How to keep pets safe at Christmas is something that’s important to do, just follow a few common-sense tips. Often there are lots of people at Christmas and lots of clutter (tree needles, discarded gift wrap, lots of food and alcohol). So give pets somewhere quiet to retreat to if it gets too noisy, and be aware of items to keep out of harm’s way. Also see tips for Christmas without the consumerism and reusable Christmas crackers, to help keep pets safe.
Christmas Foods Not Safe for Pets
- Many ‘human foods’ are not safe for pets, and most of them tend to be around at Christmas. So keep fatty meats out of harm’s way (although dogs and cats eat meat, fatty meats can harm). Also keep them away from leftover bones, which can choke and smell tempting. Don’t give fatty leftovers to birds either (the fat in meat or butter in sandwiches can clog feathers, affecting waterproofing and insulation). Just bin (don’t pour fat down the sink).
- Avoid chocolate, alcohol and dried fruit (mince pies, Christmas pudding & cake) near pets. Also avoid alliums (onion/garlic/leek family), grapes and nuts (esp. macadamia nuts). See this book to keep your dog safe.
Christmas Plants to Keep Away
- For artificial trees, keep Christmas lights, plastic/glass decorations and tinsel (tempting to cats) away. Avoid chocolate gifts in trees. For real trees (you can often rent them) choose non-drop needles to avoid stomach punctures. Avoid cocoa mulch, pine mulch or fresh compost, near pets.
- Many Christmas plants like holly, mistletoe, poinsettia and ivy are toxic to pets (as are many houseplants including lily and sago palm).
More Christmas Dangers to Pets
- Avoid snow globes, these contain antifreeze (lethal, even in tiny amounts). If you do use them, keep them safely out of reach.
- Keep This Cracker makes nice plastic-free paper baubles. Likely safer around pets and young children, too.
- Don’t buy pets those ‘Christmas stockings’. Most are full of junk food that cause tum upsets. Just treat pets to a little extra food or normal treats, and take dogs on a nice safe winter walk instead.
- See tree-friendly ways to wrap gifts to find brands that are free from plastic, gold foil & glitter (the post also links to biodegradable paper tape). Zero-waste gifts won’t come wrapped with toxic silica gel.
- Avoid scented candles near pets (many creatures including cats, birds, ferrets & reptiles can’t break down essential oils). If used, choose scent-free biodegradable candles and avoid pot-pourri (and cigarettes).