The season to be jolly is once again upon us!  However to quote our wise and wonderful Prime Minister it is also the season to be “jolly careful” and I speak of course about our beloved pets (I think we all need a little break from the relentless talk of Covid safety – so let’s focus on our fur babies this Christmas)

  • I am going to start with what I feel is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you for the Christmas season.  Please be really, really careful where you store and have any products that contain chocolate, sultanas and raisins (i.e mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolate tree decorations etc) – these are extremely poisonous to dogs and the last thing anyone wants over the Christmas period is an emergency trip to the vet to induce vomiting, especially after the year we have already had!
  • Think about where you want to leave any Christmas presents, we all know under the tree is the traditional and logical choice.  However just remember if presents are on ground level and accessible to cats and dogs they are naturally inquisitive creatures (with a great sense of smell) and they may be tempted to investigate and it could result in the destruction of your beautiful gift wrapping skills and will negate the ‘do not open before Christmas’ instructions.
  • Also it is worth thinking about how low down on your tree you want to put the lights and where any leads and cables will be sitting (this one is especially important for any new puppy parents this Christmas).  You don’t want your pup chewing through a cable and making his eyes light up like the decorations!
  • If you have a lovely real tree in your house then you will be familiar with the curse of the dreaded pine needles constantly falling off, I sometimes feel if you sneeze too close to the tree a cloud of needles drop off.  These can prove rather painful if they get stuck in your pet’s paws or gums from chewing, so hover up any fallen needles on a regular basis.
  • We all look forward to our lovely roast turkey Christmas dinner, but please don’t be tempted to treat your dog to some, especially if there are bones!  Turkey and chicken bones are very dangerous to dogs, they can splinter and cause severe stomach and intestinal damage – again no one wants a trip to the vet!  Give them a lovely dog friendly treat while you have your Christmas dinner! 
  • Now that we are hopefully allowed to visit some friends and family over Christmas just be aware that you pets have probably become very accustomed to your constant presence in the house this year and they may not take too kindly to being left alone for long periods of time.  So consider how long you will be away and perhaps leave on some white noise such as the radio or television and if you are really unsure about leaving them then why not contact Friends for Pets – we can offer visits, day care, boarding and much more (and many of our pet carers are working over the holidays).
  • Crackers!  We all love a cracker at Christmas, however if you have a nervous pet, just be aware they may find the loud bang distressing (the same with party poppers on New Year’s Eve).  Also watch out for the little prize inside which is often small and plastic and could pose a choking and swallowing hazard for many pets.
  • Fireworks!  These are becoming more and more popular and not just at Halloween and Bonfire night – if you are worried about how to help your dog through this then check out the advice given in our Halloween blog

Surviving Halloween and fireworks night with Pets! – Dog Walking blog by Friends for Pets

  • With the colder weather setting in we have already seen some frosty mornings where the car needs defrosting before we can go anywhere.  Again just be careful with the use of and where you store anti-freeze, the smell is very alluring to pets (for some strange reason) and even the smallest amount ingested can prove toxic and possibly fatal.  So wipe up any spills, no matter how small, and store bottles and cans out of reach.  This is good advice for children too!
  • With winter comes cold and soggy walks.  Make sure you wrap your dog up well before heading out for that walk, and be aware that snow and frozen pavements can be rather chilly on the pads of their feet, also grit can act as an irritant on their paws so be sure to wash their feet when you get back home.
  • If you are making the most of being able to have friends and family over again just bear in mind your pets have probably become used to having their house to themselves and lots of peace and quiet.  Be aware that lots of hustle and bustle may cause your pets stress, so it is a good idea to provide them with a quiet room they can retreat to if it all becomes too much for them.
  • Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… ah sounds lovely but let’s make sure we don’t roast our pets as well.  Never leave your pet with an open fire or flame (such as a candle) it poses a significant fire risk.
  • Be aware of toxic plants – Holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are toxic to dogs, so think carefully where you place them, or better still go artificial, they look just as nice and are a lot safer for your dog!

All that’s left to be said is that from everyone here at Friends for Pets we hope you have a wonderful and safe Christmas and a very happy New Year!