Now that the Christmas festivities are upon us and we are getting ready for the festivities, it is important to be aware that Christmas can be a dangerous time for our pets.

The top 5 reasons pets visit a Vets on Christmas Day:

  • Gastritis / Enteritis
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Soft tissue trauma
  • Lacerations or bite wounds
  • Chocolate poisoning

It is very appealing to give the dog the remains of Christmas lunch but just remember that turkey and chicken bones can and do kill dogs. When bones are cooked they become very brittle and when the dog chews them they fragment into needle spiky pieces. These pieces can become stuck in the stomach or intestines and can pierce the bowel, which is life threatening. Uncooked bones can have the same effect as cooked bones so it is best to avoid bones all together. If the bowel becomes perforated the insides of the abdomen become infected. A surgical procedure is the only way to remove bones from the intestinal tract. In addition, Christmas meals often produce a lot of fatty left over’s and the family pet often ends up being given these. Excessively fatty foods can cause pancreatitis which is very painful and requires intensive care for the animals’ intestinal system to get back to normal.

For those of you who have floral arrangements and plants and you have a cat; remember that all Lilies are toxic to cats and the pollen can easily get on their coats if they brush past an arrangement.  Similarly, poinsettias are also a common addition to the home at Christmas; they are also toxic to your pet if ingested.

For those tempted to style their pet with a decorative ribbon beware that this could become a choking hazard. Generally, it’s best to quickly discard ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts so that your pets won’t be tempted to chew or swallow them.

Twinkling and dangling holiday lights may be another source of danger to your curious pets. Got a pet that likes to chew? Electrical shock may occur when a pet chews down on an electrical cord, causing tongue scratches and possible death.

If you have candles on display, place them in a hard to reach spot so that your pets can not access them. Not only can pets seriously burn themselves, but knocking over candles creates a fire hazard and may leave a trail of hot wax that will easily burn the pads of paws and skin.

Many hang chocolate treats on the tree or wrap presents containing chocolate and place them underneath the tree. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats it contains a substance called theobromine. Dark chocolate is the worst as it contains a greater concentration of theobromine. Dogs especially are attracted to the smell of chocolate treats. It is important not to leave any chocolate treats in reach of pets.

Christmas trees are more dangerous to pets than fake plastic ones. Pine needles can puncture internal organs if eaten; they are also toxic to pets. Cats love to play with string and tinsel making these more attractive as they sparkle. Tinsel can get stuck in the digestive tract if ingested causing serious problems for your pet and often requiring an operation to remove it.

Some pets love the attention of guests; others find strangers in their house nerve-racking. Christmas is often a busy time with visitors coming & going. Be mindful of your pets feelings & give the option of somewhere quiet to escape; this is particularly important if your friends & relatives have young children.

Christmas is a time of year to celebrate and be with family, the last thing anyone would want is to be stuck in a Vet Clinic on Christmas day. Taking safety measures with pets during these festive period can help ensure that you and your family will enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!

Have a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!