For many of us, pets are part of the family, and we’ll be looking to spoil them this Christmas. But it’s also very important to make sure we keep our pets safe during the festive season. Read on for more tips on keeping your pets safe this Christmas.
What Christmas food is safe for pets to eat?
Christmas Day may be about indulging in some of your favourite foods, but it’s not always safe to give these treats to your pets.
Poppy Baron, a Blue Cross Vet, told Express.co.uk it’s very important to remain vigilant at Christmas and make sure your dog or cat doesn’t eat anything that could cause them harm.
She added: “We love to hear so many owners involve their pet in their celebrations at Christmas, but we’d just urge them to be vigilant during the festive season as there are many hidden dangers to our pets, from toxic foods to dangerous seasonal plants and decorations.
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“Chocolate, sultanas and raisins, and alcohol are among the food and drinks that should be kept well out of sight of your pet to ensure you all have a safe and happy Christmas together.”
People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), the UK’s leading vet charity, also spoke to Express.co.uk about the dangers of Christmas food for our furry friends.
PDSA vet nurse Nina Downing said: “Raisins, alcohol and onions are just three ingredients that can potentially poison cats and dogs, causing severe illness.
“Foods containing these items, such as stuffing, gravy, mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, should never be given to pets. If they do get their paws on them, get advice from your vet straight away.
Christmas 2019: It’s not always safe to feed your pets Christmas food
“Raisins, sultanas and grapes can cause kidney failure in pets, sometimes even if only a few are eaten.
“Alcohol can cause severe illness and can cause long term health problems, pets are affected badly by amounts that humans can easily tolerate.
“Onions and garlic are also dangerous for pets as they can interfere with blood cell production.”
Chocolate also contains a chemical called theobromine, which is also very poisonous to our pets.
Pigs in blankets, nuts and dairy-based foods should also be avoided.
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And when it comes to Christmas food, you really shouldn’t give a dog a bone.
Nina added: “Leftovers can also be a potential hazard for pets. Bones shouldn’t be given to pets as they can be a choking hazard, and can splinter, causing internal damage.
“Bones can also get lodged in the stomach and intestines – a potentially fatal problem that often requires life-saving surgery.
“Even if these life-threatening problems are avoided, bones can cause our pets uncomfortable constipation.
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“When it comes to showing our furry friends how much we love them, spending time with your pet is by far the best treat!”
The PDSA also warn that pets need fewer calories than humans, and Christmas dinners aren’t good for our animal’s waistlines.
The sudden change in diet may also cause bad reactions in our pets, such as very upset stomachs.
For those looking to make a special Christmas dinner for their poochs, the charity Dog’s Trust have created a number of pet-friendly dinners HERE, including Mistletoe & Mutt’s Egg Nog and a special Cranberry and Turkey Gobble Gobble Festive Stew.
How to keep your dogs and cats safe this Christmas
It’s not just Christmas food which can be dangerous for our pets this time of year, but decorations and plants too.
And Christmas is a busy time in any household, with many of us hosting more people in our houses than usual.
This can be incredibly stressful for our furry friends, so feline welfare charity Cats Protection suggests some ways to help your cats feel safe this Christmas:
- Provide a hiding place somewhere quiet.
- Offer an additional litter tray away from busy areas.
- Use a pheromone diffuser to help calm them.
- Cats Protection also strongly advises against dressing up cats in clothing or accessories. These not only restrict movement and prevent cats from expressing their normal behaviour, but can also potentially cause injury if caught or snagged.
Raw or cooked onion and garlic, raisins, grapes and chocolate can all be poisonous to cats, so make sure your pet can’t access them.
A number of festive plants, including lilies, poinsettia, amaryllis and the berries from mistletoe and holly, are also poisonous so keep them away from your feline and canine friends.
The Dogs Trust also recommend you provide a quiet sanctuary for dogs too, with lots of fresh water, and make sure your dogs are not present when pulling crackers and party poppers, as dogs have very sensitive hearing.
And finally, make sure all of your Christmas ornaments are well secured, so your pet’s little paws aren’t at risk from smashed glass baubles, and don’t keep human treats under your Christmas tree.