Christmas is nearly here and, while it’s an enjoyable time of year, it can provide many new problems for your pets. Andrew, our vet has put together some handy tips to help ensure you and your pets have a fantastic festive period, free from any pet problems.
Christmas tree dangers
As a pet owner Christmas can throw up some difficulties and some potential dangers to our pets. First up, the tree. Cats are natural climbers and a new Christmas tree offers a great opportunity to do so. Investing in a good sturdy base is a must, this will help to anchor your tree. Should your cat manage to climb up or leap onto the tree it shouldn’t topple over. Placing your tree in the corner of your room will also help with this. However the key here is to stop or at least be forewarned if your pet is likely to jump onto your tree. Try placing obstacles around the base of the tree or something that will make a noise if your pet gets close. Aluminium foil works well in these cases, it is light and makes a noise most cats do not like and will give you fair warning. If needs be try fencing off your tree. Please be careful with any wires, if you can taping them to the wall or the skirting will help to avoid any tangle dangers. Finally always remember to turn off the lights before you go to sleep. You may be sleeping but who knows what you pet is up to.
Avoiding gut obstructions
There are numerous items that can cause potential gut obstructions around the house at this time of year including: tinsel, ribbon, string, packing materials, pine needles and more. When it comes to choosing your tree try to pick a tree that does not drop its needles. These can be sharp and if swallowed cause problems inside your pet’s gut. Pine needles can also be very painful if they get caught in your pet’s foot pads. Make sure you keep edible presents out of reach until Christmas Day itself. Remember your pet’s have an incredible sense of smell, especially dogs, and something nice and smelly under the tree can be very tempting.
Decorating the tree is always a fun activity for the family but remember the shiny decorations are very tempting to cats. Try not to place anything electrical at the bottom of the tree, it’s best to keep fairy lights out of reach of jumping paws. Also try to place any tinsel higher up the tree, this is shiny and may look like an interesting thing to eat from your pet's view, possibly leading to a gut obstruction or strangulation. Finally, it’s obvious but worth pointing out, please do not place any burning candles anywhere your pet can reach them.
Following these simple rules should help to minimise any dangers Christmas can provide to your pets and allow you all to enjoy a very merry Christmas.