The tree is up, presents are wrapped, food preparations are beginning and the festive season is in the air. Christmas is around the corner. This isn’t just an exciting time for us it also lends itself to many exciting opportunities for our furry friends too. Decorations to play with and wrapping paper to hide under-the choices are endless. For our pets, this can introduce a whole suite of new hazards and strange routines. Here are some tips to ensure your pet remains happy and healthy throughout the holiday period.
While it is nice to include our pets in family occasions, be careful not to feed your dog leftovers from Christmas lunch or dinner. The fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause pancreatitis. Cooked bones are also dangerous, as they are very brittle and can easily get stuck in your dog’s windpipe or stomach. Also don't feed your dog chocolate or Christmas pudding as both have ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
Everyone loves to find a stash of chocolate in their stocking on Christmas morning bit make sure your dog doesn't get to it first. Please do not share these with your furry friends, especially dark chocolate. Not only is chocolate toxic it can upset their tummies and leave an unexpected Christmas mess!
If you are boarding your pet this Christmas or visiting friends with animals, be sure all your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Your local boarding kennel or cattery will require this.
While gorgeous to look at, all lilies (and lily water) are toxic to cats, causing kidney failure and even death. Other Christmas plants like mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Christmas lilies are not dangerous to dogs but watch for other plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons.
Dogs and cats are notorious for ripping open presents well before Christmas day. This can be not only frustrating for pet owners, it can be dangerous to pets, exposing them to substances and food that is harmful to them. If your pets are likely to get to the gifts, perhaps leave them out on Christmas Eve instead of days or weeks before.
For our pets, Christmas guests and new schedules can be upheaval. Cats naturally like routine and predictability, so if you are entertaining, create a safe space away from the guests for your cat to go. If your dog is used to being walked each day, try to keep this routine over the festive season. Minimal disruption to your pet’s routine will keep them happy and healthy.
Even in the throes of summer, it can be fun and Christmassy to light candles. Just be sure you stay vigilant around lit candles to ensure your pet doesn’t burn themselves, or the house!
Our hospital opening hours change over the Christmas period. Be sure to have your both your local clinics phone number and an after-hours emergency number handy.