Grey and white Cat in a wicker basket.

Does my cat suffer with anxiety?

Just like us humans, cats can also suffer with anxiety. They will experience anxiety if they perceive a situation as dangerous (regardless of whether it actually is or not). Although they can’t tell us, there are a few telltale signs they may show to indicate that they may be suffering with stress and anxiety.

How would I know?

Typical symptoms of anxiety or stress can include:

  • Destructive behaviour like clawing at the curtains or scratching the furniture
  • Overgrooming themselves, sometimes to the point of causing bald patches or sore skin (“OCD” or repetitive type behaviours)
  • Toileting outside of their litter tray, or urine spraying
  • Hiding away and withdrawing
  • Being easily startled or fleeing
  • Aggression
  • Medical Vocalising or miaowing more
  • Problems such as cystitis

It’s important to work out when your cat began to show symptoms of anxiety. This will help when identifying the best technique to help them.

What causes anxiety?

Again similar to people, cats can suffer with anxiety as a result of big changes to their routine or environment. An obvious example of this is moving house or staying in a cattery, where their entire environment has changed. The introduction of a new baby or another pet, noisy building work being done or a change in job meaning you’re spending more or less time with your pet can also be potential triggers. Changes can be outside the home making the cause harder to identify. Such as a new cat in your cat’s territory due to bullying or competition.

Some cats may be more predisposed to anxiety than others. Particularly if they have missed certain experiences and socialisation as a kitten. If left untreated, anxiety can become a serious problem. It’s unlikely to get better on its own and fearful behaviours can become more pronounced over time.

How can we deal with feline anxiety?

Firstly, if you’ve noticed any changes to your pet’s behaviour, you should always get them checked over by your vet as the symptoms of anxiety can also be signs of other illnesses. Your vet will be able to perform a thorough clinical examination and ensure there are no underlying conditions. Once they’ve ruled out other health issues they may diagnose your cat with feline anxiety and may recommend certain calming techniques or in some cases, medication.

The most important step is to identify the cause of their anxiety, as often a simple change in their environment or routine can be really helpful.

  • If your cat has separation anxiety, then creating a stimulating environment to keep your cat distracted when you’re out of the house can be helpful. Activity puzzle feeders are great for this, as well as toys and perches with stimulating views.
  • If you’ve introduced a new pet to the household, then a gradual acclimatization process will be necessary. It’s very likely your cat will need time to adjust to sharing their space, as well as sharing the attention that you give to them. You will need to ensure your pet has time and space away from the new pet if they need it, including perching places where they can get up high. Baby gates can be useful to give them a safe space.
  • If there’s a new cat on the block, then using a microchip cat flap can ensure no unwanted visitors can get in the house. Shutting the curtains to stop your cat seeing or feeling threatened by a new cat outside.
  • Certain cat calming products, such as Feliway are available in both spray and plug-in diffuser formats. They work by releasing pheromones which mimic natural cat pheromones which help to calm them. They can’t be relied on as a solution on their own but can be helpful alongside environmental modification.


Halloween and your pet

Costumes, trick-or-treaters, and jack-o-lanterns — all signs point to Halloween! But before the first trick-or-treaters come to your door and you dress your pet up, make sure that they are ready for the holiday. Last year saw Covid-19 restrictions in place which meant our pets did not see much trick or treating. Whilst this is a fun night for many, it can be a scary and unusual night for our pets, particularly if this is their first Halloween. We always find it is better to over prepare!

Be wary of strangers

If you want to take your dog along for trick or treating, make sure they’re properly socialized and would actually enjoy being a part of the fun. Many dogs get very nervous when approached by unfamiliar people or excited children and adding Halloween masks and costumes to the mix can set your dog up for a biting incident. Some dogs could become fearful and anxious and try to run away.

Staying safe and secure

Halloween can be stressful for many pets because of the non-stop door knocking and doorbell ringing, trick-or-treat yelling kids, strange costumes, and the constant opening and closing of the door.

  • Create a safe space. The noises associated with trick or treating (such as doorbells, knocking, and loud children) can be stressful for your pets. If your pet is anxious when someone knocks or rings the doorbell, set up a secure room away from all the noise where they can hang out. Put on calming music to block the sound of the doorbell and put out their food and water, favorite toys, or a yummy chew. And don’t forget a clean litter box for the cats!
  • Medication. Medication can help give your dog relief from their noise aversion symptoms.
  • Prevent door dashing. You don’t want your dog to get spooked and run out the front door while you’re handing out candy. Put up gates to prevent your pet from rushing up to trick-or-treaters or dashing out the door. Or put your pet on a leash and keep that leash in hand when you’re opening the door to hand out candy.

Keep sweets and treats out of reach

Halloween treats are delicious for humans but can be dangerous for pets. It’s best to keep all treats out of reach of pets, especially chocolate and treats containing the sugar-free ingredient, xylitol. Keep the bowl of sweets out of reach of your pet in between trick-or-treaters and hang your child’s bag of goodies up high when they get home.

Pet suffocation happens much too often, so make sure to keep any treat bags away from your pet and cut them along all the edges (so it lays flat) before throwing them away. Lots of animals want to investigate bags because they smell like food or candy, but that can be dangerous quickly!

For information on what to do in the event of your pet eating sweets or chocolate – please click here.

Be fire safe

Did you know that about 1,000 fires are started each year unintentionally by pets? Their fluffy tails or excited jumping can knock candles over and harm them or your home. Stay safe and use glow sticks or LED candles in your pumpkins and as decorations this year.

With some simple planning and easy management techniques, you and your pet can stay safe and have fun this Halloween!

Brexit and pet travel

How to prepare for travel with your pet to any EU country after the Brexit Transition Period has finished on Jan 1st 2021.

Brexit has seemingly been temporarily forgotten due to Covid-19 but with the deadline approaching, you must prepare for pet travel in the EU and be aware of what you need to do.

When the UK leaves the EU, it will become a third country. In the EU Pet Travel Scheme, there are 3 categorisations of third country:

  • Unlisted
  • Part 1 listed
  • Part 2 listed

Pet travel requirements will change depending on what category of third country the UK becomes on the day the UK leaves the EU. Third countries can apply to the European Commission to be listed. The UK is likely to be treated as an unlisted country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme if it leaves the EU without a deal.

Pet Travel if the UK is an UNLISTED country.
A current EU pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU.

You’ll need to take the following steps:
You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before it can travel.

  • Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its last rabies vaccination. Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
  • Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  • The results of the blood test must show a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml.
  • You must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel.
  • The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate.

You might find that the blood test result is not successful despite your pet being up to date with its rabies vaccinations. If this happens you’ll need a repeat vaccination and blood test taken at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination.

Dogs travelling from the UK to EU listed tapeworm free countries (Finland, Ireland and Malta) should be treated for tapeworm before travel.

You will not be able to travel with your pet if you have not completed these steps.

You will also need to obtain a new Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
You will also take your pet to an official vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an animal health certificate.

You must take proof of:

  • your pet’s vaccination history
  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • a successful rabies antibody blood test result
  • tapeworm treatment if travelling to Finland, Ireland or Malta
  • Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid for:

10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue.

On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated Travellers’ point of entry (TPE). At the TPE, you may need to present proof of microchip, rabies vaccination, successful blood test results and tapeworm treatment (if required) with your pet’s health certificate.

For more information please refer to official government guidance. 

Kitten reaching out to a dog.

Pet Stress Post Lockdown

As some owners have now begun to return to work after several weeks of being at home, the likelihood of some of our pets showing separation anxiety may increase.

There are no quick fixes or one specific way to conquer separation anxiety, but we recommend a combination of the below to help your pet!

  • Training and Behavioural Programs
  • Environmental modification
  • Pheromones
  • Diet Management
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Nutraceuticals and pheromone replacements

Training and the environment

This is especially important if you have been home more often than normal over the last few months as this is where your pet has spent most of their time with you! A few simple tips can help your pet stay calmer when you are out of the house and they do not require a lot of effort which is a bonus!

  1. Increase the time away from your pet gradually
  2. Give your pet a toy whilst you are away
  3. Keep relaxed when returning home and greet your pet when they are calm
  4. Leave out recently worn clothes that smell like you
  5. Ensure your pet receives regular exercise when you are home
  6. Create a cosy, calm space for your pet to relax in


Nutraceuticals and pheromone replacements

What are pheromone replacements?

They are synthetic copies of the dog appeasing pheromone naturally released by a mother dog to comfort and reassure her new puppies and in cats this is called the ‘feline facial pheromone’ or ‘happy marker’ that cats leave behind when they rub their face on people, furniture, doorways and other objects in the home.

We recommend the above steps alongside a pheromone such as Adaptil (for dogs) and Feliway (for cats).

Calmex is a Nutraceutical – it is an amino acid, L-tryptophan shown to have calming effects in clinical studies.  It also contains a number of other compounds which may have benefit. It is available as capsules for dogs that can be mixed in food and a tasty liquid for cats.

Zylkene is another alternative, containing casein, a milk protein, in a form which does not get digested in the stomach. This means the protein can cross the intestine in the way it would a newborn. It has been shown to have a calming effect in many dogs and cats.

A combination of gentle training, changes in the pet’s environment plus pheromones and/or nutraceuticals should smooth your pet’s transition from lockdown to the new normal. Maybe owners should be taking some of these too!?

These remedies are available over the counter so unless you have concerns over your pets behaviour, you do not need to see the vet before purchasing these products.


Furthermore, until the end of July we are offering 10% off Calmex cat and dog, Adaptil and Feliway!


Chocolate Labrador puppy.

Socialising your puppy during COVID-19 and helpful tips

We have seen many new puppies over the last few months and we have had the same question over and over, which has led us to make a guide on how to socialise your puppy during COVID-19.

Socialisation for puppies is such an important part of their development to ensure they become happy, confident adult dogs. The most crucial time for socialisation is up to 12 weeks of age but socialisation does not stop at 12 weeks, it should be continued well into their adult life, they may just become more cautious therefore requiring more time and space to adjust.


All socialisation and training sessions need to be positive. Whilst they should not be meeting any new people from outside your home due to isolation during the pandemic, in theory, if they meet a person, this should be rewarded with a treat. If they experience something new (car, traffic, other animals etc), you should treat and reward the puppy in that situation to create a positive association. You could also play a game with the puppy as a reward.



By going for a walk from your house, think about taking your puppy with you but do remember until they have had a 2nd vaccination they should NEVER be put on the ground (outside your home/garden). If the puppy is a weight that you could realistically carry for a period of time then it could be a good idea to do so. Depending whether you live in town or more rurally, they may experience traffic, other sounds and other animals (sheep, cows, horses etc.).

Introduce your puppy to different rooms, different surfaces (slippery, carpet, gravel, grass etc) and ensure your puppy remains happy throughout. The more places your puppy positively experiences during this period, the more likely it will be to accept new experiences as it grows up.

During normal circumstances, we would advise that you expose your puppy to as many sounds as possible such as cars, buses, trains, motorcycles, sirens, machinery, thunder, fireworks, farm animal noises, horses etc. This may be harder to achieve at the moment but many of these noises will be able to be streamed online. It is important that this is a positive experience for your puppy so start these sounds off very quietly and further away from the puppy. Ensure you reward your puppy with treats and games. As it becomes used to these sounds, you can gradually increase the volume and bring them closer to the puppy. The Dogs Trust have some soundtracks available online –

Everyone in the household should handle the puppy gently, reward it, play with it and do some basic training (even if it is just a reward for coming to them). You want the puppy to enjoy everyone’s company and learn to trust them. Don’t let anyone handle the puppy roughly or play boisterous games with him – no matter how excited everyone is about the new arrival.


Basic training

Start to teach them simple cues such as sit, down, step up, leave, off and recall. There is a lot of information online on to how to teach these cues but it is important that it remains fun for you and the puppy. If your puppy does not do what you want them to, they probably don’t understand what it is that you are asking. Go back to the drawing board and try a different way.

Encourage the puppy to follow you – rewarding it with a treat when it comes to you. This will simplify recall training when your puppy is older but will also build a social bond between you both.


Collar and lead training

Now is a good time to get the puppy used to wearing it’s collar and ID tag, this is a legal requirement when they are out the house. It is an alien thing to a young puppy so it is best to get them used to wearing it now – you could use meal times as a good distraction! It is always best to remove it when being left in a crate or puppy pen.

Start introducing lead exercise in the house or garden, ensure you use your voice and treats to encourage them to follow you rather than pulling on their lead. Keep feeding treats at the same side, just below the knee and your puppy will soon learn that this is the most exciting spot to walk!


Alone time

Teach your puppy that part of its new life includes being left alone at times or not having constant access to you. This should be introduced as soon as the puppy is brought home. Use a dog crate (can be purchased from a pet shop and should have comfortable bedding) or a baby gate to separate the puppy from you at least once a day. Ensure it is a time of day that is positive for them e.g. dinner time, chewing a stuffed kong etc. At first, it is best if the puppy can see you to avoid them feeling deserted.

Encourage quiet time for the puppy – when the puppy is relaxed and settles down in your presence. Start these as short periods and use a crate or playpen beside you. Give your puppy something to occupy him such as an interactive toy (such as a stuffed Kong toy).



We have spoken with a local groomer who has given the following advice.

Introduce your Puppy straight away to an appropriate brush and make it a positive experience by rewarding good behaviour with treats. It is always best to groom when the puppy is tired as they are less likely to see it as a game!

Touching all different areas of the puppy such as the feet and face to get them used to being touched in those areas. Groomers usually offer specific puppy “packages” which are used to get the puppy familiar with all aspects of grooming, in a more gentle way!

We would always recommend to speak to a groomer to get advice!


It is important that the puppy learns about being calm around you and relaxing. Many people miss this in all the excitement surrounding getting a new puppy but it is vital that they learn to accept being groomed and being handled (including around its feet, face, mouth, ears etc). If they don’t learn to relax around you, everything will become a game and you will find it hard to keep them still when you need to examine them.



Ginger kitten.

Socialising Kittens during COVID-19

Why socialisation is so important for your cat

The experiences your kitten has when they’re young play a huge part in the way they’ll behave when they’re grown up. Positive experiences will help your kitten become a friendly, well-adjusted adult cat.

Sadly, kittens that don’t have these positive experiences can become nervous cats and this can cause ongoing problems with their behaviour.


Early socialisation: before you bring your kitten home

Early socialisation will usually happen when your kitten is with the breeder or at a rescue centre. Before you bring your kitten home, check to see which sights, sounds and experiences they’ve had and what you’ll need to introduce to them when you bring them home. We recommend starting socialisation immediately but Ideally, your kitten will have:


Mixed with other people and pets.

Seen every day sights.

Heard normal household sounds at the breeder’s home, like the washing machine, hoover, TV etc.


Bringing your kitten home

Help your kitten feel at home by surrounding it with as many positive situations as possible and make sure you have some familiar surroundings to what they have been used to. We recommend the use of Feliway as well as the listed suggestions above.  They are likely to be a bit nervous at first so be patient and give them time to settle in. Gradually introduce new experiences – three new things a day will be plenty and won’t overwhelm your new friend.

Your kitten will need to get used to the things around them that they will experience regularly like meeting new people, getting calmly into a cat box or harness, or hearing the hoover.


Socialisation tips

Cat breeders and rescue centres should make sure kittens are exposed to new sights and sounds and rewarded for calm behaviour while they are still with their mother. Kitten owners can then continue this at home. Be sure your kitten is always safe and give them a treat when they show curiosity or calm behaviour.

Keep exposure to new things short and make sure you remove the kitten from the new sound or sight if they become frightened.

If your kitten seems fearful or anxious, take the training at a slower pace. Always reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviours. Being consistent will help teach your kitten which behaviours get them attention and treats, and which behaviours will not get a reward.


During COVID-19

At the moment you may well be home more often than normal due to COVID-19, or indeed out of the house more. It is important that you try and get your kitten used to what will become a normal routine, so if you are home more, do not make any more of a fuss of your kitten than what you would normally be able to. This may be tough to do but it is vital in how the kitten will become a cat and how it see’s normal life!


Easter Dangers For Your Cat

Are Lilies Poisonous to Cats?

Easter lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, and just 1-2 leaves (or even the pollen) can kill a cat! Even small ingestion’s can result in severe kidney failure.

Just 2-3 leaves, or even the pollen groomed off the fur, can result in poisoning in a cat. If untreated, acute kidney failure will develop and be fatal. Thankfully, lily poisoning doesn’t cause kidney failure in dogs, but if a large amount is ingested, it can result in some gastrointestinal signs in our canine friends.


Symptoms of poisoning often develop within 6-12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, inappetance, lethargy, and dehydration. Untreated, signs worsen as acute kidney failure develops, and signs of not urinating or urinating too frequently, not drinking or excessive thirst, and inflammation of the pancreas may be seen with lily poisoning. Rarer signs include walking drunk, disorientation, tremors, and even seizures.


There is not “antidote” for lily poisoning. That said, prompt veterinary attention is necessary. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently we can treat the poisoning.

Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving drugs like activated charcoal to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis. IV fluids need to be started, ideally, within 18 hours for the best prognosis for your cat.

If you suspect your cat has eaten a lily, call us immediately on 01434 607677. Time is critical so even if you only suspect your cat has eaten a Lily, call us for advice.

Awards winners.

Paws For Thought – Spring Petcare Roundup

White dog sat in a fieldSpring is here at last! 

At least, it’s close enough around the corner for us to get excited by the prospect of brighter weather and longer walks in the woods with our four-legged friends.

As the days get longer, the sap rises and the leaves get greener, we reckon it’s the perfect time for a roundup blog with exciting news on seasonal pet health issues, surgery services and special events and campaigns which will make March 2020 a month to remember.

Let’s get cracking! 

Pet Theft Awareness Week (14 – 21 March)

Each year, Pet Theft Awareness Week aims to spread the word on the budgie burglars, rabbit raiders, canine crooks and feline fraudsters that spread misery by pilfering pets from their happy homes.

Held between 14-21 March, this year’s campaign materials make for miserable reading, but they’re worth taking note of if you don’t want to see your beloved animal swiped, stuffed in a swag bag and sold on to someone who doesn’t know how to love or care for them appropriately. 

Pet theft is more common than you might think – figures from the police reveal 5-6 dogs are stolen every day in England and Wales. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because figures for ‘Theft by Finding’ are never included in official statistics and this could compound the problem even further. 

Remember that pet theft is a martini crime – it can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere and dogs and other animals are stolen from gardens, houses, parks, kennels, outside shops and cars 24/7. Nowhere is safe and thieves are shameless. 

Furthermore, any breed can be targeted, but designer toy breeds and gun dogs are particularly attractive to sticky-fingered criminals. Incredibly, thieves even steal entire litters of puppies – causing untold heartbreak to the mother and her human carers.

Reward or ransom for return can be demanded, but most dogs are sold on to unsuspecting new owners, with some being used for breeding and worse, dog fighting. 

And although compulsory microchips mean dog owners can be traced, these devices aren’t in dogs GPS trackers. You can buy specific collars with integrated GPS which reveals your pet’s activity, but the following tips could stop your pet falling into the wrong hands in the first place – when it comes to pet theft, prevention is better than cure.

  • Don’t leave your dog outside a shop or supermarket
  • Don’t let your dog out of sight when it’s exercising
  • Never leave a dog unattended in a vehicle
  • Make sure your garden, house and outside kennels are secure.
  • Regularly check gates and security lighting
  • Be careful who can see your pet’s photos on social media – make your account settings as private as possible.
  • Change your routine regularly – unpredictability makes you and your pet tougher for crooks to track.

Follow these tips and you can look forward to keeping your pet at the heart of your family for years to come – forewarned is forearmed!

National puppy dayVet is hugging a puppy

Wet noses, fab furry coats and cheeky personalities combine to possibly make puppies the most adorable denizens of the domestic animal kingdom.

So National Puppy Day on March 23rd is the perfect excuse (as if you need one) to celebrate everything that’s amazing about the junior canine in your family.

But did you know that we offer FREE puppy health checks? They’re always conducted by one of our vets and you’ll also be offered 4 weeks free pet insurance with Pet Plan. 

We’re also always happy to enrol you in our Well Pet Club, which spreads the cost of your pet’s booster vaccination, preventative health care and nurse clinics (nail clips, anal glands), as well as exclusive member benefits.

Did you know?

Did you know that we can check your pet’s microchip details for you? 

We offer this super service completely free and it only takes 5 minutes. 

Here’s how it works:

  • We scan your pet, enter their details into the national identibase and confirm that

 your details are correct. This ensures that our internal records match with those held by authorities.

  • Call us, email or pop in while you’re passing and ask if we can squeeze in a pet scan there and then or arrange one ASAP. If your pet was to go missing and your details were wrong, it is significantly more difficult to find you – this is a stitch in time that prevents untold heartache.

Having the following info on your mobile can fast-track finding your missing pet:

  • A clear photo of your pet, showing any distinguishing markings.
  • Your pet’s microchip number (If you don’t know this, just ask! As we’ve explained, scanning is swift and simple).
  • Local Animal Warden’s phone number.
  • Your vet’s phone number
  • Your dog’s microchip database phone number.

We’re not in the scaremongering business at Orchard House Vets – we’re sharing this advice with our customers because it’s our business to care about animals as much as you do. 

And if there’s anything we’ve missed, please let us know – we encourage all of our client community to share ideas and tips and we’ll publish the best in our blog.

Flea and Ticks

April isn’t just about Easter eggs and cute bunnies – unfortunately it’s also when we see a spike in flea and tick activity. Dog with a tick.

But luckily for you and your pet, we provide the very best flea and tick treatment – and with our Well Pet Club, you can spread the cost over 12 months.

Fleas can lay up to 1,500 eggs in their short lifetime (which ranges from 14 days to 12 months), they enter your house various ways and don’t even have to directly attach to your pet – they can simply be attached to your clothes!

Ticks are also rife at this time of year and we have already seen a number of pets presenting with them.

If you’re a member of our Well Pet Club and see a tick on your pet, pop into the surgery and a nurse will remove this for you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail – yet another great membership perk.

Ticks can cause serious health problems – it’s well documented by organisations like RSPCA that they can cause Lyme disease and that’s why it’s so important to keep up to date with preventative treatments.

National veterinary awards.

National Veterinary Awards

You may remember last year that our Student Vet Nurse Zoe Pickering and our Assistant Practice Manager Graham Skelton were both finalists in the prestigious national veterinary awards.

We’ll soon hear if we have any finalists for 2020 but regardless, we are overwhelmed at the number of nominations we have received this year – 20 in all, which beats our previous practice record of 19.

Thank you so much for your nominations and fingers, toes and paws crossed that we can report more finalists for 2020 soon!

Final thought

Remember that you can book a pet care appointment online – if you’re on the move, it’s often more convenient than calling and takes a few seconds to complete.

Whew! That’s all the news from the pet health frontline here at the moment, but we can’t wait to catch up with you all again soon.

Need to chat about any pet health issues? Contact Us today!

12 Day(ngers) of Christmas – Day 2


On the 2nd day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me… 

Christmas pudding and mince pies:
Grapes and dried vine fruits (currants, sultanas, raisins)

Grapes and their dried products (currants, sultanas and raisins) are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small quantity can cause severe kidney failure. Don’t forget this will include food items that contain dried fruits such as Christmas pudding and mince pies. Be aware that chocolate-coated raisins run the additional risk of chocolate toxicity.


On the 2nd day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me… 

Christmas Decorations

Tinsel and other hanging decorations can look just like cat toys. But there is a risk they might swallow them or even break glass ornaments, causing injury. Tinsel and angel hair in particular can cause serious illness if ingested due to the blockages they can cause, and in some cases this can even be fatal.


On the 2nd day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me… 

Christmas plants

Holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly and ivy can be poisonous. If you plan on adding these decorations into your home then make sure they are completely out of reach of those little teeth.


12 Day(ngers) of Christmas – Day 1


On the 1st day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me… 


The chemical theobromine, which is a bit like caffeine, is found in chocolate and is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and problems with the heart. The darker the chocolate, the more potent levels of theobromine become – with baker’s chocolate the most dangerous. Chocolate should be avoided at all costs. But what do you do if your dog does eat chocolate? Even small amounts have the potential to make them feel sick, but veterinary treatment should be sought for any dog ingesting more than 20 mg/kg of theobromine – that’s equivalent to 3.5 g/kg of plain or dark chocolate and 14 g/kg milk chocolate. White chocolate does not contain enough theobromine to cause toxicity, but it can be fatty and pose a potential risk of pancreatitis.  Avoid putting any chocolate on or under the Christmas tree, as the temptation might be too great for our four legged friends.


On the 1st day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me… 

Christmas tree

Christmas trees themselves, whether real or artificial, can be a hazard if your cat has a tendency to climb things they shouldn’t. The oils produced by some real Christmas trees are also mildly toxic if consumed, causing minor irritation to a pet’s mouth and stomach. Also be wary of using any fertilisers or plant food on your tree if it’s potted, as many are toxic to cats and can seep into watering trays. Don’t forget that containers with soil might also get used as litter trays! Additionally, there is a very small risk that sharp pine needles can cause internal damage if swallowed, or can get into eyes or ears – but cases are extremely rare. If you are concerned about this, and want to have a real Christmas tree, you could consider purchasing one of the non-drop variety.


On the 1st day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me… 

Christmas lights

The first thing to think about is how to hide the fairy lights on the tree or anywhere else in your home as they can be extremely dangerous. The soft insulation of power cords don’t offer any protection and if chewed on can cause electric shocks and burns in the mouth. It is important to keep cords to a minimum by trailing them out of reach or leading them up from a plug that is behind furniture. If you can’t hide the power cords you can cover them with something tough like plastic pipe, this can be split along its length and slipped over the cable so you don’t need to take the plug off.