Holiday Hazards

During Christmas, the holiday season usually means food, fun and time with our family and friends. Unfortunately it can be a difficult task to keep our furry companions safe over the Christmas holidays. Here a few simple tips to help avoid a trip the afterhours emergency vet!

Firstly, there is the Christmas tree!

  • Decorated in sparkling stringy tinsel, twinkling lights and shiny ornaments which are all very inviting to our pets.  Whilst most of these items aren’t toxic in their own right if ingested they pose serious risk of gastrointestinal blockages.  
  • Christmas tree lights go hand in hand with hazardous electric cords which are often confused by our pets as great chewing toys.
  • Then there are the presents…. although wrapped and disguised from our eyes, some with more pleasant aromas, like chocolates are easily sort out by our furry friends.
  • Ensuring our Christmas trees are pet proof is a must. By choosing a room that can be closed off, installing a baby gate to block a doorway or placing low lattice work around the tree can prevent access and keep a tree secure.  Also avoid placing objects and lights on the lower branches making a tree less inviting.   

Secondly, Christmas foods!

  • Many of the foods we consume over the Christmas period can be potentially hazardous and life threatening. Foods causing toxicities include chocolates, grapes and raisins found in Christmas puddings and mince pies, onions/garlic/leeks found in stuffing’s and sauces, foods containing artificial sweetener Xylitol and of course alcohol. 
  • Avoid feeding cooked bones from turkeys and hams. Cooked bones can easily splinter and are difficult to digest, posing a serious gastrointestinal risk.
  • High fat foods, including fat trimmed from meats can cause inflammation of the pancreas a very painful and life threatening condition.  

Thirdly, Christmas plants!

  • During the festive period it is common to decorate homes with Christmas plants or arrangements or be given flowers from guests. Poinsettia are very common Christmas plant and although are not particularly toxic can cause irritation to oral mucous and stomach, from being chewed upon, resulting in drooling and vomiting. Lilies are often very common to see in flower arrangements and are toxic/potentially fatal to cats.  Although real Mistletoe and Holly plants aren’t common in Australia it is worth noting that they can cause gastrointestinal upsets in our pets.

And lastly, don’t forget your pets!

  • Christmas time often means getting together with family and/or friends with people often coming in and out of your home. Guests often take away from the normal routine of everyday life.  As much as possible try to keep to regular feeding and exercise schedules and take time out to give your pets attention.
  • Some animals can become overwhelmed with all the festivities so ensure they have access to safe, stress free, quiet environments with readily available water and litter trays for cats.
  • It can be easy for a pet to sneak out with all the action going on. So make sure your pets are microchipped and/or their microchip details are up to date.