18/12/2013 12:22 GMT | Updated 17/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Protecting Your Pets From Christmas Dangers

This time next week the festive season will be in full swing but please remember to consider the health and happiness of your four-legged family members and avoid potential hazards.

For example harmless-looking shiny, sparkly, tinsel is easily ingested by playful pups and curious kittens - then becomes tangled up in their guts - often requiring major (and expensive) surgery to fix.

Fairylight wires may also be seen as fun toys but can cause shocks and burns to inquisitive pets - especially house rabbits.

Fragile glass baubles must be kept out of reach as any broken fragments may get stuck in paws and pads causing pain, and an unplanned trip to the emergency vet.

Please never offer your dog chocolate; in fact keep any chocolate well out of reach as it contains poisonous theobromine which could kill your dog if ingested in sufficient quantities - especially dark chocolate.

Any grapes or raisins (including fruit cake) must also be kept off your pet's festive menu as they can cause fatal kidney problems.

Same goes for onions (or anything containing them), and turkey carcasses must be bagged-up and safely disposed of - not fed to pets as they may cause intestinal perforation and constipation.

Accidental ingestion of Christmas plants e.g. holly, ivy, poinsettia, and mistletoe can also cause toxicity to your pets. Antifreeze, which is extremely palatable, can kill even with tiny amounts swallowed.

Respect pets when unfamiliar guests visit during the holidays as their normal routines will be upset; in particular warning strangers (especially young children) about how to approach them correctly preventing bites.

When spoiling your pet rotten this Christmas always spare a thought for lonely rescue animals spending perhaps another Christmas behind bars and with no happy warm family fussing over them.

Why not make a donation to your local shelter, sponsor, or even donate some old blankets, food, toys or newspapers?

Finally never give a pet as a Christmas present as most puppies and kittens for sale at this time of year will have been irresponsibly bred; contact the Kennel Club or consider adopting a rescue pet in the New Year instead!