Over the Christmas period, you may have stocked up on the sweets treats and wanted to treat your pet too. While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally treating your pet, there are a few common seasonal favourites you should be aware of.
While many people are aware that chocolate is very bad for pets, there are some Christmas favourites that are also dangerous. For example, sultanas, and raisins – so no Christmas pudding or mince pies! Also, onions, garlic and alcohol are all toxic to animals.
While you’re free to eat a mince pie (or three), make sure human treats are placed well beyond reach, and nobody is slipping them under the table. If your pet does eat any of the above, please consult your vet.
Keep your pets’ treats healthy, even if you can’t resist the extra chocolate yourself! Here’s an easy recipe for sweet potato and carrot Christmas biscuits, which are easy to make and perfect for curious canines. Cats will love these home-made salmon treats and they have just 3 ingredients, simple and quick.
If you do treat your pet, make sure they stay active and get enough exercise – unintended weight gain can cause health issues.
You might think that giving your dog the bone from the Christmas roast is a treat – it’s not. Bones can cause serious issues for pets; large bones are a choking hazard and smaller bones can scrape your pet’s throat. While there’s no problem treating your pet with meaty left-overs, be sure to check thoroughly for bones and make sure it’s free from salt, gravy and other inappropriate extras. Don’t forget that our pets can smell a tasty treat from a mile away; dispose of rubbish correctly or they’ll hunt it out and eat it anyway!
It’s also worth remembering that there are some nasty bugs lurking in raw bones – it might keep your dog quiet, but it will be doing more harm than good and may result in a visit to the vets.
While not strictly treats, many pets let their curiosity get the better of them and end up eating decorations. There are steps you can take to ensure your pet doesn’t come to any harm. Place smaller, more fragile ornaments and tinsel higher up the tree and use wire cover to secure loose wires. Edible decorations (such as chocolate stars, candy canes) are a particular hazard and should be placed higher up your tree or avoided altogether. Keep cat toys away from the tree, so cats don’t associate the tree with play time.
Needles from real Christmas trees can cause problems; sweep up stray needles as quickly as possible.
Try distracting your cat with a home-made cat toy, it might mean they leave the Christmas tree alone.
Poinsettia, mistletoe and holly are very popular around Christmas time; however, many pet-owners are unaware that these plants can be toxic to cats and dogs. Consider avoiding these if possible or placing them well out of reach of your pet. Be aware of the symptoms of poisoning: poinsettia can cause severe conjunctivitis in your pet, with symptoms including vomiting, swelling or itchiness. If you think that your pet may have plant poisoning, be sure to take them to your nearest vet as soon as possible.
Rabbits are grazers and are particularly sensitive to unfamiliar foods, it’s best to stick to a consistent diet with hay and grass. As much as you may want to give them extra treats and include them in the festivities, avoid sugary treats and stick to small quantities of good old-fashioned carrots or even a couple of brussel sprouts if you do give them anything extra. However, be aware that carrots are high in sugar, so keep the snacks small and occasional!
Here’s a great way to ensure that your rabbit doesn’t miss out on the fun and also gets their greens.
For further advice, contact your local Medivet practice, who will be happy to help.