Pet VIP Christmas

PET CHECK UK Christmas scene with dogs sitting on chair

\\\ Pet Christmas

\\\ updated 19 September 2021

Have A Very Important Pet Christmas

Time To Prepare For A Pet-Friendly Christmas

Step By Step Guide

Pets love Christmas time with the beautiful new features you’ve added to your modern, country, or traditional home. Dogs, cats, and even indoor rabbits love the woodland smells bought in from freshly foraged walks, new aroma candles placed perfectly on the mantelpiece, and bright floral plant additions.

Have you made yourself a Christmas pet-friendly checklist? Here’s some helpful tips.

Step 1 Make A Checklist

According to UK vets, December is an ’emergency month’ with so many unexpected visits made to the vet by owners with their pets suffering ‘Christmas’ related accidents.

Holly, ivy, mistletoe, lilies, and prickly fine needle fir Christmas trees can all give your pets Christmas side effects and your tight-for-time Christmas schedule may suddenly get derailed as you hurriedly take your four-legged friend to the vets possibly drooling, vomiting, choking, and showing signs of diarrhea. All the usual signs of toxicity. Avoid unnecessary accidents following a few guidelines.

Pets will eat anything! Christmas baubles, Christmas trees, tear open freshly wrapped presents, chew party hats, and socks. Step 1 is simple, take time and make a Christmas pet-friendly checklist of all the things you need to ensure you, your family, friends, and your pets need to enjoy a trouble-free Christmas.

Step 2 The Christmas Tree

If you are staying at home to celebrate, buy the best pet-friendly tree you can afford, whether it is a real or artificial Christmas tree; there’s not much difference as both types can cause harm to your pets.

Dogs will chew both types and cats will play with the dangling balls, crashing your tree down and running away scared, hopefully not injured.

It’s important to buy from a sustainable and managed source and to buy the best pet-friendly trees. Whether you buy those in a pot living trees or those cut, get your order in early, before they run out, and where it will be delivered straight to your door in the UK. Check our blog ‘Choosing Your Pet-friendly Christmas Tree’ with helpful tips for finding the right suppliers. Remember to check your Christmas fairy lights and buy or renew any breakages.

PET CHECK UK Fir tree

The Blue Spruce (featured) and The Norman Fir has become the pet owners favourite Christmas tree because not only does it last longer when cut than other fir trees as they dry out in our centrally heated homes, but the needles drop later and are less sharp than other firs, being less likely to cause as much damage to pets mouths when they try to eat them.

Sweep up fallen pine needles regularly from real Christmas trees. These spikey needles can get between cats and dogs’ paws causing much discomfort, and they may try to eat them.

Christmas Trees

Prince Albert in the 1840s was famed for introducing the Christmas festival and real decorated Christmas trees, now a tradition replicated in around 6 million UK homes every Christmas, with about 8 in 10 being the Nordman Fir variety. Around 3 million trees are imported so buying British firs can really help keep the environmental carbon footprint.

The fir tree oils can be poisonous to pets, both dogs and cats showing signs of drooling, excessive vomiting leading to diarrhea. The sharp needles particularly can be nasty, hurting their paws, cutting their mouths, puncturing their stomach intestinal lining. Rabbits can eat fir tree needles in moderation but those trees sold commercially have generally been treated with pesticides during growth so too, become poisonous to your pets.

Whether you choose a real tree or artificial, there’s a feeling of joy decorating a tree and many pets like to help, tangling themselves up in strings and standing on delicate baubles so it can be a good idea to exclude pets from this task.

Position trees carefully considering not just your interior design theme but also accessibility and vulnerability by a pet. Cats adore playing with bottom level hanging tree baubles and can easily topple over a heavy-laden tree that you’ve spent hours decorating causing injury to themselves and damage, whilst dogs will try and chew the tree whether real or artificial, sniff and forage around trees, especially when you’re not looking. Always clear up broken baubles and fir pines so that your pets do not cut their paws.

children decorating Christmas tree

Avoid hanging chocolate baubles and avoid leaving chocolate and nut-based gifts lying under the Christmas tree. Chocolate and nuts are both poisonous to pets.a

Step 3 The Christmas Holiday

Christmas Breaks

If you like a quick 2-day break before enjoying the Christmas holiday at home, check out our Holidays page offering short break deals where you can spend 48 hours relaxing the way you like to, or get away from it all, and book a 3-day Christmas break with your pet to a lovely North England Inn.

If you plan to celebrate Christmas in the UK at a rented Rural Retreat, or Cottage Holiday, take a look at the thousands of dog-friendly properties deals on offer or book a holiday in January after the festivities have died down, with your pet.

If you’re not taking your pets with you, book your housesitters.

Book your 3-day Special Christmas Break at selected Inns across England with your pet

Step 4 Order Personalisation

Order personalised Christmas crackers, hampers, santa sacks, decorations, wrap paper, ribbon presents and more …

Personalisation is big business and millions of us adore it. Christmas time is no exception, and nor for our beloved pets. If you are looking to order hand-drawn, hand-made personalised crackers, pet-friendly hamper baskets or any other handmade presents, then the earlier the order is placed, the better for delivery to meet your Christmas deadlines. Cut-off dates for orders can be as early as the beginning of November.

Personalisation can include Christmas cards that you may wish to send in the post. 2020 saw the biggest haul of Christmas cards ever being sent to friends, family, and colleagues delivered by Royal Mail. Overseas last posting dates for mail to arrive in time abroad, start by the beginning of December, so again, it’s important to arrange personalised cards to take delivery in time for posting.

Step 5 Ordering The Christmas Food

Christmas Foods For Pets

Christmas time has to be planned if you are expecting to host family and friends, usually with different tastes and catering needs. Supermarkets open their precious shopping online slots at the end of October, to either have food and alcohol delivered or collect from their stores. These are snapped up by eager customers to get the best deliveries, a day or so, effectively ‘reserved’ before 25 December, to avoid time wasted in busy shops, guaranteeing deliveries of certain foods, and long queues at the checkouts. It’s often an experience to avoid when catering for a full house.

At the same time, one can order special pet treats and Christmas meals one sees arriving in stores from about November onwards. Pet food manufacturers see this as an important commercial time too, to grab some more of the huge pet food industry that’s worth billions of pounds yearly.

You can give your dog, cat, and pet rabbit certain human foods that we enjoy over the festive period, and listed below are the best and worst below.

The Bad Foods

Mince Pies Cake + Pud
Mince Pies

Currants, sultanas, and raisins are used abundantly in recipes at Christmas which are toxic to pets, dried products from grapes. Avoid giving mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, and grapes to your pets.

Christmas cake
Chocolate + Nuts + Sweets
Chocolate and nuts

Chocolate is toxic any time of the year to pets and worse when covered in nuts. The darker the chocolate the worse effects. Avoid hanging chocolate baubles and leaving chocolate and nut gifts lying under the Christmas tree.

Sweets
Alcohol + Cigarettes
Glasses of alcohol

Don’t give pets alcohol – provides a similar effect to pets that it does to humans. Keep all toxic cigarettes butts in ashtrays out of the way of your pets. Replacement patches and e-cigarette refills pose toxicity risks.

e-cigarette

The Good Christmas Foods For Pets Are Often The Christmas Leftovers

So many of us want our pets to share in the joy of Christmas celebrations but unfortunately, we can give our pets the wrong Christmas leftovers. There are some roasted MEATS and cooked FISH which are fine for cats and dogs to eat in moderation, as a treat, and without bones, butter, sauces, and seasoning having been added.

  • Turkey – Skinless and boneless
  • Lamb beef and pork – with all the fat trimmed off
  • Fresh cooked Salmon (preferably not smoked salmon)

VEGETABLES that can be eaten as a small treat by healthy dogs, those not on special diets or have allergies include –

  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Swedes
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • New Potatoes
  • Mash Potatoes (no butter)
  • Peas
  • Swede

Step 6 Christmas Grooming

Booking A Christmas Grooming Session

If you’ve never used a pet grooming salon before then Christmas time isn’t necessarily the best time to try out a new one. Salons are rushed off their feet and cuts and bruises to pets do happen.

Carry on at home as you have been, leaving yourself time and not rushing when accidents can happen. Perhaps, order some nice smelling bath shampoo as a treat for your dog.

Carry out December routine treatments such as worming and fleeing as normal, particularly if you have friends pets joining the household at Christmas time where fleas love to hop from one animal to another.

Videos

25 Harmful foods your puppy shouldn’t be eating

Prezzybox for all your Christmas gifts.

Step 7 Christmas Plants

5 Christmas Pet-Friendly Plants

Plants That Make Lovely Christmas Gifts

Available from good plant stores online, such as Crocus who’ll deliver straight to your door, or buy plants locally at good florists, even your supermarket will stock these pet-friendly classic favourites.

PET CHECK UK - Plants - hyacinths poisonous to dogs
Hycinth

A lovely present at Christmas, for spring flowering, with a beautiful aroma. The bulb can be poisonous if your pet manages to get digging into your plant pot and find the bulb. Best not to site in pets reach.

PET CHECK UK Christmas Cactus flowering
Christmas Cactus

Christmas cacti can be a little prickly if pets try to chew the dangling leaves. Flowers at Christmas time with beautiful leaves often in shades of pink. Site out of pet’s reach but could be an irritant if they manage to eat too much.

PET CHECK UK - Plant- Cranberry plant
Cranberry Plants

Pretty small red cranberries balls laden on a plant are a very pretty present and healthy too where they can be used for cooking, jams, sauces. Generally safe around pets unless they overfeed themselves on the plant.

PET CHECK UK - Plant -  narcissus flower poisonous to dogs
Narcissus

Sold in their millions, and a firm favourite as an early Christmas plant, however, will cause your pet vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea if they manage to eat the bulbs. Cut flowers are less risky. Keep out of harm’s way.

PET CHECK UK Poinsettia Plant poisonous to dogs
Poinsettas

They provide a beautiful blanket of red in the home at Christmas time. The plants can give mild toxicity symptoms being the usual signs of drooling vomiting, or rarely, diarrhea. Best to site above waist height, and fairly inaccessible to pets.

Step 8 Dressing Your Home

Have A Trouble-Free Pet-Friendly Christmas

Holly, ivy, mistletoe, Christmas trees, and lilies, everything we associate with a happy Christmas can be poisonous to your pet. Take great care where placing these around the home when dressing your interiors.

Always look for warnings and information prior to purchasing any plants, trees, or shrubs.

Dogs and cats may have reactions if nibbling on plants. Check with your vet immediately if you suspect they have.

If you are hanging traditional Christmas mistletoe in a bunch, check that berries aren’t falling off regularly and dispose of them safely, immediately.

If you’re lighting fireplaces, make sure there is a fireguard in place.

Don’t leave pets in rooms without a fireguard, Christmas decorations, and presents. Keep the doors firmly shut at all times.

PET CHECK UK - Christmas -  Festive scene with fir cones and candles and lights

Clean’ candles are those made from beeswax, soy, or vegetable wax which release fewer impurities and cause fewer irritants to pets. It’s important never to leave lit candles burning unattended. Pets can easily brush against these singing their coats, or worse, knock them over causing damage and fire.

The Best Pet-Friendly Candles

Candles provide an air of luxury and opulence whether your burning orange and Myhr, moss and wood sage, or wild berries. There are so many new smells providing a sense of foraging walks, cold outside but warm inside feelings, creating a festive feel. Check out those candles that are made with the best pet-friendly ingredients in our blog.

Hanging your twinkling pretty Christmas electrical lights out of the way of pets is ideal. Dogs and cats will chew through wires very easily and can cause themselves a nasty shock experience, which burns their tongues and mouths and can be fatal. Have a check around the home regularly that wires are not dangling or accessible to your pets especially at Christmas time when you may get distracted with events.

Pine cones and sweet chestnuts are not toxic to pets and perfect for decorations but pets can try and swallow these which can cause choking, blockages, and hurt their mouths. These may last several days even after the material has passed through the gut. Don’t use conkers or acorns which are poisonous to pets. Keep displays inaccessible to your pet, such as potpourri which can cause significant gastrointestinal effects in pets for days.


Gift Wraps And Ribbons

Leaving presents around trees is not such a great idea if pets are given access to the room. Dogs will chew and scratch open what they consider to be their new toys! Whilst trees look wonderful with pressies stacked high, this is best to achieve just before you actually intend to open presents to avoid accidents.

According to yourmoney.com the UK population buy approximately 28 presents a year and uses 227,000 miles or more of wrap paper! Whilst pets ingesting the paper is not a healthy solution to disposal, eating the wrap trimmings are a problem. These are often made up of string, small plastic shapes, and sharp-edged ribbons which can cause intestinal obstruction. Avoid using glue and adhesives which can be toxic to your pet.

PET CHECK UK - Christmas - Children with presents

Traditional Kraft paper is ideal to wrap presents and many stores now actively promote this sustainable eco wrap in preference to other wrap paper which is normally lined with a thin coat of plastic.


Your Checklist

Start ordering mid-September with your preferred delivery dates. This provides your suppliers with enough time to perfect your order and to arrive on time.


Buying British

British flag

Never has there been a better time to consider your purchases carefully. There are many British manufacturers offering great pet designs, craftsmanship, quality, and lasting products. Famous names include Chelsea Cats, Teddy Maximus, Berkley, Dogatella, Woof and Meow, Soul Destiny, Barbour, Hettie, Pugalier, Hector Hartley, Jacwicks Design, Travfuler. The list goes on and on … Look for sellers promoting the Union flag on their British-made products.


Presents under the tree

One of the biggest tips at Christmas is NOT to lay out the gifts under the Christmas tree until a few minutes before opening. Keep them hidden from your pets, to avoid any unnecessary accidents, including your pets consuming a whole box of human chocolate intended for Aunt Ethel! It will save you time queuing at the vet A&E.

Charity Presents

Many charities offer opportunities to sponsor animals and this can be a lovely present to give to anyone who is fond of pets including sponsoring a guide dog any time of the year, for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas.

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