Christmas perils

For those pets who have seen a Christmas or two, the sudden arrival of a pine tree, tinsel and plates piled high with mince pies, will likely be taken in their stride. However, for young animals, all these exciting new things require close inspection, which can lead to all sorts of problems. All you can’t eat At this time of
Featured image for Christmas perils
4th December 2017

For those pets who have seen a Christmas or two, the sudden arrival of a pine tree, tinsel and plates piled high with mince pies, will likely be taken in their stride. However, for young animals, all these exciting new things require close inspection, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

All you can’t eat

At this time of the year, many of the foods we love to tuck into will do our pets more harm than good – so those pleading eyes must be ignored. It’s far better to keep your pets on their usual Burgess diet. Festive foods on the blacklist include:

  • Pigs in blankets: Fatty, salty meats such as pork can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Mince pies and Christmas cake: Raisins and sultanas (as well as grapes) are highly toxic to dogs, causing serious, potentially fatal kidney problems.
  • Nutmeg: This seasonal spice used in eggnog, biscuits and puddings is poisonous to pets, causing tremors, seizures and damage to the central nervous system.
  • Onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and chives: These all belong to the Allium species of plants and, whether uncooked or cooked, are toxic to pets. Initially there can be vomiting and diarrhoea, but the main effect is damage to red blood cells, resulting in anaemia.
  • Cooked turkey bones: These can splinter and become lodged in an animal’s throat or perforate the intestinal tract, which can be life-threatening. Ensure turkey carcasses and bones are bagged-up and safely disposed of somewhere that your pets cannot get to them.
  • Macadamia nuts: These can cause lethargy, increased body temperature, tremors, lameness, vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
  • Chocolate: This contains theobromine, which can be fatal to dogs if they ingest it in sufficient quantities. Make sure chocolates (including those wrapped up as presents) are kept well out of your pet’s reach and avoid chocolate tree decorations, which may be just too tempting for your dog’s sensitive nose to ignore.
  • Alcohol: Booze can have a similar effect in dogs as it does in their owners, causing canines to become droopy and drowsy. In severe cases, there is a risk of low body temperature, low blood sugar and coma. Make sure any unattended alcohol is kept out of reach to prevent curious pets from helping themselves to a sneaky tipple.

Deck the halls

Festive floral favourites such as holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, amaryllis and lilies may look pretty, but they are poisonous to pets, so make sure they are positioned away from inquisitive paws and noses. If you have a real Christmas tree, regularly vacuum up the pine needles as these can puncture your pet’s intestines if ingested – and don’t let your dog drink the tree water, which is likely to contain chemicals.

All the trimmings

Puppies and kittens are likely to make a beeline for anything that sparkles, dangles or flashes, so proceed with caution when decorating your home.

  • Tinsel: Ingesting it can potentially block intestines, requiring surgery.
  • Blu Tack: Adhesives used to put up decorations and cards may cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea if eaten by your dog.
  • Ornaments: These represent a choking hazard and glass baubles are best avoided altogether as shards from broken ones may injure paws, mouths, or other parts of your pet’s body, resulting in an emergency trip to the vet.
  • Fairy lights: Place these well out of reach. Not only could your pet get tangled up in them, they could get an electric shock by biting through the wire. This is particularly important if you have nibbly house rabbits.
  • Spray snow: While this looks decorative inside windows, make sure your dog or cat isn’t interested in licking or scratching it off and ingesting harmful chemicals.

What’s in the box?

Many pets are intrigued by the sudden appearance of mysterious wrapped boxes, so, if you don’t want yours unwrapped by Santa’s little helper, keep them hidden. Wrappings and bows can be dangerous if chewed or swallowed, so once the present-opening is over, bin everything swiftly. This also goes for stray packets of silica gel, often found in the packaging of new shoes, handbags or electrical equipment. Don’t leave children’s toys lying around as small parts can be swallowed.

Party poopers

A noisy gathering may unsettle your pets, so make sure they have access to a quiet room or familiar space, where they can escape from the hub-bub and over-the-top petting and treat giving from tipsy relatives or overexcited children. With all the comings and goings, check that doors are not left open, inviting pets to slip out unnoticed.

 

Sources: rspca.org.uk, bluecross.org.uk

Blog categories

Dogs

Dogs

Cats

Cats

Rabbits

Rabbits

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs

Small animals

Small animals