Festive Hazards and NutritionDecember 21, 2020
Christmas creates a fun, sociable, jolly season. A time to make memories with those closest to us. Especially this year – it may be one of the only times we get to spend quality time with friends and family without breaking the law. We do not want this special time of the year distorted by an emergency trip to the vets, so below we have listed a few tips to help.
December can be cold, dark and icy. This Christmas we need to make a special effort to ensure the weather conditions do not affect the frequency and length of exercise our pets receive. They, just like us, enjoy routine and exercise forms a large part of their routine. Be aware of the ice, choose pathways that have been gritted to prevent injury to both yourself and your pet! And don’t forget to wash off their paws when you return home – licking off the salty grit can cause them harm.
We are often extremely busy through December, but please remember to check that pets living outdoors do not get too cold. If you fear you may forget, set an alarm or leave a notice up in your kitchen to remind you. Check on them during daylight to check they are still safe and well. Many species hibernate so be sure to check if this process is occurring or not. They may need extra blankets and beddings inside and around the whole surface area of the cage to keep them warm. Ensure their water has not frozen – most pets do not know what to do with a solid ice block!
Additionally, even if you are busy, please do not leave your pets alone for too long. Young animals should not be left alone for more than 4 hours, or older animals for longer than 6 hours at an absolute maximum. Pets are likely to struggle more than usual this year, with so many people mainly working from home. Due to their limited experience of time alone, pets are more likely to suffer from separation anxiety.
A few common hazards and how to protect your pet from these hazards through the Christmas period:
When we think of Christmas, one of the first things that springs to mind is food! Food is such a key aspect to Christmas and I am sure many of us will overconsume. We need to make sure we keep these rich, tasty foods out of reach from our pets for many reasons.
The first reason being that many human foods are toxic to our pets.
To reduce the risk, which is often much easier than learning each and every toxic food, keep food out of reach of the pets and avoid treating them to small portions of our meals. Some of these toxic substances include raisins, grapes, chocolate, alcohol and onions. The higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the more toxic it is. If you do want more information regarding which other foods are toxic to your pet, please contact our team and we will be happy to discuss.
Secondly, humans require many more calories than our smaller pets and therefore our foods are much richer.
Over Christmas, we tend to choose richer foods too. These high calorie foods, toxic or not, by substance, can have a hugely negative affect on pet health and can cause stomach upsets. Any new food introduced to a pet could cause an adverse, unpredictable reaction so avoid doing this over your busy, festive period.
Ensure food is stored in secure packaging out of the reach of any pets, especially cats who may like to climb. Some pets find it especially fun to unwrap food gifts. This can be very dangerous! Do not leave unwrapped gifts under the tree, especially if you have a pet that likes scavenging.
Decorations are major hazards in the house.
Baubles and ornaments can be smashed and cause trauma to our pets, candles can be knocked over causing a fire, dangling objects can strangle pets and small parts can be choke hazards. Chocolate decorations can be very dangerous, as can Christmas tree needles, which can easily penetrate the paw, causing trauma and potentially infection.
Toxic substances such as antifreeze and window cleaners should be kept out of reach from pets and with their lids on very tightly!
Remember cats like to climb. These substances can be fatal if consumed. If any is spilt, please make sure it is cleaned up straight away.
This Christmas, why not have some fun and create your own dog friendly Christmas dinner?
This can include lean bits of turkey, carrots (boiled or raw) and unflavoured parsnips… dog food will do just fine though!
We all want to enjoy Christmas and keep it as safe and fun as possible. Our emergency team will always be able to answer the phone and help to resolve any queries you have. But please, let’s try to prevent these emergencies from happening as much as we can.