The most joyous time of the year for many people can be filled with hazards for your furry friends.
And we’re not just talking about that ludicrous festive outfit that you like to dress Fido up in. Putting embarrassment in the doggy park aside, there are some real risks that you should be aware of.
Thankfully, most pets know to refrain from marking their territory on the Christmas tree. However, they don’t seem to realise that decorative baubles are not as fun to eat as their sparkly coating might suggest. As most of them are actually made of glass, try to keep them as high up the tree as possible.
Also, watch their paws with the pine needles. Dogs are good at hiding when they’re in pain, so check regularly to make sure they don’t have anything stuck in their pads. A good way to help prevent this is by making sure that the tree is well watered, so that it doesn’t dry out and drop so many needles.
Dogs love a good party. So much so that while you’re busy shovelling yule logs down your throat, the crafty canine is getting sozzled in the corner on your mulled wine.
Unsurprisingly, dogs are absolute lightweights when it comes to alcohol and even a swift half can cause liver damage. So, even though everyone else is getting merry, make sure you keep alcohol in a place that only humans can reach.
Playing with tinsel
Tinsel just screams Christmas, and it’s pretty cute wrapped around your pet’s collar too. However, it’s not great for chewing on. If tinsel gets ingested it could cause a bad stomach ache, or worse, an emergency trip to the vet. So save yourself a lot of grief and make sure the glittery garlands stay on the tree.
For kids, Christmas means presents. And that means wayward pieces of Lego and other trappings all over the floor which could end up in your pet’s mouth, or worse, their stomach.
If you don’t already own one, it may be worth investing in a baby gate to separate the kids toys from inquisitive jaws. By keeping them in separate rooms you can relax, instead of worrying about what might happen.
Those big red leafy plants called Poinsettias that seem to fill supermarket entrances in December should be kept well away from your pets. They may look lovely, but they harbor a toxin that could cause serious harm if eaten. If you do buy one, or are lucky enough to receive one, make sure it’s kept well out of paws reach.
If the carefully-wrapped present from your Nan happens to contain chocolate, you’re more likely to find it shredded in your pet’s bed than under the tree come Christmas morning.
And if that game of Scrabble you asked for turns out to be a selection box, you can guarantee that someone will have their teeth in the Chomp before you realise you’ll need to think of something else to play on Christmas day.
While pets (and dogs in particular) love the smell of chocolate, it contains a substance called theobromine which their systems can’t handle. So do them a favour and keep the sweet stuff hidden
Keeping all dangers at bay isn’t going to be easy at such a hectic time of year, but just remember that the extra vigilance could mean you’ll be sleeping off your roast dinner on the sofa instead of rushing to the vets in a panic come Christmas afternoon.