Christmas with our Pets

A time for giving! But beware...


Christmas is such a special time to share with families and pets.

It is the time of year when we might treat our pets to some turkey or pop a present or two under the tree for them! Involving our pets at Christmas time is great fun for everyone. Here are some quick tips to keep your pets happy and safe over Christmas. Watch the foods they eat...

As we indulge in our favourite Christmas treats, it may seem like a nice idea to share them with our pets, but try to resist the temptation of feeding your pet leftovers from your plate. Care needs to be taken, because some foods and bones can harm your pet's health.

Turkey bones should not be fed to your pet as they may splinter and cause internal damage or become lodged. Sausages wrapped in bacon may seem like an ideal treat for your pet, but they are too salty and fatty. Onions found in stuffing can be toxic to pets as well.

Rich foods, which are often high in fat, such as a cheeses and mince pies can cause pancreatitis, flatulence and diarrhoea. Chocolate is a well known 'no-no' for pets, because it is poisonous and can cause arrhythmia. Be careful not to leave chocolates within reach, because their sweetness can be hard to resist!

Some other Christmas treats you should avoid feeding your pets are nuts, which can cause paralysis. Also fruits with pips in, such as clementines, which can be poisonous.

If you really want to treat your pet to a Christmas dinner, the OSCAR Helpline recommends some turkey breast with vegetables and gravy, as long as the gravy does not contain onions or added salt.

Christmas decorations and our pets...

Christmas trees and festive decorations can be interesting and novel to cats and dogs. Be careful not to allow free access to the Christmas tree if your pet appears interested, especially if there are decorations within reach. Artificial Christmas trees may be more suitable for houses with pets. The pine needles from a natural Christmas tree may stick into paws, get caught up in long fur or your pet may try to eat them. If you do have a real Christmas tree, clear up any fallen pine needles that drop throughout the day. Remember to be careful when placing presents under the Christmas tree, any food or chocolate may be too tempting for your pet to resist! Don't forget that your pets can smell through the wrapping paper...

Some pets may be scared by the flashing lights on a Christmas tree. You can help your pet to become familiar with the flashing by setting your lights to a slow or still sequence. Playing with your pet or feeding them a few tasty treats can help to build their confidence around the lights. Cover up any electrical wires so your pet doesn't try to chew or play with them. This will also avoid your pet getting caught up in the wires.

Christmas and family time with our pets...

Christmas can be an anxious time for dogs and cats amidst all the comings & goings of family and friends. Feeding treats can be a useful way to help your pets feel comfortable and relaxed over the festive period. If your dog becomes excitable when visitors arrive, it is a good idea to allow your visitor(s) to hand feed them a tasty treat, in reward for them being calm and not jumping up.

For dogs and cats who are elderly, nervous, or poorly, Christmas can be a particularly stressful time if their routine is interrupted. Hand feeding treats, when your pet is calm and relaxed, will help them to feel more comfortable around the family and enjoy the festive period.

Providing a den for your pet to escape to if they become stressed or anxious when the household is busy over Christmas, is a really good solution. Your pet's favourite place maybe under the table, behind the sofa or under your bed. By putting your pet's bedding in this area and allowing them to retreat here, you will help them to feel safe and secure. If your pet retreats to their den, friends and family should be asked to leave them alone.

We hope this advice is useful for you and your pet family. Maybe your friends and family would like to read this too? Please feel free to share...

If you would like any further advice on pets at Christmas time; give us a call on 0800 195 8000 or email or contact us and we'll call you back.

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