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A Christmas Guide For Healthy, Happy Pets

Christmas is nearly here and it’s a busy and exciting time for many of us.  For our pets though, the festive period can be fraught with potential dangers to their health and wellbeing.

The last thing anyone wants is an emergency trip to the vet at Christmas so reduce that risk by following the advice below and ensuring the whole family has a very merry Christmas.

Real Trees

They look and smell fantastic in our homes but the oils found in fur trees are mildly toxic to most pets and can cause a tummy upset if eaten.  Tree needles can also easily become lodged in a paw or throat so make sure fallen needles are cleared up promptly and try to make sure pets aren’t left unsupervised near the tree.

Deck The Halls

Baubles can look just like toys to pets and they may decide that they want to play with them resulting in broken glass and potential damage to paws.  Pets may chew plastic decorations or even eat them, which can often mean a visit to the vet.  Rabbits, cats and dogs have all been known to chew through wires so make sure any cables are tucked away safely.

Dangerous Foods

Chocolate – A Christmas staple that many pet owners already know is toxic to animals, chocolate should always be kept out of reach.  Don’t forget to check that there are no confectionary gifts under the tree, that advent calendars are on a high shelf and any chocolate tree decorations are on the upper branches because they might well be sniffed out and devoured!

Mince Pies, Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake  – All these delicious seasonal desserts contain vast amounts of currants, raisins and sultanas which are highly toxic to dogs.  Eating even a handful can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and in extreme cases even kidney failure.

Artificial Sweetener – Xylitol in particular is known to cause fatal hypoglycemia in pets.  It’s found in many foods such as cakes and even a small amount can cause serious problems.

Nuts – Macadamia nuts in particular are highly toxic and can cause weakness and vomiting in pets if consumed.

Onions – Anything containing onions such as gravy can cause stomach irritation to your pet and may result in vomiting and diarrhoea.

Bones – Cooked bones can splinter into sharp shards that can easily get caught in a dog’s throat or bowel.  Make sure the turkey carcass is inaccessible!

Alcohol – Even a small amount of alcohol can create levels of toxicity in a pet that can cause tremors, difficulty breathing and sometimes even death so keep drinks out of reach and clear up spills promptly.

Pretty but Poisonous

Poinsettia, Mistletoe, Amaryllis and Holly are firm Christmas favourites but they do present a danger to a pet that likes to nibble on plants.  With varying levels of toxicity, the side effects depend on how much of the plant is consumed. Display these plants well out of reach to avoid any tummy troubles.

Keep Pets Happy

Christmas usually means a busier than usual home, with friends and family coming together to celebrate.  Unfamiliar people and more noise can be frightening for your pet so it’s a good idea to provide them with a safe room where they can escape and feel at ease if it all becomes too much.  Pheromone diffusers are useful as they can help to calm animals and provide comfort in these circumstances.

It’s really important to maintain your pet’s normal routines over the festive period.  Keep feeding them their usual food and taking them for regular exercise.  Find non-food ways of involving them in the fun.  A new toy and more attention can help to ensure that our pets remain happy and are able to enjoy the festive season too.

If you have any concerns regarding the health and wellbeing of your pet or any other questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799


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