Safe Christmas presents for pets

10 Dec 2020
vet voice - dog - christmas

For some, the festive season is all about treating their family and close friends with thoughtfully selected Christmas pressies. Naturally, many pet owners want to share this experience with their furry family member, however, it is important that your shopping list doesn’t contain any gifts or treats that can be unsafe for your pet.

To help with this, we have put together the ultimate list of pet-safe Christmas gifts.

  • Accessories: While it may lack a certain ‘razzle dazzle’, Christmas is a great time to buy your pet a new collar, name tag or lead. New food and water bowls are also a great gift idea.
  • A new bed: Let’s be honest, a new comfy bed is a delight whether you’re a cat, dog or human. A good bed is especially important for older animals that may require more padding, or a lower bed which is easier to get in and out of.
  • A cooling mat: Many dogs struggle with the summer heat, especially brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds, so a cooling matt will help to make them more comfortable in the warmer weather.
  • A heat mat: The polar opposite of a cooling mat can also make a great gift idea. While it’s not something they will want to use on a warm and sunny Christmas Day, a heat mat will be highly coveted come Winter. Heat mats can be very beneficial to older pets with arthritis. Ensure you follow all product instructions, and purchase from a reputable source, as incorrect use may lead to burns.
  • Electronic ball throwers: These can be fantastic if your dog loves to play catch and you’re not able to be at It is essential that you follow all product instructions as directed, to ensure your dog’s safety.
  • Chew or tug toys: Visit any pet store and you will find a wide range of dog toys available for all price ranges and pet sizes. Ensure that you choose a toy that is appropriate for your petg. if your dog is a strong chewer, they may need a more robust toy.
  • Puzzle toys: There are many toys on the market which are designed to stimulate your pet’s mind, with basic problem-solving activities. These are not just excellent for the Christmas season, but also for keeping pets entertained throughout the year, especially when they are home alone.
  • Dog safe cookies: These can be a wonderful gift idea, sold in pet stores or made at home using online recipes. We recommend checking with your vet before you make your own, to ensure that all of the ingredients are indeed safe for your pet. It is also important to ensure that your pet is not overfed.

Toys to avoid giving to pets

  • Toys which come apart easily or can be consumed - these can cause gastrointestinal blockages which may require surgery.
  • With cats, avoid any toys which contain string or ribbon - if consumed, these materials can cause severe health issues.
  • Excessive amounts of treats or human food - high fat foods can result in pancreatitis or severe gastroenteritis.
  • Peanut butter contains xylitol. Peanut butter is great to fill toys like Kongs, however, if the product contains xylitol it will be toxic to dogs. Xylitol containing products are less common in Australia, but always check the label

Signs to watch out for

If your pet is not behaving as they normally would, or appears to be unwell, contact your local veterinary clinic or emergency centre as soon as possible. Signs of illness can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite or changes to the amount of water consumed
  • Excessive panting

Follow these safe Christmas present tips to ensure that your pet has a safe and happy Christmas.

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