VET’S VIEW: Making it a happy Christmas for your pets

THE festive season is in full swing, but please remember to consider the health and happiness of your pets, avoiding potential hazards.

For example. harmless-looking sparkling tinsel is easily ingested by playful pups and curious kittens and can become tangled up in their guts – often requiring major surgery.

Fairy-light wires may also be seen as fun toys, but can cause shocks and burns to inquisitive pets – especially house rabbits.

Keep fragile glass baubles out of reach, as broken fragments may hurt soft paws and pads.

Please, never offer your dog chocolate and keep it well out of reach, as it contains poisonous theobromine, which could kill your dog if ingested in sufficient quantities – especially dark chocolate.

Any grapes or raisins (including fruit cake) must also be kept off your pet’s festive menu, as they can cause fatal kidney problems. Same goes for onions (or anything containing them), and turkey carcasses must be bagged-up and safely disposed of – not fed to pets, as they can cause intestinal perforation and constipation.

Accidental ingestion of Christmas plants, such as holly, ivy, poinsettia and mistletoe, can also cause toxicity. Antifreeze, which is extremely palatable, can kill even with tiny amounts swallowed.

Respect pets when unfamiliar guests visit, in particular warning strangers – especially young children – about approaching them correctly.

When spoiling your pet rotten this Christmas, spare a thought for lonely rescue animals spending perhaps another Christmas behind bars and with no happy, warm family fussing over them.

Make a donation to your local shelter, sponsor, or even donate some old blankets, food, toys or newspapers?

Finally, never give a pet as a present, as most puppies and kittens for sale at this time of year will have been irresponsibly bred. Contact the Kennel Club or consider adopting from rescue in the new year instead.