Keep your pets safe and healthy during the festive season

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve fast approaching it’s time for a short blog post on how to keep your pets safe.

Bobby with tree 2012
Bobby with tree 2012

 We are lucky with our moggie as she is pretty unfazed by the whole Christmas thing. She tends to ignore the tree with its decorations, but often gets playful when we actually hang things up or wrap our presents. She isn’t much interested in naughty food and only begs when we prepare prawns or fish. Why am I telling you this? Well, because not all cats are like Bobby – especially when they are very young and super nosy – and that’s the time when things can go wrong and you may end up at the emergency vets.

So here are my tips to keep your nosy cat or dog out of serious trouble:

  1. If you have a tree – hang baubles high and away from excitable paws. Also you might want to opt for baubles that are not made out of glass and therefore won’t break as easily. The same goes for lights, tinsel and ribbons – these are best kept out of reach.
  2. Keep candles out of reach too!
  3. Don’t keep batteries lying around!
  4. When wrapping presents – make sure your nosy moggie or pooch stays away from sellotape, glue, blue tack and scissors.
  5. Keep your pets away from anything that is poisonous: this includes the popular poinsettia, which can be fatal for them. Chocolate, grapes, sweets and liquorice, are also toxic to cats and dogs. Don’t be tempted to share your Christmas turkey with your pets, as they could choke on tiny turkey bones, while the rich gravy, the stuffing and even the raisins in Christmas puddings could prove to be fatal if eaten by your pet.
  6. Don’t share your rich festive food with your pet. Only because you want to pig out, doesn’t mean your pet should. The only treats we allow Bobby are prawns – which we usually defrost in an egg cup and mash it up for her. Low in calorie, rich in nutrients. So if you want to avoid your pet from getting seriously ill with indigestion, sickness, diarrhoea or even gastroenteritis and pancreatitis – stick to his or her normal diet.
  7. Boxes are great for cats to hide in and they love boxes – but plastic bags can be dangerous and should be kept away.
  8. If you want to spoil your pet over Christmas – take your dog out for extra walks, play more with your pets and instead of an unhealthy treat, give them a toy. You can make lots of toys yourself. Both cats and dogs are easy to please and happy with a box, old socks, and tennis balls or small paper balls. Cats also love to chase a laser dot on floors and walls -just make sure not to point the laser directly at your cat’s eyes.
  9. New Year’s Eve is the time of year most dog owners dread. While cats tend to just hide away, dogs find it harder to cope with the noise. So keep your pets indoors and give them options to hide away in a safe place. Our cat can pretty much go and hide in the house wherever she wants to – she is fairly unfazed by fireworks and sometimes actually watches them. However we tend to shut the cat flap once she’s in – just in case. Some owners sedate their dog in the hope to calm them down, but timing is crucial and it doesn’t always work out. A friend of mine tried this with her dog one year, unfortunately the effect wore off when the fireworks started and the poor dog was howling for the entire time. Please keep your dogs indoors. We had posters in our neighbourhood of dogs who went missing in November during Guy Fawkes.
  10. And finally – in case an accident does happen, have your emergency vet’s phone number handy. Here’s a useful link which also helps you finding a vet in your area. 


Bobby with our tree last year - this year it will have different decoration, but we haven't put our tree up yet.
Bobby with our tree last year – this year it will have different decoration, but we haven’t put our tree up yet.

You can also download a free pdf guide on “Pets and Poisons” here from the Animal Welfare Foundation.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post – please comment below and share it with your pet owning friends.

I wish you a Happy Christmas – without any trips to the vet.


Paw tree decoration made with polymer clay.
Paw tree decoration made with polymer clay.


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