Keeping pets safe in the home at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 15th Dec 2022

We are all getting into the Christmas spirit and pets are a big part of our families and can enjoy the festivities too. Whilst most of them like being pampered at Christmas when family and friends descend upon the home, it is important to try to keep them to as normal a routine as possible.

It is a time when there will be more temptation, novel tastes to explore and exciting smells around the home.

Christmas though can be hazardous for your animals if you’re not careful, food that may be delicious and toys and plants that are a big part of our Christmas can be highly toxic and dangerous for our pets.

Skinless and boneless white meat such as turkey is ok for dogs and cats, but be careful that it is not covered in fat, salt and gravy! (salt is a big no for pets)– and remember to watch your pet’s waistline too.

Kissing under the mistletoe may be fun for us people, but if a pet ingests this it can cause a dangerous drop in your pet’s blood pressure which may prove fatal.

At a time when we are filling Christmas puddings and cakes with raisins and currants, and grapes appear on our cheese boards, these if eaten can cause kidney failure in dogs

Chocolate can be easily sniffed out by dogs, but this is amongst the most dangerous food  – make sure you haven’t any chocolate decorations on the tree, as pets can sniff these out!

Poinsettia can cause bouts of nausea and vomiting and ivy is not good for pets either. Although pine needles aren’t particularly toxic, these can be swallowed so sweep up fallen needles daily

If you want to protect your Christmas tree from playful pets, here are a few tips to help

  • Select the right location for your Christmas tree, ensure it is not close to other furniture as this can provide a ‘jump-off’ point to get to your tree. Use mantel swags instead of garlands to decorate your mantel, since these don’t hang off the edges.
  • Before you decorate the tree, leave it up for a few days so that your pet will get used to having it in the house. Take your pets out of the room when decorating, animals may think you are playing a game when decorating the tree which may encourage them to pick at or swat later.
  • Make sure your tree has a strong and stable base and wrap tin foil around the trunk to prevent your pets from gnawing the trunk
  • Check your Christmas lights for any exposed wires or loose bulbs, this will reduce risk of ingestation or even electrocution. Use electrical cords that have an automatic cut off extension to provide further safety. Shiny Christmas lights are hard for your pet to resist, don’t let your dog get tangled up in them and leave the bottom branches of the tree light-free if possible
  • Secure your ornaments safely and keep expensive and fragile ornaments to the top of the tree
  • Tinsel and wrapping paper might be tempting for your pet to play with, but ensure that they don’t eat it
  • Use a bitter apple spray on the tree which is odourless to humans but offensive to pets, but if you do want an effective spray that keeps your décor smelling fresh then use a citrus spry.
  • Don’t leave batteries around the house – if swallowed these can cause an obstruction, chemical burns and metal poisoning

If it does happen to be a white Christmas, grit used to de-ice the roads and pavements contains sodium chloride (salt) which can be hazardous to pets. If dogs and cats get it on their paws or fur, they have a tendency to lick, but this poses a risk. Ingestion of salt by pets  can result in a high blood sodium concentration – this can lead to vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and kidney damage

Christmas is extra special when you have a pet at home, but make sure it is a safe and happy one for your pets.

If you are considering selling your home and would like a free market appraisal call David Phillip FRICS on 01134 676 400

David Phillip Estate Agents, 86, Leeds Road, Bramhope, Leeds LS16 9AN http://www.davidphillip.co.uk

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