Tips on caring for your pets this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 16:11 27 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:46 30 November 2015


The festive season is a special time for all the family, and that includes your pets. Deborah Satchell, the animal home manager at the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield, shares some top tips to make sure everyone enjoys their Christmas

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When it comes to caring for your furry companions over the festive season, you should be careful to avoid any christmas catastrophes. There are three main areas to focus on to make sure you and your pets have a Merry Christmas. These are food, decorations and guests.

Firstly, food. There are a number of festive foods you should avoid feeding, intentionally or accidentally, to your pet. Among them are cooked bones, onion, garlic, grapes, raisins, sultanas, chocolate, liquorice, nuts, avocado and alcohol. You should also watch out for non-food items such as lilies (pollen ingestion or on fur), holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, human medicines, Blu-Tack or other similar adhesives, charcoal and coal, packing foam and Silica Gel (found in packaging), matches, wax candles and crayons.

Any of the above can at the least cause stomach upsets but also more serious illness resulting in surgery or even death in severe cases. It’s important that you seek veterinary attention and advice if your pet ingests anything outside of their usual diet.

Then there are decorations to consider. Christmas tree decorations are often shiny, reflective and bite size. This is particularly tempting for adventurous cats and dogs. If you are lucky enough to have animals (or children) that take little notice of the tree, then no problem, but if not, then it’s worth avoiding certain types of removable decorations like tinsel, chocolate, sweets or those made of glass or brittle plastic. These may be ingested and can cause blockages leading to further complications.

Finally, the guests. Watch for doors being left open by guests which might allow your animals to stray. Try to keep to your normal routine as much as possible and provide a quiet place for your pets and make sure adults and children know to leave them alone when they are in their quiet place. For dogs this could be their sleeping area or, for cats, provide lots of hiding places at different levels. Make arrangements for care for your pets if you are going to be out for very long periods of time.

Perhaps, most importantly, know who to call in cases of emergency. Find out in good time which vets operate an emergency service, as your usual practice may not. And lastly, please don’t give pets as presents, as they often end up in rescue centres such as ours a few months down the line.

Get in touch

RSPCA Danaher Animal Home

Thorley Farm, Hedingham Road, Wethersfield, Braintree CM7 4EQ

0300 111 4321

The RSPCA Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield will stage an annual Toys and Treats event on Saturday, December 5 from 11am to 3pm where stockings are hung for animals and you are invited to come along and fill them. Refreshments are available.

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