By Selina Maycock published
New puppy owners will have their hands full this Christmas - and not just from browsing the best Christmas gift ideas for dogs - but with festive food and glittery decorations within a paws reach there are a lot of hazards to watch out for.
Last year there was an increase in the number of gastro-related queries and claims over the festive period, as a result of dogs or cats consuming the wrong foods or festive decorations which can be very dangerous.
With this in mind, digital pet insurance company, Waggel, has shared advice from its customer champion team - made up of trained veterinary nurses on how to puppy proof your home for Christmas:
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1. Keep harmful food out of reach and sight:
- Chocolate: Big no no. We’d all love to share a chocolate with our pets, mainly so we don’t have to eat a whole box of Ferrero Rochers by ourselves, but sadly we cannot.
- Cooked Bones: It can be hard to resist those puppy eyes begging for a share of your roast turkey, but it’s important not to feed your pets bones or meat which may have bones in it.
- Onions/Garlic: Both can cause an upset stomach - also no one likes garlic breath.
- High Fatty/ Salty Foods: Sausages, ham, bacon etc. all have high fat and salt content, which can cause an upset stomach. Best to keep those pigs in blankets to yourself!
- Christmas Pudding/Mince Pies: Anything that contains raisins, currents or grapes is extremely toxic.
- Nuts: Do NOT let your pets eat them.They have a high fat and salt content, which can cause stomach upset.
- Alcohol: If your pet consumes alcohol, they might react in a similar way to a human e.g., wobbly or drowsy, and in some cases, overly demanding for petting. Drink up (responsibly).
- Artificial Sweeteners: Lots of the sweets and treats you may have lying around the house at Christmas will contain artificial sweeteners. Keep out of pets reach. Treat yourself to an extra portion.
2. Remove chocolate tree decorations or edible gifts from under the tree
- As chocolate can be very dangerous, it’s important that we take extra measures to ensure it’s not going to end up in the mouths of our beloved pets. While tree chocolates can be a lovely decorative touch to our Christmas trees, it’s best to place these on the higher branches to ensure pets (and any visiting greedy children) can’t reach them.
- It’s also important to be mindful of gifts that may contain anything that could be harmful to your pet, such as chocolate. Your pet will be able to sniff chocolate through any wrapping so to make sure they can’t get their paws on them, place them out of reach and somewhere other than under the tree!
- When wondering whether you should really eat your 10th tree chocolate of the night, just remember you’re doing it for the safety of your pet!
3. Keep your puppy safe from decorations and gift wrapping
- Although Christmas decorations may look pretty and festive, remember puppies love to play and chew anything they can get their paws on. So, make sure that baubles are placed high up on the tree and decorations are out of your puppies reach.
- We recommend wrapping presents in a separate room and clear up anything that may be easily chewed or played with - we all know how much pets LOVE to play with but if your pet chews and swallows wrapping paper this can cause an upset stomach or choking. If you’re using ribbons and string, be especially cautious around cats - it’s their favourite!
- Santa - he can come down the chimney pretty hard and fast, so make sure your pet doesn’t sleep under the chimney on Christmas Eve.
4. Introduce safe spaces for your pet
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- With festive celebrations in full swing, there is going to be a lot of changes in the house, including the addition of a Christmas tree, decorations, presents and potentially even fireworks. All of these factors can cause heightened stress and anxiety in pets, therefore it’s important to be mindful and keep an eye on any abnormal behaviour.
- Pets can get over stimulated when noise levels are too loud, so we’d recommend keeping safe spaces and hiding spots and a separate room for dogs. You can also use calming products to help keep your pets relaxed during this busy time.
- If you’re unsure about any abnormal behaviour or feel anxious about how your pet is responding to a change in their environment, Waggel offers free vet video calls with FirstVet. This will help put your mind at ease and ensure your pet is happy and healthy over the festive season.
Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.
Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.
Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.
Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'
In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.
When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.
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