Christmas-time for Pets

Posted on 17/11/2015

Christmas isn’t always merry for cats and dogs!

Christmas might be a lot of fun for many of us, but it brings a lot of hazards for our pets. It only takes a little thoughtfulness to make sure our family pets have a merry Christmas too.

Christmas left-overs

Christmas food!  It’s delicious, but there's usually too much and the scraps often go to the family pet. 

  • Remove all toothpicks first!  If a dog swallows a tooth‑pick, it will probably get a severe gut‑ache and it may die if the tooth‑pick sticks into the stomach or intestine wall. 
  • Don’t feed cooked bones or corn cobs.  Cooked bones can splinter and perforate the intestine, and corn cobs can cause obstructions. 
  • Too much rich food can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Don’t feed chocolate

Dogs can be poisoned by chocolate. 

  • Don't give your dog chocolate treats, and don't leave chocolate where dogs could steal it (e.g.under the Christmas tree!).
  • Two squares of dark chocolate can poison a small dog.
  • Specially formulated "dog chocolate" treats can be purchased from a pet store or the pet department in the supermarket.

Pets as presents

This is the season when there are plenty of kittens around and a kitten might seem like a cute and inexpensive present for someone.

  • Don't give a kitten, or indeed any pet, as a present unless you are sure it is wanted and the new owner has the time and resources and interest to look after it properly. 
  • Every year the SPCA has to take in young cats and dogs that have been abandoned after Christmas because they have outgrown the cute stage.

Animal identification

It's a fact that there is a greater risk of accidents involving pets and pets wandering off when owners are away from home. Clear identification will help make it easier for your pet to be recovered safely if necessary.

  • Remember to leave a collar on your dog with the registration disc attached, so that if it goes missing it can easily be traced to you. If it hasn’t already been micro-chipped, it’s a good idea to get this done.
  • If you have a cat, you could get it a collar with elastic insert, with your name and phone number written on the collar.
  • All SPCA cats are micro-chipped before they are re-homed, and this it the best way to make sure it is returned to you if it gets lost or hit by a car. Has your cat been microchipped?

Travelling with your pet

With luck, the weather will be hot at least some of the time in the next few months. 

  • If you have your pet with you when you are travelling make sure it is securely restrained in the car.
  • Make sure your pet doesn’t overheat by having the windows open enough to ensure good ventilation without the risk of escape.
  • Consider training your dog to accept a pet restraint. It will make the journey safer for you and your dog.
  • Cats should be in cat cages because even the quietest cat can suddenly start racing about the car unexpectedly, and this is obviously very dangerous if you are driving.