BY JIM BROWNE
Here at Country Squire Magazine we are the least alarmist people on planet earth and happily drink wine whilst puffing on cigars, listening to the wireless while perched on the edge of the bath.
Nonetheless we thought it wise, since it is the week of Christmas, to point out some of the potential pitfalls for our furry friends. So you can avoid the undue pain and hassle of emergency vet trips during the festive season.
Without wishing to sound at all nannyist, here’s our list of Christmas Dangers for Pets:
Chocolate is extremely poisonous to dogs. The more they consume the worse it is. Dark chocolate causes the most problems. We all eat a lot of chocolate and often receive it as gifts at Christmas time. Keep chocolate away from dogs and pets throughout the festive season. Advent calendars full of chocs are a recurring problem at this time of year as dogs and pets chew through sharp bits of plastic just to get to them, so keep them up high. Don’t expect a dog or pet to recover after eating chocolates. Be responsible pet owners and take them straight to the vets.
Tinsel is very dangerous for pets for numerous reasons. Firstly, they can get tangled up in it and even strangle themselves. Secondly, they may be tempted to eat it. Swallowing tinsel can cause major digestive issues and it can get stuck in their stomachs. If they try and eat it, they may choke on it. Take care when using tinsel on your tree and around your home in December.
Fairy lights present the same dangers as tinsel but there is also a chance of your pet getting electrocuted. Don’t let them anywhere near fairy lights as they may well be tempted to chew on them. The glass in some lights can also cut your pet and cause serious issues if they ingest it.
This may not seem like a serious problem but it is a big concern for pets. It’s so easy to overfeed pets over the festive season thinking we should spoil them as it’s Christmas. Don’t change their diet, stick to what you normally feed them. A lot of the foods we eat over Christmas are full of fat and your pet will pile on the pounds in no time. Obesity is an increasing concern for pets – it causes debilitating health and joint problems.
A lot of people have been led to believe that the poinsettia plant is deadly for pets and children, but this is a bit of a myth. The poinsettia plant’s brightly coloured leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and oesophagus. If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap. Severe reactions to the plant or to the pesticide included in most Poinsettia pots include seizures, coma, and in some cases, even death.
Alcohol is very toxic to dogs. It can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation, cardiac arrest, seizures and occasionally kill them. Keep an eye on your pets when you are drinking alcohol to make sure they don’t try and pinch any. Also, be aware of foods that contain alcohol such as boxes of liqueur chocolates.
Cooked meat bones
Take care when throwing away cooked meat. Your pet could try and get into the bins and eat the bones. Cooked bones can be very dangerous to pets as they can splinter and get stuck in their stomachs. Dispose of all meat safely where your pet can’t get to it. You may want to invest in a special rubbish bin that your pet can’t get into.
Raisins and grapes
Both grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. Raisins are also in lots of different foods that we eat such as mince pies and Christmas pudding, so avoid giving your dog anything that might contain raisins. Raisins can cause kidney failure in some dogs.
Believe it or not, your Christmas tree is also a hazard to your pets. Make sure it is placed in a safe place in the home and is securely properly. The last thing you want is for your Christmas tree to fall on top of your pet, some of the larger trees can be extremely heavy. If you have a natural tree you also need to be careful with the needles as they can get stuck in your pet’s feet and fur. If swallowed they can cause severe stomach issues. The water used to keep a Christmas tree nourished can also cause issues if your pet tries to drink it.
Christmas tree decorations
All those fascinating decorations you put on your tree can be very intriguing to pets. They are in fun shapes and sizes and look like the perfect toys to play with. They are not. Christmas tree decorations are not made for pets and contain harmful things that your pet could swallow. Make sure your tree decorations are kept well out of reach.
Mistletoe and holly
Mistletoe and holly are also poisonous for pets. Holly can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and mistletoe can cause mild gastrointestinal irritation. Other plants that are dangerous include lilies and daffodils.
Have a safe and wonderful Christmas!