Christmas can be an exciting time for everyone and many pet owners like to include their pets in the festivities by buying them presents and feeding them their own Christmas dinner.
However, Christmas can also bring some challenges for many pet owners. Being wary of the danger of Christmas decorations and stress that many visitors could cause your pet are key to ensure everyone enjoys the festive period without any stress.
As a pet owner you are best placed to keep an eye on your pet and know if there are any changes in their behaviour or health during this time. To make sure Christmas goes without a hitch for you and your pet, animal health manufacturer, nutravet have highlighted some positive things you can do to ensure everyone enjoys the festivities safely:
Keep wires from the Christmas tree lights away from your pet to prevent them from being chewed.
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.
Although it may be tempting to treat them, don’t give your dog chocolate as it contains theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs. If you have sweet treats like chocolate decorations hanging on the tree, be sure to keep them out of reach of your dog, as they will be able to sniff them out.
Don’t feed your pet rich turkey dinners like we enjoy over Christmas. High fat, festive foods could irritate your pet’s digestive system and can make your pet poorly. Certain foods that are used at this time of year are poisonous to dogs, such as raisins, used for making Christmas cake. Keep these out of reach from your dog to prevent a festive trip to the vets.
Don’t feed your pet turkey or chicken bones, even though it might be tempting as a treat. They can splinter and get stuck in their throat and cause injury.
Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. Try to limit the amount of these around the house at Christmas.
This can be dangerous to your pet if swallowed. Keep it out of reach on the tree or around your home. If swallowed it can wrap around the base of their tongue or cause choking, vomiting and intestinal obstruction.
Be sure to clear away left over wrapping paper, ribbon and bows that can easily be chewed or swallowed by your pet.
Consider using non-toxic and unbreakable decorations incase your pet does manage to get their hands on them. If broken, they could get stuck in their paws, or even be swallowed.
Don’t leave any small children’s toys lying around. If swallowed by your pet it could cause serious injury.
Keep your pet’s usual routine to prevent any stress during this busy period. Make sure they are fed and walked at the same times. Disturbed routines can cause anxiety in pets.
If you have guests visiting over Christmas, reduce stress for your pet by creating a safe zone for them to retreat to. Make sure they have a comfy bed with plenty of fresh water and toys to keep them occupied.
Keep doors closed
Make sure visitors are aware of your pets and don’t leave doors or windows open to prevent your pet escaping. In case they do escape, make sure your pet is microchipped or has clear identification on their collar.
If you are visiting relatives over Christmas and have to leave your pet home alone, be sure to leave them with enough 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 making sure they have had a toilet break. If they get anxious on their own, leave the TV or radio on to drown out external noise.
If you are travelling with your pet over Christmas, on holiday or to a relative be sure to plan in advance to reduce any stress for your pet. Get them used to the car beforehand to prevent any anxiety whilst travelling.
If you are going on holiday over Christmas, don’t leave your pet home alone. Make sure you have a friend to look after them or they are booked into a kennel or cattery.
These are a common occurrence during New Year. These can cause stress in pets, so prepare in advance if you know your cat or dog gets anxious with loud noises.
New pets at Christmas
Although it’s tempting to buy a new pet for Christmas, you have to be aware of the commitment and hard work that comes with a new puppy or kitten. It’s important to remember that pet’s are not just for Christmas.
During the Christmas period, the weather can be colder so make sure your pet keeps warm. Use warm bedding in the house and coats for dogs can also be used during walks. Be sure to keep up exercise routines with your dog, although the weather might not be as nice and cold, it’s still important to ensure your dog gets some exercise – even if it’s a shorter walk.
If you are concerned about your pet’s health consult your vet who will be able to advise on the best solution for their health needs. nutravet has a number of products which could help over the Christmas period, including nutracalm, nutrabio and nutraquin+.