Keeping Festivities Fun for Your Pets

Is it just me that wishes there were about 36 hours in a day at the moment, instead of 24? The year goes quick enough as it is, without the additional elements of new-parenthood and Christmas galloping towards us! In my head, I had planned to write this blog and share it at the beginning of December, but here it is slightly *ahem* later; you’ll have to forgive me.

Given the stress that we feel in the run-up to the festivities, can you imagine the impact it has on our fur-babies? We change their usual environment around and hang all manner of sparkly things all over, stick up a big tree smack-bang in the centre of their universe, and disappear out more than usual (often coming home in a dishevelled state to boot!). But do we even think about the confusion this causes them? I’m guessing not, and I hold my hands up to this misdemeanour too – I don’t pretend to be perfect; well not all the time! 🙂

I’ve mentioned plug-in products that help calm cats and dogs down in previous blogs, especially around bonfire night, but if you do have any queries or want more information on these, then please do get in touch with us here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre.

Dogs are very sociable creatures by nature and usually want to be wherever you are, so whilst you’re putting up the decorations it’s easy to let them sniff and see the baubles and get familiarised with them that way. Being part of the process lets them adjust gradually to the changes in sight and smell to the room/s and house, so that it’s less of a shock when they walk in and they don’t have that – BAM! “have I walked into a parallel universe?” moment.

Cats are extremely curious, but more independent, so they will investigate at their leisure. I’d love to be able to say that they won’t climb in or up the tree and play with the baubles, or hang off dangling tinsel; the truth is that a good proportion of cat mummy and daddy’s will go through exactly this scenario. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If you do manage to get any good photos of their antics though, you know where to send them – we always love to see what our furry clients get up to 🙂

I’m approaching this bit of the blog assuming that you’re all on board with the “all calories consumed in December don’t count” approach? I obviously mean pertaining to us humans, not our furry family members, although it is relevant to both species! I love all the seasonal treats (Mince Pies and Choccies etc.) as much as the next person, but there are all manner of hazards out there for our pets. It’s fairly well known that Theobromine in Chocolate is toxic to dogs, but it’s less commonly known that it’s harmful to moggies too; and the darker the chocolate, the more harmful it is as well.

Some of you will be reading this, thinking that you’re careful to store such treats out of the way, and most of the time folks are careful. A friend of mine is a very cautious person when it comes to chocolate, but in the rush of one Christmas morning had left a box of chocolates (closed, by the way!) on a low coffee table, whilst they went to check on the turkey in the oven. When they came back in to the room, their greedy dog had opened the box and helped himself to a good proportion of their continental chocolates (minus the foil wrappers, clever doggo!), and you can imagine the panic that ensued. So, what I’m saying is, be extra, extra vigilant; if the worst does happen though, call us immediately here at SLVC so that we can start treatment as soon as possible.

We do molly-coddle our furries and think that they too need to sit near the table and have a full-on, no-holds-barred Christmas Lunch/Dinner. Trust me, they don’t! However, it is nice to include them, so if you really must give them a Christmas feast…..

Please follow these simple guidelines:

* Give them small portions of meat – lean; no fat, please, we don’t want kitty getting pancreatitis!

* Avoid gravy, it’s way too high in salt for furries. Not a bad time to remind us humans to watch for low-sodium alternatives, either 🙂

* A few vegetables will be good for them, but avoid Garlic and Onions please. Avoid stuffings too, as they often contain onion.

* No sauces, whether it’s Cranberry or bread; they’re heavy in calories and some contain sweeteners that are toxic to animals.

* Christmas Pud contains raisins, currants and sultanas – all of which are big no-no’s for dogs and cats!! They don’t need the brandy butter, cream or brandy sauce either; they are way too fat-laden.

* No Mince Pies either; they also contain raisins, currants and sultanas and the pastry is usually rich in butter.


I don’t mean to sound Grinchy, but it really is best to just feed your furry as you usually would. If you don’t want to feel mean then by all means buy them appropriate treats – but still feed them judiciously! The best thing you can give your fur-babies is your undivided attention; extra walkies and fusses always go down well 🙂

There’s a whole raft of things I could caution you on when it comes to pet safety at Christmas, but then I really would sound like a party pooper! Plus the fact, I haven’t enough time in the day at the moment!

I do want to say a massive thank you though to all the fantastic clients at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre, and to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Eat, drink and be merry; and please Stay safe, Stay well, and Be Happy 🙂