As the tree goes up, the tinsel comes out and you head into full festive party mode, it's easy to forget that all these new sights, sounds and smells can be quite stressful for your pets. So to make sure your cats and dogs enjoy Christmas just as much as you do, we've asked Lucy Ross, Head of Training at Pets Corner, to share her top tips for creating a fun and fear-free festive season for the furry friends in your home.
We all know how fascinating a Christmas tree is to a nosy pooch or curious kitty, yet Christmas tree needles can cause your pets tummy troubles if they get a bit too interested and end up swallowing some.
- To avoid any stomach upsets, choose a 'non-drop' variety of Christmas tree and hoover up regularly.
- Keeping your tree well-watered should also help stop as many needles falling.
- Avoid leaving your pet unsupervised in the room with your tree.
- Avoid glass baubles as these could shatter and potentially cause an injury.
- Mistletoe, poinsettias and festive berries can also cause health problems to your pets if they rather fancy eating hem so keep these also out of reach of your animals.
Sadly, many of the foods we love to tuck into come Christmas time aren't suitable for our animals and could even prove toxic to them, so it's important to make sure no greedy paws find their way into our festive fare.
- Chocolate might be a wonderful treat for us but it is highly toxic to animals. If your pet has feasted on chocolate while your back was turned, seek advice from your vet.
- Nuts shouldn't be eaten my pets so make sure you don’t leave nibbles unattended if your curious pet is prone to tucking in.
- Grapes and raisins are found in many festive foods – such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake – and can cause serious health problems in your pets so ensure that you don’t leave these within their reach.
- Be on your guard and keep tempting foods away from your pet – and remember that their regular diet is far more beneficial than rich festive ‘human’ foods.
- Be mindful of where you store edible chocolate gifts as your pet may decide to help themselves, particularly if they fancy unwrapping the gifts beneath the Christmas tree early.
- Don't leave ribbons lying around the house as pets can get themselves in a unsafe tangle in these.
The wintry weather
- When the weather outside is frightful, make sure pets, like yourself, are kept nice and warm.
- You might want to consider getting a warm dog coat for walkies.
- Make sure anti-freeze is kept somewhere your pets cannot access as this tastes sweet to animals but just a tiny amouny can have really dangerous effects on your pet.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas for you and your pets!
There's more advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.