For most of us, Christmas is a time of fun and celebration, but for it to be just as good for our pets, there are certain things we all need to bear in mind.
Firstly, never give a pet as a present. New pets need to be welcomed into a calm, quiet environment by people prepared for their arrival, with time to settle them in carefully. A holiday period may seem like the perfect time, but not if you’re expecting lots of visitors or going out a lot.
Christmas decorations can be tempting as playthings or food, especially those hanging from Christmas trees. At best, your tree could be demolished by an over-excited or curious pet. At worst, your pet risks serious harm from electrical wires, tinsel, broken baubles, fake snow, pine needles, etc, so consider where you place your tree and what you put on it. Ribbons, decorative bows and fake snow ‘flocking’ can be dangerous too, if swallowed.
Dogs love the smell of chocolate, but as even small amounts can be fatal, it may be worth giving chocolate tree decorations a miss. Be careful not to leave edible presents under the tree too, as their sensitive noses can easily sniff them out and waiting until Christmas morning is even harder for dogs than it is for children!
If you get a real tree, clean up loose pine needles regularly and check your pet’s feet as the pine needles can become embedded into pets’ feet (or swallowed). Also, use a tree skirt so pets can’t drink the tree water, which may contain toxic preservatives. If your pet can’t resist chewing sticks a fake tree may be preferable as fir tree oils can irritate the mouth tissue. Some Christmas plants are very poisonous too and should be kept out of the reach of animals.
Christmas can be stressful for pets, so keep to their normal routine as much as possible. Ensuring they have a quiet place to retreat to when you have visitors is a must – you may even be tempted to join them!
And last, but not least, ensure you have your Vet’s contact details to hand over the Christmas period. As a veterinary hospital, we are staffed at all times, so if you have an emergency, give us a call on 01453 752555. Phoning first gives us the chance to prepar