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dog eating from bowl

Keeping your pet safe at Christmas

We don't want anything to spoil your Christmas, let alone a tip to the vets. Here's our tips to keep your pet safe.

Christmas is a time to have fun and spoil your pet. But there are a few hazards to be mindful of. There are lots of seemingly harmless things that can prove dangerous for your pet, such as raisins and ribbons.

Here are the top hazards you need to watch out for this Christmas:

1. Christmas trees.

If you have a mischievous pet that likes to climb or steal things from the tree, it’s best to keep the tree away from places where they have regular access. Cats are often keen to climb the Christmas tree and could find themselves trapped underneath if it topples over.

2. Decorations.

Pets may start playing with ribbons or baubles and end up swallowing them. Cats are especially prone to swallowing ribbon, which can result in a risky operation. We vets often see an increase in the number of foreign bodies that need to be removed from intestines over the festive period, so watch out.

3. Chocolate.

Never hang chocolate on the tree or leave boxes of it unwrapped underneath. Even the most well behaved pet may be unable to resist. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is highly toxic to cats and dogs.

4. Turkey.

Never give your pet any part of the turkey carcass. When cooked, turkey bones become very brittle and can splinter inside the gut. This not only blocks it but can lead to a severe infection.

5. Christmas food.

Don’t leave your pet unattended when the food’s out on the table. If given the opportunity, some dogs will eat so much they make themselves ill. And larger dogs can find themselves with a twisted stomach if they eat too much.

6. Antifreeze.

If you’re defrosting your car, take care not to leave antifreeze lying around and make sure you clean up any spillages. Antifreeze is especially toxic to cats, who will be drawn to its sweet taste. Even a small amount could lead to kidney failure.

7. Plants.

Festive foliage such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettia might be very pretty but can also be toxic to pets, causing vomiting and diarrhoea if eaten.

8. Grapes and raisins.

In some cases, just eating one raisin can cause severe kidney failure, so take care not to leave bowls of nuts and raisins lying saround where your pet could get hold of them.

9. Fireworks.

Make sure your pet is safely indoors after dark and, if necessary, make a safe den, use calming supplements such as Calmex or a pheromone collar like Adaptil to reduce anxiety. If your pet is very nervous, close the curtains and turn up some music to drown out the noise of the fireworks.