Pet safety tips: Keep your pets safe and happy this Christmas and New Years Eve
The holiday season is upon us and it is important to ensure that Christmas and New Year are a happy and festive time for everyone, including our pets.
Here are our top tips and recommendations to help keep your pets, happy, safe and out of trouble this festive season.
Your Christmas tree
- Anchor your Christmas tree securely so it doesn’t tip or fall over if your pet decides to investigate. This video may make you giggle…as long as it’s not your Christmas tree and your pet getting in trouble! Putting the Christmas tree in a corner may help.
- If you have a real tree, ensure you clean up the tree needles regularly. They can be sharp and easily get stuck in your pet’s paws or throat.
- Cover the tree water so your pet can’t spill it or drink from it. This water can contain fertiliser and bacteria that can cause your pet to become nauseous or get diarrhoea if ingested.
- Hang your Christmas tree decorations up high so your pet can’t reach them. Pets love to play with baubles and tinsel but they can harm your pet’s digestive system if consumed. Baubles can also break and hurt your pet. If possible, choose non-breakable and non-toxic ornaments to minimise the risks.
- Avoid using tinsel, especially if you have cats, as it can be a serious choking hazard if ingested. Read more here on how to cat proof your Christmas tree.
- You could always erect a little playpen or fence around your Christmas tree to to keep your dog away from the tree and presents.
Christmas decorations & presents
- Place Christmas decorations, presents and wrapping items out of reach of your pet. Many cats and dogs love to investigate and play with ribbons and wrapped Christmas presents. Eating ribbons and paper, small items and kids’ toys can cause harm to your pet’s intestinal tract.
- Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Pets may knock them over and cause a fire or burn themselves. Use an appropriate candleholder and make sure candles are placed on a stable surface. Put the candles out if you leave the room, even if it’s only for a short time.
- Avoid mistletoe and holly. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. When ingesting holly, your pet can suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Most lilies are poisonous to pets too. Rather than fresh flowers, opt for artificial plants made of silk and plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
- Protect electric cords and flashing tree lights so your pet can’t chew them. Spraying citronella on cords and the plastic parts of lights may help to keep your pet away.
Eating & drinking
- No alcohol whatsoever for your pet. Keep alcoholic drinks out of your pet’s reach. Alcohol can make your pet weak and it could even cause them to go into a coma, possibly resulting in death.
- Keep the chocolate and sweets away. Chocolate and the sweetener Xylitol (found in many candies and gums) are highly poisonous to pets and can lead to death. Store them in a snap lock container that your pet won’t be able to open. Please keep all plates with Christmas sweets and chocolates away from your pet.
- Leave the leftovers. Don’t feed your pet any of the leftovers. Human food is often too spicy and fatty for our four-legged friends and can cause problems ranging from an upset stomach to pancreatitis. Any cooked bones are a no-no as they can splinter, and even small bones can cause tearing of the intestinal tract.
- Pet-proof your garbage. Garbage can smell very yummy to your pet and can contains all sorts of hazards, so make sure you put garbage away immediately and that your pet can’t access it.
- Give your pet some space of their own. A busy house full of guests and people who are strangers can be a bit overwhelming for your pet, and for some pets even scary. Your pet may try to hide or may be a bit over-stimulated, like young children get if there is too much going on. If so, it’s a good idea to give your pet a chance to rest and chill out by putting them in a room by themselves with something nice to chew on or to play with, some water and their bed. Sometimes a boarding kennel or using a pet sitter may be the better alternative for your pet’s, and your own, peace of mind.
- If your guests and their children want to interact with your pet, make sure your pet is comfortable with it. Ask your guests to be gentle with your pet. Dogs often don’t feel comfortable with being stared at, hugged or patted on the head, but may appreciate a scratch under their chin or a belly rub.
- Brushing up on your pet’s obedience training a few days before the visitors arrive can be very helpful to make sure your pet is on its best behaviour for the festivities.
- Share your pet house rules with your guests. This includes rules like if your pet is allowed on the couch, if certain rooms are off limits, to stay away when your pet eats its food, and so on.
- Keep your pet away from confetti and crackers. You don’t want them to ingest confetti or small items from crackers. Tell the kids not to scare your pet by throwing crackers at it.
- Protect your pet from loud noise and fireworks. Dogs and fireworks are often a dangerous mix as they can be very scary for your pet and possibly damage its sensitive ears. Make sure your pet is in confined in a secure area that it can’t escape from. Most pet escapes happen during thunderstorms or on New Year’s Eve. So make sure the area they are in is secure.
- Desensitise your pet to the fireworks noise. In preparation for your dog’s anxiety towards the fireworks noises, you can start to desensitise your pet to the noise beforehand. Find some firework sounds on YouTube or use the Soundproof Puppy Training app (iOS, Android) (not only for puppies) to play firework sounds while your pet eats its breakfast and dinner, as well as around 10 times per day just in the background. Keep the volume low until your pet is totally relaxed and almost ignores the sound, and then increase the volume slightly each day.
We (including our Mascot, Benji) hope these tips will help you to have a wonderful and safe holiday season with your pet. Please share them with your friends and family if you found them useful.
Enjoy the festive season and have a great time together.
Merry Christmas & Happy 2024!
A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment.
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