It’s that joyous time of year again, and whether you’re going all out this Christmas, or are planning a more low-key affair, a national vet charity is warning pet owners of the many dangers that come on the big day.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “There are lots of hidden hazards that we don’t realise could be harmful to our four-legged friends, and this can be heightened on Christmas Day when festive spirits are at their peak. It’s important that pet owners are aware of the risks so that they can keep their furry family members safe this Christmas, as the last thing anyone wants is an emergency trip to the vet.

Decorative dangers

“Tinsel, dangling baubles and fairy lights may be appealing accessories to decorate your Christmas tree and add that finishing touch, but unfortunately this shiny and tantalising decor can offer more risk than reward. Should your furry friend get their paws on a decoration, there’s a chance they could swallow it and potentially cause life-threatening blockages which may require emergency treatment.

Unwrapping presents

“It’s easy to get distracted with the thrill of opening presents on Christmas morning and forget to watch our four-legged friends, which could lead to them getting themselves in trouble. Ribbon and gift wrap can be a dangerous choking hazard for cats and dogs alike, so take care when unwrapping gifts.

“It’s easy to forget about other hazards from gifts too – many children’s toys aren’t designed to be pet-friendly, and if batteries are swallowed, they could cause serious internal burns. It’s best to keep presents out of reach and be sure to clean up any wrapping paper before any curious paws can get hold of it.

Toxic plants

“Avoid placing poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and ivy within easy reach of pets – between the bright red leaves and carol-worthy joy that these Christmas plants may bring, they are extremely toxic to many animals.

Festive food

“We’re all guilty of overeating and overindulging ourselves at Christmas, but over feeding your pets can cause serious health issues. Some human foods can be toxic to furry friends and lead to sickness, diarrhoea or even pancreatitis. Stick to healthy treats for your four-legged friend this Christmas – and keep up the exercise to stop them from piling on the pounds.

A full house

“This will be many pandemic pets’ first Christmas Day, so it’s important to provide somewhere safe and quiet for your furry friend to escape if they become overwhelmed. Cats feel safest when they’re high up and out of the way, and you can build a doggy den in a quiet room of the house. For small pets, move their enclosure into a quiet room away from loud visitors and TVs or music systems.”

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. This winter, your support is vital for poorly pets – find out how you can help us give pets a fighting chance at  

By Ed

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