While it may be the most wonderful time of the year for many, Christmas can actually be one of the most dangerous seasons for our pets.
Every year thousands of pets are rushed into veterinary practices after coming into contact with one of the numerous hazards Christmas brings with it.
From swallowing Christmas decorations to accidental poisonings caused from eating festive foods, vets often face a particularly busy period in the lead up to Christmas.
To help keep the number of emergency visits to veterinary practices to a minimum this year, vets are offering advice on how to best keep pets safe and healthy throughout the festive season.
Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “It’s important we don’t forget about our pets, and keep an eye on them over the busy festive period.
“One of the biggest issues is pets suffering from accidental poisoning, after ingesting Christmas treats.
“While most owners know how toxic chocolate can be to pets if eaten, there are a whole host of other Christmas foods that can make pets seriously ill, including raisins, nuts, grapes, Christmas pudding, mince pies, onions and garlic.
“It can tempting to give our pets some leftover meat too, but this can be dangerous, as any remaining bones could be a choking hazard.
“Dogs in particular are likely to sniff and seek out any food, so it is therefore important that all Christmas foods are kept well out of the reach of our inquisitive pets to avoid any emergency trips to the vets in the middle of Christmas dinner.”
But it isn’t just food that poses a threat. Pets are naturally such inquisitive and curious creatures, and so they are likely to want to investigate any new objects and decorations around the house at Christmas.
A Christmas tree not properly secured could be toppled by a cat climbing on it, and decorations, lights and wires can all be tempting for pets looking for something to nibble or chew.
Vaccuuming up pine needles is also important so they can’t get stuck in your pet’s paws or be a temptation for them to eat.
And many traditional Christmas plants are also very toxic to pets if ingested, such as mistletoe and poinsettia.
Dr Stacey added: “Finally, Christmas is a time for families to come together, celebrating, having festive parties, pulling crackers and maybe even enjoying a few fireworks.
“All this commotion and noise can be very distressing for pets, so make sure you create a safe, cosy den for them in a quiet area of the house with all of their favourite toys, which they can easily escape to.”
For more pet advice, Vets4Pets Festive Advice