A Christmas safety checklist for your pets
During the rush and fuss in the lead up to Christmas, it’s important to remember the wellbeing of your pets is as important as the happiness of the rest of the family.
Your pets deserve a pleasant Christmas too and this safety checklist can help you make sure that they get it.
Give your pets some privacy
Pets may tend to be social animals that love company but having a lot of people in your home can be distressing for them and leave them anxious. Offering them privacy is therefore vital and one way in which you can do this is to move its basket to a quieter room.
This way they can choose to join in the family Christmas fun or not. Pet safety is important at all times of the year and is up to owners to ensure that their animal has a secure and safe environment in which to enjoy the festivities.
Monitor animal diets
With so much good food and drink flowing over Christmas, it can be easy for your dog or cat to ingest something they shouldn’t. Human food can actually be harmful to your pet’s health so make sure you keep a close eye on what they put in their mouths and ensure that the following food and drink are kept well out of their reach:
• Fizzy drinks
• Raw meat
• Meat bones – poultry bones can splinter and harm your animal so never feed them the turkey bone as a treat
Whatever you’re preparing for your Christmas meal the usual caution should be taken when leaving food lying around. It’s easy for you to take your eye off food for a few seconds and the smells can soon tempt any animal to sample what’s on the table or work surface.
Even though they may have already had their usual pet food, they will still try and eat whatever is available unless you have a very well trained animal.
Animal proof your decorations and surroundings
If you have a pet that loves to play then try and secure the wires from your Christmas lights and don’t leave them snaking across the floor. Most pets aren’t too keen on flashing lights and can get spooked by them so if your pet is of a nervous disposition, then you may want to opt for conventional lights that don’t flicker or go without altogether.
It may also be an idea to place your tree in an inaccessible area for your animal or elevated from ground level as this will discourage animals for playing, chewing or eating decorations such as baubles and tinsel.
There are always sweets and chocolates lying around the tree at Christmas and the temptation for a pet to sample one can be too much. The repercussions of an animal eating sweet treats are vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity as well as excessive panting.
Avoid poisonous plants
It’s always nice to brighten up your house with flowers and mistletoe for family and friends at Christmas and the New Year, but these can also pose a danger to most pets. Many traditional Christmas plants are actually poisonous with mistletoe and holly the two main culprits. Even the yew used in Christmas decorations is highly toxic for animals … and not too healthy for humans either!
If you are going to use these plants as part of your festive display then make sure that they are out of reach of all animals and small children so that they are not ingested.
Alternatively, opt for imitation plants that look like the real thing but don’t have any of the nasty properties that could cause damage to you or your pet.