Christmas is a time of joy, love, giving and receiving (PRESENTS!). It can quickly become a horrible and expensive time if you have to take your pet to a hospital during the public holidays. Keep your pet safe during the christmas period by keeping in mind some very important tips.

  • Cats love christmas trees. They are three dimensional creatures, and will do their best to climb to the top, often toppling the tree, breaking branches and risking falls from an elevated position, or at least, dislodging all your favourite christmas decorations. Secure the base of your christmas tree or fence off your christmas tree from your four legged friends.
  • Do not hang chocolates from your christmas tree. Indoor dogs and cats can easily dislodge them from the tree, making them readily accessible to your pets. Chocolates are very toxic to dogs.
  • Cover up your christmas tree light electrical cords so your pet cannot chew them and electrocute themselves.
  • Try using christmas tree lights that don’t flash as your pet can become scared by them.
  • Avoid using glass ornaments or breakable ornaments as your pets may eat the contents. Avoid tinsel and ribbons as these can be easily swallowed, causing obstruction.
  • Christmas in Australia on a scorching summer’s day can leave your pet in hot water. Heat stroke is definitely a problem. Make sure over the silly season that your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water.
  • Holly, mistletoe, lillies and poinsettias are poisonous to pets, so take care when decking your halls this christmas.
  • Alcohol, Champagne and other christmas spirits may make everyone very jolly, but refrain from feeding it to your pets. Alcohol intoxication can leave your pet very ill.
  • Keep in mind that loud noises like christmas crackers, poppers, fireworks, champagne bottles and balloons may scare your pet.
  • Keep christmas wrapping paper and small decorations off the floor, to avoid your pets chewing and swallowing them.
  • Dispose of the strings from tied christmas ham or roasts quickly and securely, and keep your pet away from garbage bins. Make sure any turkey bones are not given to pets, as they can splinter in your pet’s mouth, get lodged in throats and windpipes, get stuck in intestines or perforate the stomach/intestinal wall.
  • Make sure you don’t over-indulge your pet with fatty trimmings, such as pork crackling, roast drippings, fatty sausages or other ‘people’ foods. Rich, yummy foods can cause gastric upset and can cause pancreatitis, which can make for a very unhappy christmas.
  • If you have a fresh tree, make sure you cover the water pot your tree sits in. Pesticides, fertilizers will leech into the water and will make your pet sick if they drink the water. Go for a tree skirt, or try adding something bitter or spicy to the water – tabasco sauce or pepper flakes will do the trick.
  • Always keep your local vet’s opening hours and phone number nearby in case you need it.

The most common reasons dogs visit vets over christmas are:

  • Gastritis/Enteritis
  • Lacerations or bite wounds
  • Soft Tissue Surgery
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Chocolate poisoning