The warning comes from the Animal Ark clinic in Goodmayes Avenue about potential dangers for pets from decorations, food and drink that may be left lying around.
Risky items include ribbons on presents, tinsel, sharp tree needles, fairy lights, chestnuts, alcohol and chocolate, which is often one of the most common causes for a trip to the vets.
“Festivities can present a bit of a minefield for pets,” warned veterinary nurse Rachel Rigby. “Dogs will drink any alcohol left in glasses — so people need to be aware of leaving drinks where animals can get to them.”
Signs of intoxication are similar to humans, the clinic points out, such as vomiting, depression, lack of co-ordination, disorientation and drowsiness.
“Dogs with these symptoms need warmth, rehydration and immediate nursing care,” Rachel added. “We would also urge caution and to steer clear of foods which are not prepared specifically with animals in mind.”
Unsuitable food that should be “on the radar” includes grapes, raisins, currants, sultanas, mince pies and especially left-over Christmas pudding. These can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats, as well as macadamia nuts, onions and mouldy foods like walnuts, bread and cheese which can all be harmful.
Other festive items which can be harmful to pets include mistletoe, poinsettia, holly and ivy which can cause upset stomachs. Lilies can be harmful to cats.
“Tinsel and wrapping paper might be tempting for pets to play with,” Rachel said. “Just make sure they don’t eat it.”
The “general business” of the festive season can also cause pets anxiety, with usual routines thrown by crowds, noise and chaotic celebrations.
Owners are being advised to help their pets “cope with the chaos” by keeping to their normal routine as much as possible.
The clinic suggests owners planning to spend time elsewhere and taking their dog with them to also take something that smells familiar to help their pet feel secure.
It also recommends using a calming diffuser, as with fireworks celebrations — and keeping an eye on what pets are up to.