Your Guide to Christmas Pet Safety

Your Guide to Christmas Pet Safety

We pet owners love our furry friends. In fact, it’s no secret we love to include our pets in our Christmas festivities. But when it comes to pet safety, there are lots of things we can do to ensure our fur pals have a safe and merry Christmas.

Sure, the holidays are super fun for humans, but experts warn that they can present a lot of dangers to our furry family members, especially when it comes to food toxicity, unsettling parties, and hazardous decorations.

Luckily for us, PETstock Vet Dr Kathy Macmillan is sharing her top tips for keeping our barking buddies and meowing mates happy and out of harm’s way this festive season.

French bulldog, Christmas gifts, pet safety

How to Avoid Christmas Tree Troubles

“For curious pets, the Christmas tree is an exciting addition to the home each year. However, it’s important to consider pet safety. Think about your tree set-up and what your pet may be able to get their paws into.

Make sure that your pets are supervised when near the tree and decorations, or if this is not possible, consider restricting access by setting up a separate ‘Christmas room’ where the door can be closed to prevent access,” advises Kathy.

“When purchasing a Christmas tree for your home, ensure that it is stable and secure to avoid a tree-tripping disaster. Our cats and dogs will more than likely be investigating the new green display in your home, and if they step a paw out of line, it may easily come crashing down – damaging the decorations and likely injuring your pet.

“If you choose to decorate a fresh Christmas tree for your home, always ensure that the water base is not easily accessible for your inquisitive furry friends as it may contain dangerous chemicals that could harm your pet if consumed.”

She adds, “If your pet is known to prematurely open presents, refrain from placing gifts that contain food, toxic Christmas flowers and substances that may be harmful to your pet under the tree. Additionally, once Christmas gifts are unwrapped, avoid leaving wrapping paper lying about as it can cause harm if swallowed.”

Stress-free Entertaining

“While pet parents may find Christmas time and entertaining guests exciting, it’s important to keep pet safety top on mind. After all, seeing new faces and hearing unfamiliar voices may be scary for our pets.

Some furry friends find the presence of unfamiliar guests and increased noise levels to be anxiety-inducing, so make sure that you create a separate space for fur pals to retreat to and unwind when things get to be a little too much.

“Take your dog for a long walk or run prior to the celebrations kicking off. This is a fantastic way to help them go into an event feeling happy and calm. A well exercised dog is also less likely to engage in anxious and disruptive behaviours such as barking or chewing at furniture while guests are visiting.

“Another option for pet parents is to give your dog an enrichment-based toy such as a Kong or snuffle mat just prior to your guests arriving. This is a great way to keep your pets comforted and entertained for long periods of time.

“If your pet is unable to be calmed down in high-stress situations, it may be worth visiting your local vet to discuss further options to treat their anxiety.”

Cat under Christmas tree

Preventing Food Toxicity

Kathy reminds us that some of our favourite festive foods can be extremely toxic to pets.

“Although it may be difficult, resist giving into those pleading puppy eyes this Christmas time. It is also important to know which treats to steer clear from.

“General foods to avoid include chocolate, avocado, Christmas pudding, fruit cake, grapes, gravy, ham, lollies, onion, pork and alcohol. Common reactions to toxic foods may include bad breath, excessive panting, poor breathing, muscle twitching, vomiting and diarrhoea. Ingesting these common Christmas foods can also lead to heart and kidney failure in severe cases.

“Cooked bones may also be a tempting treat for your pet. However, these can splinter into shards and can cause choking and serious internal damage, and therefore must be avoided.”

Kathy advises, “If you suspect that your pet has eaten something harmful, monitor closely for any changes in behaviour or movement. If you are worried, always pay a visit to your local veterinarian for an expert opinion.”


How do you ensure your pet has a safe and merry Christmas?


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