Christmas presents for our pets

It’s that time of the year again!  Some people just love Christmas shopping -  spending time looking for and choosing gifts for friends and family.  But what should we buy for our pets?

As very important members of the family, it is only natural that we want to make sure that our pets receive presents at Christmas time; but we need to think about what things are appropriate and, more importantly, what things are safe.

As I walk through the supermarket and browse the internet, I am amazed at what people think is appropriate for our pets.  A variety of knitted jumpers, hats and even socks with and without fur trimmings.  Dressing your dog or cat in a Santa suit might make you feel good, but, a word of caution; leaving your pet dressed up on Christmas day could cause him/her to overheat.  They may also attempt to chew through it and, in doing so, accidentally swallow wool or fake fur resulting in urgent veterinary treatment.

There are so many Christmas-treat toys: pigs in blankets, turkey and cranberry stuffed bones, mixed treat and toy selections boxes and stockings, to say nothing of the variety of chew sticks and rawhide bones.  Many of these are imported from China and are processed via several chemical treatments, some of which involve toxic chemicals.  Please think before you buy! If your pet is not used to having these highly processed treats, they may end up with digestive upsets. Also, don’t forget that highly palatable treats and bones could trigger potential resource guarding behaviours.  Rawhide chews can become very slippery once they have been chewed for some time and it can be extremely difficult to remove them from a dog’s throat if he/she starts to choke.  This is also the case with many of the toys such as sprout balls, Christmas pudding toys, squeaky turkey legs or Santas with bells inside.  Look at these toys and think how easy it might be for your dog to chew through the plastic/rubber and possibly choke.

Don’t forget that the house may also be full of new toys given to the children; try not to leave these lying about - especially if there are small parts to them. Your dog might find little Lego bricks very interesting and easy to swallow, and that special doll may look and smell very similar to his own Christmas pudding toy …

Make sure you buy your pet the sort of toys that will keep him/her occupied while you enjoy the festivities.  Appropriate toys (such as snuffle mats, interactive toys, puzzle feeders or treat balls) will occupy them safely and give them some much-needed stimulation and distraction.  By doing so, you will all be able to enjoy a safe and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

If you would like any further advice on our blog “Christmas presents for your pets”, please contact the OSCAR Helpline on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk

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