Pet Safety At Home Over The Holiday Period Part 3 – The Gifts

Gifts Under The Tree

Gifts left under the tree can be extremely tempting, especially if they are made up of rawhide or other edible items, such as home made biscuits from Aunt Betty or the box of chocolates from Granny Liz. Most often they also have pretty ribbon as part of the wrapping which could be hazzardous. It is best to place gifts under the tree only once you are able to supervise pets and children around the tree which is normally just before they are opened.

If you have decided to include your pet in the Christmas festivities (as we do) and have bought your pet a gift, make sure you remove ribbons or ties before you present gifts to them. If played with and swallowed, yarn, ribbon or string on gifts can cause intestinal obstruction, requiring emergency surgery.

Perfumes and after-shaves most often contain ethanol (alcohol) and perfumes also contain essential oils to give them their scent, which can be very toxic to pets if ingested.

Toys and gifts which contain batteries can be hazzardous in that the batteries are extremely toxic and can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed. Keep batteries separately in a safe place until they are ready to be inserted in the gift.

Pet Gifts and Treats

When choosing a holiday gift for your special friend, be sure it is safe – no small pieces that could come off and be swallowed. Choose healthy holiday treats for your pets and give them in moderation. If you’re unsure of what toys and treats are safe for your pets, visit a pet product store or better yet, purchase them online from a reputable online pet product store like and have the products shipped to you.

Pets As Gifts

Giving a pet (puppy / kitten etc) as a gift is never a good idea, as it is a very personal choice and ultimately it is the pet that suffers for it. If someone is thinking about getting a new pet, rather give them a variety of toys, food, or books on pet care. You may also wish to give a gift certificate to purchase needed supplies once they have selected and brought home their new family member.

Similarly, if thinking about getting a new pet for yourself, remember pets are a responsibility and need routine, a time to bond with you, and are for life! Keeping this in mind, unless you are prepared to tone down the holiday spirit, it may be best to introduce a new ‘furkid’ to your family after the holidays once everything has calmed down.

You can also make the holidays more enjoyable for homeless pets, by contacting your local animal shelter or SPCA to see if you can donate food, kitty litter, toys or time. In addition, if you are able to limit the holiday disruption in your home, you may even consider fostering a pet over the holiday season and in doing so save a life. Sadly the number of unwanted pets soars in the all the shelters around the country during holiday which means an increase in the euthanasia numbers as the facilities reach full capacity. Fostering a pet, frees up that space at the shelter. There are a number of rescue organisations that have no kennels and are only able to rescue animals when they have a foster home available to take them in. Two that we work closely with are African Tails and Aniwell.

With all the holiday excitement, remember to relax and spend some quality time with your family, including your pets this holiday season. Your pets will think that is the best gift of all!

“Pet Safety At Home Over The Holiday Period Part 4 – Visitors” follows on Monday!

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