Christmas time is a season of celebrations, family time and enjoyment, but every year accidents happen that can endanger our pets’ lives. To avoid spending Christmas holidays at the vet’s emergency waiting room with a sick animal, here is a quick reminder of all the possible dangers.
Warm weather: with the hot blazing noonday sun please keep your pets in the shade, off hot roads and pavements, and well hydrated with a constant supply of fresh drinking water.
Christmas decorations: tinsel can be very dangerous if ingested and can even require surgery to be removed. Christmas trees can easily fall down on jumping dogs and especially cats, so remember to secure your tree properly. Christmas lights must be well protected from cats and puppies as biting into a light cable can cause electrocution and fires, and larger dogs can get tangled in the wires, so do not leave them on unattended. If you think your pets are likely to bite wires, consider getting battery operated ones (taking care to shield the batteries). If you notice your pets trying to bite decorations, especially sharp or easily breaking ones, move them out of reach.
Batteries: many Christmas presents and toys require batteries, and button batteries are especially dangerous due to their small size and easy of swallowing. Ingested batteries can cause severe intestinal bleeding and chemical burns.
Cakes and sweet things: mince pies and many puddings contain raisins, sultanas, currants and nuts, all of which are toxic to dogs (particularly macadamia and cashew). Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) and chocolate are also both very dangerous to dogs.
Nyama choma and other fatty foods: grilled meat is irresistible to dogs and cats but any greasy and salty food (ham, sausages) in large quantities will cause intestinal problems and risk of organ damage. Additionally grilled meat often contains bones that can puncture the intestines. If using wooden skewers while grilling food remember to dispose of these quickly as because of food residue and smell, your pets might mistake these for food and attempt to eat them.
Candles: don’t leave candles burning unattended even if you think they are out of reach from your animals. If you own a pet bird, remember that scented candles can cause problems to their airways.
Noise level: as with fireworks, some dogs get stressed with high noise levels (music, loud voices, doorbells etc) so make sure your pets have a quiet safe place to retire to if necessary.
Wishing everyone a peaceful, delightful, and accident-free holiday period!
Article by: Dr. Laura Wessman