5 ways to keep your pet safe this Christmas

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of Christmas and forget all about the safety of your pet. But, with Christmas comes a few added risks to our four-legged friends. Low-lying Christmas decorations, a house full of guests, hot weather and the temptation of Christmas food all pose risks to our pets, so we've put together a few top tips to help keep your pet safe and stamp out stress during the silly season!

1. Don't treat your pet with Festive Food

It can be hard to say no to your pet, especially when they've perfected those puppy dog eyes, however, festive food can pose some serious risks to your pet's health, so don't give in and make sure you restrict your pet's access to any of the flavoursome treats you' cooked up for your human guests. It's particularly important for you to keep your pet away from Christmas pudding and fruit cake, chocolate, avocado, alcohol, onion, pork, raisins, lollies, ham and macadamia nuts. If you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn't have, seek help from your veterinarian immediately and be on the look out for any changes in your pet's behaviour that may indicate they've been exposed to something they shouldn't have been - signs include vomiting and diarrhoea, panting and twitching.

2. Restrict their access to Christmas decorations

We all know how tempting low-lying baubles can be to children and it's just the same for cats and dogs. However, a glass or even plastic bauble in a pet's mouth can result in serious trauma so should be hung towards the top of the tree. Similarly, any edible decoration such as candy cane or chocolate should be kept away from your pet. While your pet may also be fascinated by tinsel or Christmas lights, these can put your pet at risk of choking or electric shock and should also be avoided in a pet-friendly home!

3. Tidy up after wrapping... and unwrapping

It's great to be laid back at Christmas time but remember to prioritise the tidying up when it comes to clearing up wrapping paper and ribbon. If your pet chews on these, it may result in a visit to the vet as both paper and ribbon can prove dangerous to your pet's intestines! On Christmas day, have a bag or box handy to tidy away any ribbon and wrapping paper quickly, then remove it from any area your pet has access to so you know they're safe.

4. Create a safe space for your pet

An onslaught of visitors, music and presents can be stressful even for the most social of pets. Create a quiet, safe space for your pet to retreat to if they need and, if you have visitors coming over, make sure you take your dog out for their walk or other exercise prior to their arrival, so they're more likely to nap when the festivities begin.

5. Keep your pet cool in the hot weather

Christmas often brings with it a rise in temperatures, which can lead to heat stroke in pets if you're unprepared. Keep your pet hydrated and cool, and brush up on the signs and symptoms of heat stress in pets so you know to seek veterinary help if you suspect they're suffering. For more information on heat stress click here.

Of course, Christmas is a great time to spoil your pet, too, and we know your pet will be showered with extra love and attention this year.