6 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe this Christmas

Don’t spend Christmas Time at an emergency vet hospital.  This does happen and vet Tonia Norton has 6 top tips for keeping your pet safe this Christmas.


Experts are warning that this season will be the worst in Sydney due to the amount of wet weather we have had this year.

A daily tick search must be done every day during the tick season, even if your pet is on tick prevention.  Most ticks are usually found on the pet’s head, neck or shoulders but ensure to search the entire animal!

Ticks love bushland and taking your dog to walk in bushland is a very Lane Cove activity.

Read RSPCA’s tips for making sure your pet is tick safe this year here.

Christmas Foods

Avoid feeding your pet or allowing them access to your Christmas treats! Foods, like ham, are often too fatty and can cause stomach and pancreas problems that can be life threatening.

Christmas pudding and mince tarts contain lots of raisins and sultanas that can damage your pet’s kidneys. Grapes, even one single grape, can do the same thing!

Chocolate is very dangerous for our pets so please keep them away from those yummy little chocolate Santas!  Please just keep your pets on their normal diet, they don’t expect or need Christmas treats!

Christmas Gifts

Remember that presents may contain any of the above dangerous foods, hidden within the packaging.  Dogs having a much greater sense of smell than us may sniff them out and may do a Pre-Christmas raid to eat your chocolates and other sweet food under the tree. Other gifts may contain toys that contain toxic parts or may block your pet’s intestine if chewed up and swallowed.  ITC Note: ITC knows one Lane Cove family whose dog ate an entire packet of Christmas Mince Tarts (alfoil cases and all).  Needless to say, they spent Christmas Eve at the vet.

Christmas Pet Treats

There are lots of cheap treats for your pet coming into shops now. Imported treats, including rawhide, can contain toxic substances or be choking hazards. Avoid imported treats as many countries do not have the same health standards as Australia.

Christmas Day Heat

Christmas Day is often a scorcher!  Please don’t leave your pet out in the heat while you are all busy inside cooking and celebrating.   Ensure they have plenty of water available.

Also, its best to limit their exercise. Avoid letting them run around all day outside with the kids.  Heat Stress is a common cause of emergency vet visits on Christmas Day and can be life-threatening!  Bring small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs into a cooler place.  As little as 26 degrees can cause fatality.

Don’t let your dog become a hot dog this summer! Pets can’t refill their water bowls, turn on the air con or grab a coldie from the fridge, so it’s up to us to ensure their comfort during those hot, hot summer days!  On those 35-40-degree days bitumen, concrete and sand can get blisteringly hot!  Please don’t expect your dog to walk on it before you have tested the heat with your own foot or hand!  Whenever you take your dog out, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, then it’s too hot to walk your dog.

Keeping a neat, short coat will make your pet much more comfortable in the summer heat but take care that it’s not so short that skin can get sunburnt!   Clipping also removes fur and hair matts that provide a great home for flea nests!  Plus, it is much easier to check thoroughly for ticks!

Christmas Decorations

Puppies and especially kittens love to play with Christmas baubles and tinsel on the tree. Tinsel and small baubles, if swallowed, can block the intestines and lead to a very stressful and expensive Christmas time operation.

So, keep a tab on what your fur babies are doing when around the Christmas tree.

Some Bonus Tip’s from Tonia

Keep pets with pink noses, eyelids and ears out of the hot sun during summer.  Cats, like many of us, often love sunbathing, but it is no better for them in the hot midday sun than it is for us.  Cats are especially susceptible to sun cancers on their ears which usually develop due to a lot of sun exposure.

Check your pet’s skin and ears regularly for redness which might indicate skin allergy or infection. These are more common during the summer months due to exposure to more plants, being outside more and going swimming. Parasites like fleas and pathogens like yeast and bacteria love hot humid weather!

If you find a skin or ear problem it’s best to please call your vet before it becomes worse. Infection in the ear can rapidly degenerate into a painful ear full of pus, which can be hard to treat effectively!  Areas of irritation on the skin, especially in dogs can develop into a “hotspot” or moist dermatitis due to scratching and licking even for a very short period of time.