5 Christmas Dangers for Your Pets: Tips to Keep Them Safe and Healthy

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, filled with festivities, family fun and all our favourite foods, but the Christmas season poses a number of dangers for our precious pets.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “Many of us will have a hectic household at Christmas time as we celebrate with our loved ones – not to mention lots of decorations, fairy lights and delicious food around the home which can be very tempting to curious paws. However, it’s important to be mindful of the festive traditions that could put our pets in harm’s way.”

Festive food

“Christmas dinner may be a highlight of the big day but no matter how tempting, don’t give in to any purr-suasion. Not only can a sudden change in diet cause a nasty upset stomach, but some components of our festive feast can also be highly toxic to pets. Christmas pudding and mince pies both contain raisins, currants and sultanas, which are toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to life-threatening kidney failure. Bear in mind too, that for a cat weighing around 3.5kg, a slice of turkey is the equivalent of us eating nine slices, so be careful to stick to healthy treats and suitable portion sizes to avoid them piling on the pounds.

Toxic foliage

“Mistletoe and holly may be a staple for some when it comes to seasonal décor, but they are unfortunately toxic to our furry friends. If your pet ingests either of these plants or their berries, contact your vet immediately and report any signs of drooling, sickness, diarrhoea, or collapse. It’s best to avoid using this foliage altogether, but if you do choose to incorporate them into your festive setup, always keep them up high and out of reach of your pets.

Christmas trees

“Curious cats and kittens may be inclined to climb Christmas trees – especially when adorned with twinkling lights and glistening baubles – so it’s best to supervise access to the room to help prevent any accidents. Make sure your tree is secure at the base or secured to a wall to avoid it crashing down should your cat evade your watchful eye – not only could it land on them if it were to topple over, but they could get tangled in the lights and risk receiving an electric shock or cut themselves on shattered baubles. Battery powered lights can reduce the risk of electric shocks and plastic baubles are less likely to shatter.

“If you plan to use salt dough decorations on your tree, it’s important to keep these up high and out of paws’ reach, as the high salt content is very dangerous for our furry friends if they were to eat them. If your pet does happen to get hold of one, watch out for vomiting, diarrhoea, or seizures and contact your vet immediately if they become unwell.

Unwrapping presents

The thrill of opening presents may distract you from keeping a close eye on your furry friends, but there are several things to watch out for among the mountains of wrapping paper. Sticky tape, bows, tinsel, ribbons or string can be a choking hazard and could cause internal blockages if swallowed by our precious pets. Take care to pick up any leftover wrapping or toy batteries and watch out for loose, beady eyes of soft toys, as these can cause serious problems for our pets if chewed up and swallowed.”

PDSA relies on donations to deliver life-saving treatment to hundreds of thousands of pets across its 48 Pet Hospitals in the UK. To keep families together this winter, the charity is urgently calling on the public’s support more than ever to prevent vulnerable people having to make a truly heartbreaking decision. To find out more about PDSA’s vital work during the cost-of-living crisis, or to donate, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/costoflovingcrisis

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