Over 780% more cases of chocolate poisoning in pets are caused over Christmas in the UK, according to Vets Now pet emergency services. Even though most pet owners are aware of the toxicity of chocolate along with other foods like nuts, onions, and fatty foods, it is found that most dogs have still experienced a bout food poisoning during the holiday season. Just a few squares of dark chocolate can risk an average dog’s life.
1. Christmas lights & batteries: The ultimate anti-pet stuff
As with children, the same safety measures apply to pets. It is crucial to cover any wires and batteries and make them inaccessible to our pets. Our friends can easily be burned or even electrocuted by curiously chewing Christmas lights and their cables, while batteries can cause mouth and esophagus burns and internal injuries. In order to enjoy the holiday season with our pets, it’s important to steer pets clear of such dangerous decorations.
2. Christmas tree: Oh! you are not for pets.
Most of the people who can’t have Christmas without a Christmas tree prefer to decorate a real fir. Pine needles can be a great danger for your pet causing issues from vomiting and diarrhea, if swallowed,and swelling and mouth injuries, if chewed. Other than that, stagnant water from the tree can cause nausea or diarrhea in your pet. If you prefer an artificial tree there is also a reason to secure the area around it, because the thin strips of fake needles can also be swallowed and cause irritation and potential blockage to your pet.
In any case, make sure to secure and stabilize the tree to the ground so that it won’t fall and injure your pet. You can also use a playpen around it so it’s unreachable to curious paws. For cats, however, any security measure can be considered poor since climbing is their second nature, so a good idea could be a plywood Christmas tree cutout, a fake tree out of paper or wood, a triangle-shaped shelf with decorations on it, or maybe a tower of books in the shape of a tree.
3. Candles: Lights on, candles out.
Nothing brings the Christmas spirit into our homes like candles do. But if you are a pet parent, it is really crucial to never leaveburning candles unattended. Pets might easily burn themselves, their paws, and noses. They are curious to taste or smell the new thing and may even cause a fire by knocking over a burning candle. If you decide to light a candle, secure the table surface it is on and if you leave the room, remember to blow it out.
4. Chocolate: The never, ever pet treat
Our canine friends seem to adore chocolate, while cats don’t really go for it unless you give it to them. However, in both cases, chocolate is one of the worst food enemies for our pet’s well-being. Theobromine is a chocolate substance that can be found in higher amounts in darker chocolates and it is toxic for our pets. That means that every food that contains cocoa can be poisonous for both cats and dogs and put their life at risk.
Signs of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, hyperactivity, weakness, tremors, seizures, and worse than that, death. Fat and sugar, in general, can cause belly ache and lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
5. Tinsel & ribbons: Not pet toys
Even though both tinsel and ribbons seem like the perfect pet toy, it is the exact opposite of a toy since they can cause choking and blockages in an animal’s stomach. Cats especially seem to be really attracted to this sparkly, easily catchable toy. However, tinsel’s thin strips of sparkling plastic can be easily swallowed and cause bellyaches, vomiting, and obstructed digestive tracts. So, it’s much better to avoid decorating your home with these things.
6. Wrapping paper: Presents for your friends should be stored away from your pet.
Christmas is a season of exchanging gifts and many times creating our own unique DIY presents and wrapping decorations for our loved ones. In these cases, wrapping paper should be securely stored away from our pets’ attention. Eating a lot of paper can cause an obstruction in the animal’s stomach. Make sure to safely secure the areas where your friend is hanging out.
7. Other hazardous foods: Onions, garlic, raisins, and nuts
Allium species include chives, cultivated onion, shallot, garlic, scallion, and leeks which are all poisonous to dogs. Along with that, a tasty delicacy for us, blue cheese, can be also harmful to cats and dogsbecause of roquefortine C a substance which both animals are sensitive to. However, just like with chocolate, cats are not going for it unless you feed it to them.
Dogs are pretty unlucky when it comes to nuts and grapes, because they taste good to them, but most of them are toxic, especially macadamia nuts and raisins which can cause severe illnesses. On the other hand, cats are not really affected by nuts or grapes.
8. Sweets: Avoid anything with xylitol or sugar.
When it comes to sweet-pet-enemies it’s not only chocolate that we have to worry about. Pets can also suffer from human illnesses like obesity, diabetes, and dental problems. Anything that contains sugar or xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute, should be avoided. Some candies, gums, diet foods, and pastry goods might contain this ingredient that can cause severe effects in your pet like liver failure, a drop in blood sugar, and seizures. It’s better to keep our pets away from the festive table in order to avoid any mince pie and Christmas pudding stealing.
9. New Year’s noise: Take it down a notch.
The New Year’s countdown is usually accompanied by fireworks, loud noises, confetti, and noisy poppers. Most pets are terrified of loud noises, especially fireworks and poppers. The sensitive hearing of our pets can be damaged by these loud noises and get distressed. Plus, confetti can be eaten and need extraction by surgery. Make sure to avoid confetti and poppers in the house. And, near midnight, secure your pet in a quiet room with the shutters and windows closed with calming music on in order to help your friend feel comfortable and safe.