With Christmas just around the corner, families throughout the UK are excitedly preparing for the upcoming festivities.
However, whilst it may be the most wonderful time of the year for us humans, it can be one of the most dangerous times for our pets.
As well as festive cheer, the holiday brings numerous hazards to the nation’s pets, from decorations to festive foods, and vets often face a particularly busy period in the lead up to Christmas.
Statistics revealed that in 2014, one in ten vets treated dogs who had eaten Christmas decorations and 69% of vets saw cases of chocolate poisoning during the festive season.
To help bring down these figures, vets are sharing advice on how to keep pets as happy and safe as possible this Christmas.
Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Christmas can be a very hectic and busy time, but it’s important that pet owners remember to keep an eye on their pets throughout the festive season.
“Pets are naturally very curious, so will be tempted to try and eat any of the new treats and objects around the house during Christmas.
“A great tradition at Christmas for many families is decorating the house and tree, but this activity can bring a lot of risks to pets if not managed correctly.
“Cats love to climb, so make sure your tree is securely anchored so they can’t pull it over and injure themselves. Hoovering up any stray pine needles will also help, as they can easily get stuck in a pet’s paw and cause irritation.
“Most pets will be tempted to eat tinsel and baubles, so keep them well out of your pet’s reach, and any wiring for lights should be hidden so pets can’t shock themselves if they try to nibble on them.”
One of the biggest pet welfare problems reported around Christmas is food, with vets recording numerous cases of pets falling ill after eating festive treats.
Chocolate isn’t the only common cause of accidental poisoning, as many of the classic Christmas foods can be toxic to pets.
“Pet owners should always avoid giving their pets any of the Christmas dinner leftovers, as it can cause accidental poisoning or remaining bones may get stuck in the pet’s throat, leading to emergency visits to the vets on Christmas Day,” added Dr Stacey.
“Most pet owners may be aware of how toxic chocolate can be for pets, but there are a whole host of other foods which can make pets seriously ill. These include raisins, nuts, grapes, Christmas pudding, mince pies, onions and garlic.”
Christmas means spending time with family and friends, eating, drinking, pulling crackers and sharing gifts, and whilst this may be enjoyable for most, all the commotion can be distressing for pets.
“Loud noises can be overwhelming for pets, so a house full of new people celebrating and setting off fireworks can be a scary experience for many pets,” said Dr Stacey.
“Therefore to help keep them calm, we suggest that owners make sure their pet has a quiet place in the house where they can go to relax.
“We want both pets and their owners to have an enjoyable time this holiday, so pet owners only need to follow our simple precautions in order to have a merry, incident free Christmas this year.”
For more information on Christmas pet advice, please visit www.vets4pets.com