Ahhh Christmas… the time of year to spread joy, spend time with family, stay warm and cosy and of course eat way too much food! Everyone loves Christmas, even our furry friends. However, we must take extra precautions to make sure our pets are safe during the festive season. So, we have created the Pets in a Pickle #WinterTips guide to make sure you’re prepared, whatever the weather!
1. Foods your pets can and can’t eat 🦴
There are lots of things that we are advised not to feed our pets, we have narrowed down the main things they can and can’t eat this Christmas below:
CAN’T EAT ❌
- Chocolate – The chemical theobromine is found in chocolate and is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause agitation, convulsions and problems with the heart. The darker the chocolate, the more potent levels of theobromine become.
- Grapes and raisins – Grapes and their dried products (currants, sultanas and raisins) are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small quantity can cause severe kidney failure. This also includes food items that contain dried fruits such as Christmas pudding and mince pies.
- Onions and garlic – Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives all belong to the same species of plants and can cause toxicity, whether uncooked or cooked. It can cause short term vomiting and diarrhoea with the long-term effect being damage to red blood cells, resulting in anaemia.
CAN EAT ✔️
- Meat – Turkey meat with no skin or bones, Salmon that is either cooked as fillets or in spring water and Lamb meat with no bones.
- Scrambled egg – Eggs are a great vitamin and protein source and are good for our pet’s health.
- Vegetables – Don’t go too crazy with it but you can feed your pet some veg. Some safe options include carrot, parsnip, green beans, courgette, brussel sprouts, peas, spinach and cauliflower. Make sure you are only feeding you’re pet plain veg with nothing added (e.g. salt, butter). Avoid corn on the cob and bulb vegetables such as onions and leeks.
2. Keep your pets sheltered 🐾
Keeping your pets inside, with you, during the winter months is really important as the temperature drop can be dangerous. Cats should not be left outdoors under any circumstances, even if they roam outside during other seasons. It’s important that dogs are taken out for walks frequently however, it’s important that they’re kept inside the rest of the time during winter. To make up for potential lack of exercise for both cats and dogs, you can make an effort to schedule in a few more play sessions to keep them moving about and warm.
If your pet does spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter they will need more food, as keeping warm uses up their energy. If you keep a food or water dish outside, we recommend using plastic bowls to avoid your pet’s tongue sticking to metal – which can be dangerous and painful!
3. Keep your pets warm 🔥
This tip is super important and can cause great harm if not followed. For dogs, their fur tends to keep them pretty warm when they’re out on walks, however older dogs and dogs with thinner fur can feel the cold more. Investing in a coat is a good idea for any pets that can feel the cold more. Cats also appreciate warmth as well. Making an effort to put together some cosy spaces for them around your home gives them somewhere to curl up if they are feeling the chill.
Our friends at DogsDogsDogs have a beautiful range of soft, waterproof and cushioned beds for dogs all shapes and sizes. DogsDogsDogs also have a range of super convenient drying coats that are perfect for keeping your furry friends warm during the colder months.
4. Make sure your pet is visible 👀
Lastly, making sure your pet is visible is really important as during the colder months the days get darker quicker.
Firstly, we recommend trying to fit your walks in during the daylight hours however, we know that isn’t always possible. So, to keep you visible to drivers, cyclists and other motorists, we recommend getting some reflective or high visibility clothing for yourself and your dog. LED collars, hi-vis leads and hi-vis coats/harnesses can be great ways to ensure your pet will be seen and safe in the dark. You can also find reflective cat collars to keep your feline friends safe in the darker months too. When looking for a reflective cat collar, it’s recommended to find one with a breakaway latch so they don’t risk accidentally strangling themselves when squeezing through tight spaces.
Pets in a Pickle understands how important your pets are – afterall, they’re part of the family and should be treated like one! Make sure your furry friends are protected whatever time of year it is, with a comprehensive policy from Pets in a Pickle. Find out more here.