Pet Dangers at Christmas


December 22nd, 2013

The Christmas holidays are filled with fun and laughter ourselves, families and friends. However the frivolities and festive fun can cause us pet owners to overlook the dangers and hazards to our four-legged friends.

As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’, so read ahead to see our guide on the top 5 Christmassy things most commonly overlooked and keep your pets safe during the festive period. 

Christmas Decorations

We’ve all been there, the cat spots the sparkly tinsel you carefully placed on the tree after much deliberation and whoosh he’s up there munching away on it!

Tinsel, while not toxic, can cause serious harm to pets if ingested and cause potentially life threatening blockages in the intestines. So keep a look out for those tree wreckers and never leave them unattended.

Christmas baubles can also be dangerous if confused with your pet’s favourite squeaky ball. If you have young pups, make sure your decorations are high up and out of reach. 

Twinkly Lights and Ribbons

While beautiful to look at, twinkly lights are the cause of much curiosity to our pets. If they like to chew, cats included, they may have little munch on those dangly wires at the risk of burning themselves on the bulbs or even electric shocks. Make sure you always switch off the lights when out, and regularly check wires for fraying of chewing. Try not to leave those nosey pets unsupervised.

If you are a fan of burning candles, my favourite being the ones that just smell like Christmas, be sure to put them up high and out of reach. Not only to they pose a risk of your pets burning themselves, but they are also a fire hazard. If knocked over the hot wax could also cause damage, burning their paws or more. 

Wrapping Ribbons

Whilst you may be tempted to put that pretty sparkly ribbon around your pet for a festive collar, it can in fact be a choking hazard. It is always best to resist the temptation and to keep an eye out for any discarded ribbons or bows when the present opening frenzy begins – those nosey pets may be enticed into having a chew, posing a threat of choking or swallowing. 

Festive Foliage

We all love that bunch of mistletoe hanging above the door, the smell of a ‘real’ Christmas tree and other festive foliage’s but the ones we love the most this time of year can actually cause serious harm to your pets if chewed or ingested.

The keys ones to be on your guard with are: pine needles, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias. All of these are often used for decorations and could lead to severe health problems if ingested. If worried your pet may have gnawed on any of these, it is recommended that you seek immediate veterinary attention. 

And the big one……

FOOD Glorious Food!

This time of year we all indulge in delectable treats in abundance. Tins of chocolates, tons of turkey and numerous nuts. Although we often indulge in yummy sweets, treats and lashings of gravy to us, they merely cause us to consider hitting the gym in the New Year, but to our pets these festive foods can have life threatening consequences.

  • Chocolate is likely to be the number on go to treat for us at this time of year, however chocolate is highly toxic to our pets. Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested it can be life threatening to our four legged friends, so be sure to keep them out of harm’s way and lock those chocs away.
  • Fat Trimming and Bones are a plenty during this time of year. However cooked fat and bones can be lethal to pets if ingested of chewed on. Keep your furry friends from harm and resist feeding these.
  • You may love sitting in front of the fire cracking away at those assorted nuts with the nut cracker, however many nuts are in fact poisonous to pets. The biggest worries are walnuts, almonds, pistachio and macadamia nuts, which are often found in sweets and treats. Be sure to keep these away from your pets and if you have any reason to believe they may have had nibble seek veterinary attention.

The best thing to do this Christmas period, is to be on your guard and keep these tempting foods from the reach of pesky paws. Resist temptation to give you pets a treat that is more suited to our tastes than theirs and keep them on their regular diet. Often those who get a taste for human food will refuse their own, so don’t take the risk and stick to their everyday kibbles and meats.

For more information about some of the great foods that we recommend check out More, Symply and Canagan.