Over the festive season, it's often not just us humans who feast: "An extra portion of salmon, ham, cookies or even chocolate as Christmas treats for the beloved four-legged friends may be well-intentioned, but they are not suitable because they are unhealthy or even dangerous," explains Susy Utzinger, animal welfare expert and managing director of the Susy Utzinger Animal Welfare Foundation.
It becomes life-threatening when dogs and cats catch Christmas decorations, the ham net from the trash can or the aluminum foil wrapped chocolates from the Christmas tree. Such foreign bodies must then be emergency-removed from the animal body not rarely by the veterinary surgeon. There are also other things to consider.
The Susy Utzinger Animal Welfare Foundation has valuable tips for an accident-free Christmas with animals:
A Christmas Tree is Not a Cat Tree
If you do without a real Christmas tree at Christmas, you will avoid many dangers such as swallowed pine needles, drinking the water from the Christmas tree stand, eating tinsel or other Christmas decorations and burns from wax candles. If you cannot do without a Christmas tree, it is recommended to buy an artificial tree, secure it well and decorate it with artificial candles, cat-safe tree decorations and without tinsel.
As sweet as it is meant, pets do not need Christmas chocolate. On the contrary, the sweet snack can cause health problems or even be fatal. It is better to spoil the furry noses with high-quality dog and cat treats from the specialized trade.
Plants that are overwintered in the house are a welcome change for cats and are gladly nibbled. However, many plants are absolutely not suitable as cat snacks and can lead to symptoms of poisoning. Basically, plants that are mildly toxic to humans can cause severe to fatal poisoning in cats. Further information is available at www.giftpflanzen.ch or from the Swiss Toxicological Information Center telephone 044 251 66 66 or at www.toxinfo.ch (for emergencies telephone 145).
How to make your household cat safe
Order the brochure "Vorsicht Katzenfalle - Mit Menschenköpfchen zum Katzenwohl" (available in German only) which draws attention to the dangers in everyday life and gives tips for a cat-safe household. The brochure can be ordered free of charge from the Susy Utzinger Animal Welfare Foundation, Weisslingerstrasse 1, 8483 Kollbrunn, phone 052 202 69 69, or on the Internet at www.susyutzinger.ch.