Enjoy Christmas & Keep Your Pets Safe

With Christmas fast approaching we are starting to make plans for the festive break. Working out what to cook, where to get the turkey, where to sit great-aunt Bertha so that she is as far away from the Sherry as possible, and what to buy for your Uncle Pete.  Our pets can find this time of year quite stressful with lots of coming and going and changes to the house.

So, let’s look at it from our pets’ point of view – over to you Boris the Spaniel:

“The days are getting shorter and going out to the loo in the evening and often in the morning is now done in the dark – it’s cold and sometimes my paws get wet. My owners have responded to this change in light and temperature by going mad - it happens every year at this time. 

Day one:  They’ve brought a full sized tree inside the house!  They’ve moved the sofa where the cat usually sleeps and put the tree there instead.  The cat and I want to chew the tree, but we are not allowed – apparently it can make us sick (we aren’t even allowed to share the tree’s water bowl and drink from that!)The cat tried to climb the tree – I’m not sure why she got told off – she climbs the trees outside.  They have put lots of sparkly cat and dog toys on the tree, but neither of us are allowed to play with them.  If we eat them, they can apparently get stuck and might make us need an operation, which would be scary.  We have been shut out of the living room when our owners are not around; we will have to sit in front of the oven instead to keep warm.

Day 2:  Today they’ve put lots of new smaller trees in other areas of the house.  I heard my owners talking – they are called Amaryllis, Poinsettias, Holly with berries, Mistletoe, and Yew trees.  They are toxic to us if we eat them and will make us feel very sick.  The small trees are protected with bags, or placed high up on shelves so we cannot reach them.  

Day 3:  They had lots of noisy people over today.  We were allowed in the living room, but we both found it quite scary. The cat went upstairs and sat in her bed on top of the wardrobe.  I hid in my den under the stairs – my owners brought my den out when it started getting darker in the evenings and put it under the stairs because that’s where I like to sit when I am scared.  I had a new toy as well which I chewed for hours whilst the noisy people laughed and chatted. 

Day 4: Today they put some presents for the people under the tree which were wrapped in brown string.  The cat thought the string was a present for her – but she was told off for playing with it.  Apparently string can be a serious hazard to pets if it gets trapped inside their intestines and sometimes surgery is needed to fix the problem.  Again, that sounds scary – we will avoid the string even though playing with it can be so much fun. 

Day 5: Today I had to go to the vets.  The cat knocked some nuts, chocolate, and raisins off the side.  I just couldn’t help myself and I ate a lot.  We rushed to the vets where I was given an injection that made me sick.  Chocolate contains theobromine (similar to caffeine) which can cause an increase in heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, and sometimes even death.  The raisins can be just as lethal – just one grape or raisin can cause kidney failure.  The nuts are not great either.  I am so glad my owners noticed I had eaten it, so they could get me to the vets quickly for treatment.  Phew!

Day 6:  Today I have to eat special food, it is very kind on my digestive system, and it actually tastes quite nice.  There were some sweets I noticed on the side today but I have learnt my lesson and didn’t eat them.  I know that some sweets contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which can cause blood sugar levels to drop so much that I could collapse and that most sweets can cause a laxative effect – I do not need that today after yesterday.  The cat is looking smug!

Day 7: Today is the present giving day.  There was lots of noise again, so I did have to go in my den for a bit.  The small owners had lots of little toys and I wanted to play with them too – I even put one toy in my mouth – but I got told off.  I guess my owners are still worried after the chocolate.  They don’t want me to eat anything else which might mean another vet visit!  They had lots of drinks too; they were sweet-smelling and the cat was even interested by a milky drink, but they were all put out of reach so we didn’t help ourselves – if we had it could have caused problems with our hearts and brain!  After lunch the cat and I got some boiled turkey.  This was a real treat.  They made sure not to give us any rich food, gravy or butter because that might have caused us to get an upset tummy (again).

Day 14:  Just as it was quietening off, all the owners have gone mad again.  They are singing and holding hands whilst looking at the TV.  I went straight to my den, and it was lucky I did because outside lots of loud bangs started up, one after the other.  They went on for what felt a lifetime.  I was lucky my owner gave me this den, I managed to distract myself with yet another new toy and the cat is on the bed on top of the wardrobe again with her new toy. 

Reflections after Christmas: It was a pretty crazy time, and my owners did do things that didn’t make sense, but they kept me safe and protected.  I feel very lucky that I got some new toys and that they didn’t feed me too much rich food so that I was sick".