How to keep your dog and cat safe this Christmas

08 DECEMBER 2020

Christmas is likely to look a little different this year, but with stockings to fill, trees to decorate and food to eat, the hustle and bustle of the festive season will still be felt by many households, and their pets too.

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After lots of time spent with just their immediate family this year, your pet could be a little overwhelmed by the arrival of lots of bright lights and festive decorations, as well as any new people you may decide to welcome into the house, even in smaller numbers.

Take a look at our five tips on how to keep your pets safe and happy over the festive period.

1. Give them space away from visitors

Some cats and dogs find visitors quite stressful, even in smaller numbers, so it’s important to give them access to a quiet, secure area where they can have some time alone if they choose. Plug-in diffusers with calming pheromones can be useful in these spaces too.

A spare room which won’t be in use, or a quieter spot where people aren’t likely to gather are great places to set up a calming space for either a dog or a cat.

For your dog, a table with a blanket draped over and some comfy bedding will do the job, or a covered dog crate with the door secured open. Your cat may choose to go outside for some fresh air, so make sure they have their own access where possible, but they may also like a quiet hiding place too.

Where possible, leave some food and water in the quiet place so your pet can access them without having to come out and join the celebrations.

2. Leftovers aren't always a treat

It may be tempting to give your pet some leftovers, or even their own plate, but there are lots of ingredients in your Christmas dinner that could potentially be harmful for your dog or cat.

Onion, garlic, dried fruits and leek are often found in stuffing or sausages and can all be harmful to dogs and cats. Macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs, whilst other nuts could cause gastrointestinal issues.

It’s also very important to never give your pets cooked bones or leave bones in a bin where they can get them. Whilst raw bones can be a great treat for your dogs to chew on, cooked bones can splinter, which could be potentially fatal if swallowed.

However, a small amount of plain white meat, like turkey, cut up into small pieces, makes an ideal festive treat for your pet.

3. Keep the chocolates out of reach

Most of us know not to feed chocolate to our pets, but if they can reach it, your dog or cat may go ahead and help themselves.

We would recommend that you avoid hanging chocolates on your Christmas tree, keep chocolate selection tins in the cupboard and don’t leave wrapped gifts that contain chocolate, or any food items underneath your tree.

4. Consider buying fake festive plants

At this time of year, you may be bringing lots of new and exciting-looking plants into your house which could peak your pet’s interest.

Mistletoe, Ivy, Holly and Poinsettia plants can all give your pets a bad stomach if they are eaten or chewed on, as can pot pourri, so be careful to keep them in places your pet can’t access, or consider bringing in a fake version which doesn’t require any maintenance.

5. Keep an eye on decorations

Some pets are more curious than others, and may show a lot of interest in the decorations that have popped up around your house.

Lots of people love to decorate, but it’s important to do it with your pet in mind so that Christmas is fun for all the family. For example, plastic decorations, like tinsel could be potentially harmful if at a height where they could be eaten, and glass decorations, like some baubles, could get stuck in your pet’s paws if they fall off your tree and smash. Make sure decorations are properly secured and wherever possible, kept out of the reach of curious mouths and paws. We would also recommend not leaving your pet in a room with lots of decorations whilst you are out.

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