Charity's advice to ensure pets are kept safe and healthy

​Animal behaviourist Claire Haynes has lots of advice for pet owners.​Animal behaviourist Claire Haynes has lots of advice for pet owners.
​Animal behaviourist Claire Haynes has lots of advice for pet owners.
Animal lovers are being encouraged to make sure their pets are kept safe this Christmas by making sure decorations and food are kept out of paws’ reach.

The festive season brings with it presents, decorations, and festive food but these seemingly innocent pleasures can be deadly if eaten by our pets.

However, the Scottish SPCA has said that there are steps which can be taken to keep dogs and cats safe and settled and off the naughty list.

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Claire Haynes, an animal behaviourist with the charity, has lots of advice to help you prepare your pets for the festive season.

She said: “Many of the foods we enjoy at this time of year can be harmful to animals.

“Common ingredients like onion, garlic, and even dried fruit and raisins, often found in mince pies and Christmas puddings, can be potentially dangerous, and even fatal, to dogs and cats if eaten

"Xylitol in sugar-free products can also be deadly.

“Seasonal decorations like tinsel and baubles and plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly can all be toxic to our animals.

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“Pet owners should also watch out for leftover turkey bones as they can puncture and splinter if ingested. Keep them out of reach and put them in the outside bins.

“If you are worried about your pet this Christmas, or they have injured themselves or ingested something potentially toxic, please contact your vet immediately.

"Take any packaging with you to your vet so they can see exactly what they have eaten.

“Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year but not if you end up with a poorly pet. Being vigilant and taking precautions is all that is needed to keep your pets happy and healthy over the festive period.

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“We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season with your furry, feathered or scaled friends.

More seasonal advice and information from Claire can be found on the Scottish SPCA website at

If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact the charity’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999 which is open 7.30am – 9pm March to October and 7.30am – 8pm November to February.

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