A pet is a lifetime commitment – remember that if you’re planning on buying a pet as a gift this Christmas.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said owning a pet was a major responsibility that lasted long after Christmas Day.

“All animals deserve to be welcomed into a home that is committed to taking care of them forever,” Mr Furner said.

“Think about the costs of caring for a pet, how much free time you and your family have to spend with it, and will it suit your family in the years ahead.

“If you have the slightest doubt about the ability to do so, then you need to find another present.”

Summer heat and Christmas treats

Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Allison Crook said pets brought great joy and were often treated as family members.

It’s just as important that we take extra care of the pets we already own,” Dr Crook said.

We may love the summer heat and the festive treats, but our pets do not.

Whether it is eating chocolate or nuts, or spending a short time inside a car, these actions can cause great harm to our furry friends.

Leaving the windows down doesn’t stop extreme temperatures inside vehicles. Pets should be left at home with shade, shelter, and fresh water.

“When at home ensure you put your Christmas chocolate or nuts safely out of reach from your dog.

“Small dogs are at a greater risk, but all breeds can suffer violent reactions including restlessness, hyperactivity, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate and seizures.

“Everyone deserves to have a safe and happy Christmas – this year make sure that includes your pets. Nobody wants to spend Christmas Day at the emergency vet clinic.”

Festive Costumes

The RSPCA reminds us that some people enjoy dressing their pets in costumes, particularly for special events such as Christmas.

“This can be fun to observe and offers unique photo opportunities, but it’s important to consider what the experience is like for your pet.”

The RSPCA says when selecting a costume, avoid any that pose potential health hazards. Examples of unsafe costumes are those that:

  • cover your pet’s nose or mouth, restricting their breathing, eating or drinking
  • cover their eyes, obscuring vision
  • are too tightly fitted, causing overheating or distress
  • are too loosely fitted, causing accidents or tripping
  • prevent them from expressing normal behaviours such as walking, toileting or resting
  • have dangling, sparkling or other attachments that pets can pull off and swallow, risking an obstruction or choking
  • enclose the head
  • contain sharp items such as safety pins that could cause accidental injury

“Always remember, if you are unsure whether your pet tolerates wearing a costume or not, play it safe and avoid dressing your pet up.”


Mr Furner said pet owners should also be mindful of any fireworks events planned for their area or New Years or other celebrations.

“Nobody wants their pets to be distressed, so it is important to help them feel safe, secure and avoid situations that could cause them to panic and run away,” he said.

Not good for dogs

The RSPCA says a range of everyday human foods can have adverse consequences if ingested by dogs.

Dogs should not be fed:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions or garlic
  • Tomato
  • Grapes (including sultanas and raisins)
  • Avocado

The RSPCA also recommends not feeding fat trimmings from meats to dogs as this can cause pancreatitis.

For detailed information on what you need to know before you get a new pet visit the RSPCA knowledge base website at kb.rspca.org.au

To find out more about your duty of care for animals, go to business.qld.gov.au and search for “duty of care for animals” or call 13 25 23.