'Tis the season for safety

Celebrate safely: Christmas is a time for celebrating with friends and family. That includes your two, four or no legged friends but you do have to be aware of possible dangers around the home that can cause issues for your pets. Photo: Shutterstock.

Celebrate safely: Christmas is a time for celebrating with friends and family. That includes your two, four or no legged friends but you do have to be aware of possible dangers around the home that can cause issues for your pets. Photo: Shutterstock.

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Sharing may not be caring: While we all love indulging in a big Christmas dinner, the food you enjoy may not be safe for your pets. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sharing may not be caring: While we all love indulging in a big Christmas dinner, the food you enjoy may not be safe for your pets. Photo: Shutterstock.

The festive season is one to be enjoyed by all the family and this should also include some quality time with your pets, however there are a few hidden dangers for your pets around Christmas time that you should always be wary of.

Dr Julia Broughman is a senior vet at Duncan McGinness Veterinary Surgeons (DMVS). She said that while festive foods are to be enjoyed by all, they can be hazardous to your pets. 

“There are many foods that are toxic to pets including all types of chocolate, along with grapes, raisins and sultanas which are found in Christmas cakes, pudding and fruit mince pies. Even food such as onions, garlic and leeks, commonly used in stuffings, macadamia nuts, old leftovers, and any alcohol can be unhealthy for your pets,” she said.

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Giving your pets cooked bones should also be avoided as they can splinter and cause intestinal tearing causing peritonitis which can be life threatening. Batteries for new toys left lying around are also toxic to dogs and cats if chewed or swallowed.  

If consumed in even small amounts, all of the items mentioned can cause serious illness and need urgent attention. Stick to the food your pets are used to and try to feed them at the same times that you are eating.

Christmas is also a lovely time to brighten up the house with decorations, tinsel, fairy lights, candles and more. Dr Broughman advised that this is another thing to be wary of, “Some pets love to chew or play with decorations which is a blatant electrocution hazard.”

“There is also the risk of choking on ribbons, candles and ornaments, and decorations hanging on trees are a particularly dangerous hazard for playful pets,” she said.

Fireworks can distress your pet so it’s advisable to keep your pet indoors, especially if you’re out during New Year’s Eve fireworks. The same applies if your neighbour hosts a loud party.

If you have any concerns about your pet’s health over Christmas, call your vet.

Christmas in Australia means hot weather. Remember to keep your pets cool and out of the heat, and provide plenty of water so they stay safe and can enjoy the fun at Christmas too.

Dr Julia Broughman - Senior Vet (DMVS)