Christmas presents lots of dangers (tree needles, discarded gift wrap, food, alcohol, chocolate). Keep fatty meats and leftover cooked bones out of harm’s way, but bin it (don’t give it to birds as it can affect waterproofing and insulation, even if leftover buttered sandwiches). Don’t pour fat down the sink. Other items to keep out of the way include dried fruit (mince pies, Christmas pudding, cake), alliums (onion, garlic, leek) and nuts (esp. macadamia nuts).
- Keep Christmas lights, plastic/glass decorations and tinsel (tempting to cats) away. Avoid chocolate gifts in trees. For real trees (you can rent them) choose non-drop needles to avoid stomach punctures. Avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch (and fresh compost) near pets. See how to make your garden safe for pets.
- Many Christmas plants like holly, mistletoe, poinsettia and ivy are toxic to pets (as are many houseplants including lily and sago palm). See more on toxic houseplants to pets (don’t display foliage near windows, to help stop birds flying into windows).
- Avoid snow globes, these contain antifreeze (lethal, even in tiny amounts). If you do use them, keep them safely out of reach. Avoid gifts with pet-toxic silica gel.
- Don’t buy pets those ‘Christmas stockings’. Most are full of junk food that cause tum upsets. Just treat pets to a little extra food or normal treats, and take dogs on a nice safe winter walk instead.
- Avoid scented candles near pets (many creatures including cats, birds, ferrets & reptiles can’t break down essential oils). If used, choose unscented biodegradable candles (still avoid near pets, this post includes safety tips). Avoid pot-pourri near pets.
- Keep ‘Christmas food’ away from pets. Many items are toxic including chocolate (including Advent calendars), alcohol, nutmeg and nuts. If you eat meat, don’t let them near tempting turkey etc, as cooked bones are choking hazards. Also keep them away from ‘faux meats’ as many contain toxic ingredients like mushrooms, onion and garlic.
- Finally, be aware that large gatherings of family and friends can sometimes be traumatic for shy and elderly pets. So ensure they have somewhere quiet to retreat to, if everything gets too much.