Enjoy the festive period with your four-legged friend

With Christmas just around the corner, Nutravet share their tips to help pet owners enjoy a happy and safe festive season with their furry friend.

Many pets are now seen as part of the family and are included in the festivities by being treated to gifts, festive treats and even a Christmas dinner.

Having fun with your pet at Christmas time is the top priority, but it’s important to be aware of some of the hazards that the festive season can bring. Some pets may become stressed due to a rise in visitors to the home and over New Year, fireworks can make dogs and cats very anxious.

Korina Stephens, RVN from Nutravet said: “We know how much pets mean to their owners, especially at this time of year. Dogs, cats and even small furries are considered part of the family.

“However, the festive season can present many challenges and hazards for pets. Decorations, rich food and fireworks can all have a negative impact on our furry friends, so we want to make sure everyone is aware of such hazards. Although it’s a time for joy and fun, it’s important to remember the safety of our pets and enjoy the festive season together.”

To make sure you Christmas goes without a hitch, here are Nutravet’s top tips:

Pet Safety – Keep wires from Christmas tree lights tucked away to prevent them from being chewed. Consider using non-toxic and unbreakable decorations in case your pet does manage to get their paws on them. If broken, they could get stuck in their paws, or even be swallowed.

Pine needles – Vacuum regularly to reduce the risk of your pet swallowing any pine needles from the Christmas tree and prevent them from getting stuck in your dog or cat’s paws.

Chocolate – Although it may be tempting to treat pets at Christmas, chocolate can be toxic for dogs as it contains a stimulant called theobromine. If you have chocolate decorations hanging on the tree, be sure to keep them out of reach of your dog, to prevent them being sniffed out.

Rich food – Rich turkey dinners that we enjoy at Christmas are high in fat and shouldn’t be given to our pets as they can irritate their tummy. Certain foods that are used at this time of year are also poisonous to dogs, such as raisins, used for making Christmas cake. Store these foods out of reach from your dog to prevent a festive trip to the vets.

Turkey bones – Don’t give your pet turkey or chicken bones as a treat. They can splinter and get stuck in their throat and cause injury.

Plants – Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. Try to limit these around the house at Christmas.

Wrapping paper – Be sure to clear away left-over wrapping paper, ribbon and bows that can easily be chewed or swallowed by your pet.

Toys – Don’t leave any small children’s toys lying around. If swallowed by your pet it could cause serious injury.

Routine – Stick to your pet’s usual walking and feeding times to help prevent any stress during the festive period. Disturbed routines can cause anxiety in pets.

Reduce stress – during Christmas many homes can have a high number of visitors. This can cause stress for some pets. Create a safe zone or den for your pet to retreat to which has a comfy bed, plenty of fresh water and toys to keep them occupied.

Keep doors closed – If you have visitors over the Christmas period, make sure they are aware of your pets and don’t leave doors or windows open, which your pet could escape out of. Check your pet’s microchip details are up to date just in case they do get out.

Visiting family – If you are visiting relatives over Christmas and have to leave your pet home alone for a few hours, leave plenty of toys to keep them occupied, warm comfy bedding and fresh water. Take them for a walk before you leave to ensure they have had plenty of exercise, as well as a toilet break. If you are staying for longer than a few hours and can’t take them with you, ask a friend or family member to look after them or book them into a kennel or cattery.

Fireworks – These are a common occurrence during the New Year and can cause stress in pets. Prepare in advance if you know your cat or dog gets anxious from the loud noises.

Cold weather – During the Christmas period, the weather can be colder, make sure your pet keeps warm. Use warm bedding in the house and coats for dogs can also be used during walks. Bring any outdoor pets inside in winter months, if it’s too cold for you it too cold for them.

If you are worried about your pet over the festive period, be sure to speak to your vet, who will be best placed to offer advice.

nutravet produce a number of natural animal health supplements to help keep your pet healthy over the Christmas period, including nutracalm to reduce stress and nutrabio to help maintain normal digestive function.

For more information and more top tips you can visit www.nutravet.co.uk.