, but if the thought of this isn’t pleasing just make sure you keep an eye on your cat and don’t leave them around the Christmas tree unattended. If you’re leaving the house, try keeping your cat away from the same room as the Christmas tree by closing doors if possible. Dogs can sometimes enjoy a nibble on these too, especially puppies so just be very cautious if you have a puppy or kitten.

If you’re fruitcake or chocolate lover, then you’ll agree that it’ll be rude not to indulge on these over the festive period. However, eating these around pets comes with caution. Fruitcake contains raisins and alcohol which can be dangerous for our pets if eaten. Chocolate is extremely toxic for cats and dogs as it contains theobromine, which can have a wide range of effects if eaten, such as seizures, rapid heart rate and cardiac arrest. To avoid any problems, keep these foods out of reach and be careful with what you put in stockings. It’s also worth mentioning to your guests and make sure they’re aware of the dangers associated with these foods.

There are a range of festive plants that many of us like to bring into our homes, from mistletoe to poinsettias but you may not be aware that these can cause illness. Most plants are completely safe but there’s a few you need to be very watchful with. Ingesting small quantities of mistletoe can lead to drooling and digestive upset, whilst larger quantities can lead to heart rate and rhythm problems. If you’re going to have real mistletoe in your home just make sure you hang it high and remove the berries as these can drop off over time.

Although not deadly, poinsettias are toxic enough to make your cat or dog mildly sick if eaten and can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea. Skin irritation, swelling, and redness, especially around the mouth, can also occur if the skin came into contact with the white sap. I know these plants are a must-have at Christmas so if you are going to decorate your home with them, just make sure it’s out of reach from your pets.

And there’s something everyone should know about, regardless of whether you own a cat or not and that is lily poisoning. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats and just a little nibble can be enough to cause kidney failure.  if you’re planning on sending bouquets to people who own cats just be cautious and if you receive a bouquet containing lilies, just remove them.

From all of us at Newlands Pets, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and If you’re concerned your cat or dog has been affected by anything I’ve mentioned, it’s always best to contact your vet for advice.

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