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A Pet Owners Guide to Pet Safety during Christmas and New Years Eve

A Pet Owners Guide to Pet Safety during Christmas and New Years Eve

The holiday season brings joy and warmth, but it also comes with its share of potential hazard for our pets. As you prepare to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, remember to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your furry companions. Through this guide we will discuss common dangers your pet may face during the festive season and provide some tips on how to keep them safe and happy. 

Festive Decorations and Ornaments 

One of the most enchanting aspects of Christmas is decorating the home with twinkling lights, shiny ornaments, and fragrant greenery. However, these decorations can pose risks to pets. 

Christmas Trees 

Start by securing your Christmas tree to prevent it from toppling over. Cats, in particular, may be tempted to climb the tree, leading to potential accidents. Choose a sturdy tree stand and place it away from your pet's favorite play areas. If your pet is interested in the Christmas tree redirect the play as much as possible and reward with high value treats and toys. 

Ornaments and Tinsel 
 
Ornaments and tinsel can be irresistible to pets, but they pose choking hazards and can cause intestinal blockages if ingested. Choose pet friendly ornaments made from non-breakable materials and keep fragile ones out of reach. Avoid placing tinsel in places where your pet can access it and play. Tinsel is often a choking hazard because of its shiny appearance attracting pets. 

Christmas Holiday Plants 

While festive plants add a touch of nature to your home, some common ones are toxic to pets. 

Poinsettias 

Poinsettias are popular Christmas plants, but they can cause mild stomach upset in pets. Keep them out of reach or opt for artificial versions to eliminate the risk. 

Mistletoe and Holly 

Mistletoe and holly are highly toxic to pets and can cause severe health issues if ingested. Choose artificial alternatives or place real ones well out of reach. If you decide to use real mistletoe, ensure it's of a pet-safe variety. 

Holiday Feasts and Treats 

The holiday season often means indulging in delicious treats, but not all festive foods are safe for pets. 

Toxic Foods 

Chocolate, grapes, onions, and alcohol are just a few examples of human foods that can be toxic to pets. Keep all holiday treats securely stored and remind guests not to share food with your furry friends. 
 
Bones and Fatty Foods 

Bones, especially those cooked, can splinter and cause serious injuries. Fatty foods can also lead to pancreatitis if too much is ingested. Be cautious about what your pet has access to and resist the urge to share leftovers from your holiday feast. 

Outdoor Safety 

In Australia we have scorching hot summers, especially around the Christmas time. If you are spending a lot of time outdoors, it’s important to put in some safety measures to protect your pet from the heat and other outdoor dangers. 

Heat stroke 

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious concerns for our pets, especially during long days outside in hot weather at the beach or other locations. Unlike us, pets have limited means to cool themselves down, making them vulnerable to overheating. Symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting, lethargy, drooling and even collapse. It’s crucial to keep pets hydrated, provide shade, and avoid hard activities during peak temperatures of the day. Never leave pets in a parked car, as temperatures can skyrocket within minutes, putting them at risk of heat stroke. If you suspect your pet is experiencing heat related distress, move them to a cooler area, offer water and if it worsens seek immediate veterinary attention. Preventing heat related issues involves being vigilant, adjusting outdoor activities to cooler times of the day and making sure pets always have access to water and shade. By taking these precautions, pet owners can safeguard their pets from the dangers of heat stroke and exhaustion. 
 
Watch out for snakes 

Snakes are starting to come out of hibernation as the weather heats up so if you are outdoors a lot this festive season make sure to keep a watch out for snakes. Snakes, whether venomous or not, can provoke defensive reactions in pets, leading to bites that may result in injury, poisoning and even death. Venomous snake bites can be particularly life threatening, causing severe pain, swelling and systemic effects. It’s essential for pet owners to be aware of the snake species in their region and take preventive measures, such as clearing brush and debris where snakes may hide and keeping pets on leashes in new places where snakes may hide. Educating yourself on local snake species and their habitats can help in identifying potential risks and help your veterinarian identify the snake if you do need to visit a clinic for anti-vemon

Creating a safe haven for your pet 

Designated Pet Space 

Create a safe and comfortable space for your pets away from the hustle and bustle of holiday activities. Provide their favorite toys, a cosy bed, and some background noise to help them feel secure. 

Microchipping and ID Tags 

With the increased activity during the holiday season, there's a higher risk of pets getting lost. Ensure your pet is microchipped and that their ID tags are up to date with your current contact information. 

Gift Wrapping and Packaging 

Wrapping Paper and Ribbons 

Gift wrap and ribbons can be intriguing to pets but can pose a choking hazard if ingested. Clean up wrapping materials and consider using pet safe gift wrap alternatives if your pet has a habit of wanting to rip up wrapping. 

Batteries 

Batteries are often found in holiday gifts and decorations. Keep them away from pets, as ingestion can lead to chemical burns or other serious health issues. 

Loud Noises and Fireworks 

How to keep your pet calm around noises 

Loud noises from holiday parties, fireworks, or even popping champagne corks can be distressing for pets. Create a quiet, comfortable space where they can retreat if the festivities become overwhelming. Consider using calming products like pheromone diffusers or calming collars such as Adaptil, Feliway and Zylkene. 

How to help your pet with firework noise 
 
If your pet is anxious about fireworks, you can take some measures to make them more comfortable with some of the tips we have shared. Desensitising your pet to fireworks and loud noises can help and items such as a Thunder Jacket can assist in anxiety. If your pet is extremely anxious over noise and it’s disrupting your everyday life, consider consulting your veterinarian for advice. Keep pets indoors during fireworks displays, and provide a safe, quiet space where they can feel secure. 

Christmas is a time for joy, and by taking proactive steps to ensure your pet's safety, you can enjoy the festivities without worry. From securing decorations to being mindful of holiday treats, a little preparation goes a long way in creating a happy and hazard-free environment for your furry friends. A safe and stress-free holiday season is the best gift you can give to your pets. 

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