Holiday Safety Tips: Christmas

The holiday season has arrived! This is a very busy time, with a lot happening, and what better way to spend the holidays than with your pet?


Whether it’s setting up the decorations, or enjoying some delicious Christmas feasting, keep these tips and tricks in mind to ensure you pet is kept safe during this holiday season:


Don’t offer your pet food that is different than they would normally eat.  Giving foods that are generally meant for human consumption raises the risk of your pet experiencing vomiting and/or diarrhea as a result of a sensitive digestive system or, worse yet, developing inflammation of the pancreas, a potentially life-threatening condition.  Generally, it’s a good idea to discourage feeding bones to your pet, especially poultry bones.  They should never be given to or be accessible to your pet.  Bones can splinter when chewed, causing laceration, perforation or blockage of the digestive system when swallowed.


If you are keen on your pet sharing in the Christmas goodies, and you are confident they will not experience indigestion, vomiting and/or diarrhea, remember to offer food in small quantities, as a form of treat for your pet, and not a replacement for their usual diet.  Discourage your guests from feeding your pets at the table, as it makes it harder to track what your pet is consuming, and how much is being offered.  Instead, put the food in their usual feeding dish and monitor the amount they are being given. 


Providing a quiet place for your pet to get away from the main activity may help alleviate their stress, as well as decrease the likelihood of begging for food throughout the meal.  Baby gates can be used to block off a suitable area for your pet.  Supplying treats and toys can keep your pet occupied and stress free.


When setting up your Christmas tree, be cognisant of the decorations being hung.  To prevent injury and possible medical emergencies from arising, avoid glass ornaments, low-hanging lights, candles, treats, cookies, candies and/or tinsel.  Glass ornaments may break if a curious pet decides to play with it; low-hanging lights and candles can prove to be a fire hazard; inappropriate food can cause upset stomach; and tinsel can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.  In addition, do not put edible presents under the tree, as their smell might prove attractive to your pet.  Not only may certain gifts be unsafe if digested, but the bows, paper and tape used to wrap the present can also be harmful.


Holiday plants are also a decorative aspect that needs consideration.  Ensure that your pet cannot gain access to the tree water and ingest any of it.  It contains preservatives, which are sugar based and chemicals that are toxic to our pets.  Use a tree skirt, as well as barricades.  It is also important to prevent your pet chewing on either a live or artificial tree, as their needles are sharp and can irritate the mouth and digestive tract if eaten.  Furthermore, artificial trees are often made of synthetic material, such as plastic, which can cause major complications if ingested.  Other plants, including but not limited to, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, and lilies are all poisonous for our pets, and access to them should be avoided!


The staff at Tower Hill-Bathurst Animal Hospital wishes you and your loved ones a very

Merry Christmas!

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