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We all love Christmas. It is a magical time of year between all the yummy food, great gifts and wonderful company. But there is always the potential for trouble, especially if puppies and kittens are involved. Follow our simple tips to ensure that everyone in the family has a happy (and safe!) Christmas.

 

General Tips:

  • Make sure your pet is attended at all times. If possible, put them in a crate or safe (non-decorated room) when lots of people will be over or if you are out of the house.
  • Do not force your pets to wear to costumes or clothes if they are uncomfortable. It can cause a lot of stress, discomfort and can be a choking hazard.
  • Make sure your dog is warm and dry and always has access to clean water.
  • If your dog does not like crowds or gets stressed easy, ensure they have a quiet place to retreat to.

Christmas Trees:

  • Some dogs may pee on the tree which could be dangerous due to the lights.
  • Some cats may climb the tree, knocking it over and potential injuring themselves.
  • Some dogs can knock the tree over potentially injuring themselves.
  • Some cats and dogs may try to play with Christmas ornaments. If made of glass this could pose a huge hazard if eaten, or even due to cuts and scrapes. Plastic ornaments could pose a choking hazard.
  • Dogs (puppies!) may chew the wires from Christmas lights which can cause shock or electrocution.
  • If you add chemicals or preservatives to the Christmas tree water, ensure your dog is not able to drink from it as these could be toxic.
  • Artificial trees can be toxic (depending on materials) or pose a choking hazard if leaves/branches are ingested.
  • Keep glue and Adhesives out of reach of pets. If you are doing any Christmas DIY involving glue and adhesives, make sure you always put the cap on tightly and keep it out of reach of your pets. Glue is extremely toxic to pets, but for some reason they love to go for it. Pritt stick and other glue sticks are the main culprits here as dogs love to lick the glue and chew the stick which can also cause a choking hazard!
  • Hide ribbons, strings and yarn. Puppies and cats LOVE to play with strings, and often eat them too! If swallowed, they can wrap around the intestine requiring emergency surgery.  It is known as a linear foreign body and they may not display any clinical signs. If they do, it is usually a rapid onset with rapid deterioration. Be safe and keep these out of reach.
  • Ribbons, strings and yarn may also get caught around the pets neck and cause a choking hazard, especially if the pet is left unattended.
  • Dogs love to lick Potpourri oil… but it is extremely toxic. Make sure it , and anything it is on, is out of reach to pets.
  • Make sure candles are kept up high away from curious noses and wagging tails. If knocked out the pet could hurt themselves with fire or hot wax, or even burn down the house! Again, make sure pets are never left unattended when candles are lighting.
  • Watch out for Puppies! Batteries, camera film, plants, twist ties, etc… puppies will chew anything and everything so make sure nothing is left on the ground or within reach. You may not even notice that they got something, and they may not display clinical signs of illness until it is too late… Batteries and camera film are highly dangerous and toxic if ingested and camera film can also cause a linear foreign body as mentioned before.
  • Snow Globes – Usually contain antifreeze which is fatal to cats and dogs. They are attracted to it as it has a very sweet flavour. If broken, the glass shards also pose a safety risk.

Plants and Flowers:
There are a wide variety of house plants and Christmas plants/flowers that can be toxic to dogs. Always make sure they are out of reach of pets (be especially mindful of where leaves and berries may fall) and if in doubt, do not use them or gift them to a pet owner. These include:

  • Holly – The berries and leaves can cause vomiting and can be fatal.
  • Poinsettia – A popular Christmas flower. The sap can cause blisters in the mouth, vomiting and can also be fatal.
  • Mistletoe – Both the leaves and berries are toxic. May cause vomiting and in extreme cases can cause heart collapse
  • Lilies –  Highly toxic to cats. May cause vomiting, collapse and can be fatal. A few bites can cause severe acute kidney failure.
  • Rosemary – can cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort in cats and dogs.
  • Pine Needles – If ingested can puncture a hole in your pets intestine, requiring emergency surgery.
  • Amaryllis – Can cause gastrointestinal distress and may also be fatal. 

The Kitchen:
 
Try keep pets out of the kitchen all together. Trying to prepare the dinner is hectic enough, without dogs being underfoot hoping something falls… If you are rushing around you could also trip over or stand on them causing an injury to one or both of you! If you trip you could also potentially spill hot food, water, sauces etc… best to leave the pet in another room with a family member to play with their new toys! Some other things to be aware of include:

  • Never leave the turkey or turkey carcass in reach of the dog. Small cooked bones can splinter if eaten and cause severe injuries or be a choking hazard.
  • Too much turkey meat can cause canine pancreatitis. Too much rich human food can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • All chocolate products should be kept well out of reach as it is toxic to dogs.
  • Make sure the garbage bin is out of reach of the dog as it will be full of bones, string, wrappers etc. that can be dangerous and will also make a HUGE mess!
  • Just a small amount of alcohol can poison a dog, so make sure it is kept out of reach (and your guests do the same). This includes foods and desserts that contain alcohol

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