Ask the expert - Hillmorton animal ambassador answers your questions in our new monthly column

Mr Moose, four months is ready for his first Christmas. Picture thanks to Monica Botkin.
Mr Moose, four months is ready for his first Christmas. Picture thanks to Monica Botkin.

We love our pets here at the Rugby Advertiser and thought it would be useful to launch a column with top tips from Hillmorton animal ambassador Sophie Peacock.

Sophie runs Lowhills Animal Behaviour Consultancy and will be answering your concerns with her monthly section.

Sophie Peacock.

Sophie Peacock.

“Pets at Christmas should be fun and joyful but what are the hidden dangers lurking in our festive season and should we really be thinking about new pets at Christmas?

Acquiring a new pet takes time and lots of planning, taking time to find the right one that suits you and your family for the rest of that animal’s life. A dog or cat will need at least four weeks if not more to settle in, feel safe, establish a routine and begin training from day one.

The run up to Christmas is not the best time to do this. December is a hectic time of year, you have extra visitors, parties, excited children running around and food everywhere!

You could do with not starting your dog or cat’s life off with negative experiences like peeing behind the sofa, having to keep the door shut, a drunken family member accidently falling over your new pet creating a new fear of them, eating the kids new toys or worse the plugged in Christmas lights. Phew, that’s exhausting! Leave the pet finding until next year where you can be better prepared.

What to avoid: Christmas cake and mince pies, macadamia nuts and chocolate.

Check your left-over Christmas dinners for onions, garlic and chives.

Highly toxic plants that can affect our dogs and cats is the Poinsettia plant and Lillies

Signs of poisoning are diarrhoea, stomach pains, lethargy, drooling and vomiting. Please take to your vet immediately if you are worried.

Stay safe and happy over Christmas with your pets.”

Email your pet questions to Please include a photo.