Make Christmas enjoyable for furry family members too

Out of reach: While Christmas feasting is a highlight for humans, it’s also a time when some of the most dangerous foods to pets are available.
Out of reach: While Christmas feasting is a highlight for humans, it’s also a time when some of the most dangerous foods to pets are available.

Christmas is just around the corner, and if there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that you don’t want an emergency trip to the vet to get in the way of your Christmas cheer!

Here are just a few handy tips to help you and your pet enjoy the festive season, hassle free.

Your pet might not be in the mood to party

Having friends over is great fun for you, but it might be a source of anxiety for your pet. If you’re hosting celebrations, try taking your dog for a long walk ahead of people arriving, to help them de-stress and tire them out so they can rest when the party starts.

It’s also important to make sure your dog or cat has the option to leave the festivities at any time by going to a quiet, safe place where they can relax away from the party. You can play music or have a TV on in this space to also help mask the chatter of visitors.

If you want to give your pet a welcome distraction by way of a new toy, you can find a great range on the RSPCA’s World for Pets website www.worldforpets.com.au.

It’s the time for giving, but don’t give in to those puppy dog eyes

Whilst Christmas feasting is a highlight for humans, it’s also a time when there are some of the most dangerous foods to pets in your kitchen.

In particular, alcohol, chocolate, Christmas pudding, coffee, cooked bones, avocado, currants, fruitcake, grapes, gravy, ham, lollies, macadamia nuts, some marinades, onion, pork and raisins can be very bad for your dog or cat.

Don’t give in to your pet’s pleading looks, and make sure to keep those items far away from them.

Remember, some pets are pretty crafty and might have found a way into your pantry unsupervised, so also keep an eye out for any signs they’ve eaten a forbidden food - symptom might include poor breathing, excessive panting, muscle twitching, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If any of these signs occur, and you’re concerned, take your pet to the vet immediately.

Cats and Christmas trees: Generally not a good mix.

Cats and Christmas trees: Generally not a good mix.

Keep those decorations out of reach

To the human eye, Christmas decorations are just a pretty addition to the house, but for a dog or cat, they can look a lot like new toys for their enjoyment.

Baubles, tinsel and other hanging ornaments can be hazards to pets, if plastic or glass items break in their mouths, or tinsel chokes them. Fairy lights can be a potential shock hazard, and edible decorations like candy canes are also a risk.

The best course of action is to keep the more dangerous decorations higher on your tree, or create a barrier to prevent your pet reaching the tree at all.

Don’t forget, wrapping paper, ribbons and string can also pose a choking risk to your pet, and can be dangerous to their intestines, so make sure to clear away any gift wrapping items as soon as you can.

Don’t forget to celebrate with your pet

There are lots of ways to still enjoy the festive season with your pet – whether that’s by creating a special dog/cat treasure hunt, choosing a nutritional treat food for them to enjoy, or giving the gift of an exciting new toy.

Or if you want to support animals in needs this Christmas, you can donate to the RSPCA’s Guardian Angel appeal, at www.rspcaguardianangel.com.au. Christmas is a time to celebrate our fur-families!

  • The RSPCA relies on donations from the public to protect and care for animals.