We really hope that you and your pets will enjoy the festive season. Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays.
- Be careful what you feed your pets over Christmas because lots of festive treats can be highly toxic to pets. Some examples of toxic foods are chocolate, sweets, Christmas pudding, nuts, fruit cakes, onions and alcohol.
- Watch out for visitors giving extra tit-bits to your pets, not only does this cause pets to gain weight it can give them stomach upsets or worse if the food is toxic.
- Be careful that your pets don’t get hold of meat bones as they could splinter after being eaten and which can cause intestinal blockages or worse.
- Shiny ornaments and decorations can be very attractive to curious pets. Pets can suffer serious injuries from chewing and ingesting these decorations. Tinsel’s shininess is attractive. When eaten, it can cause blockages, which often require surgery to remove.
- Ribbons and string can cause intestinal obstructions if swallowed and are a choking hazard to pets if they get caught around the neck.
- Potpourri contains oils that can be toxic to pets if eaten.
- Never leave lighted candles unattended or within reach of your pet. If knocked over they can cause burns or lead to a fire.
- Tree needles can be toxic and cause mouth and stomach irritation. Even needles and the wire of artificial trees could pose a problem.
- Chewing on electrical cords of lights can cause problems ranging from burned mouths, to electrical shock to death by electrocution.
- Place Christmas trees in a stable stand. Even though you take precautions, make sure your pet is always supervised when in a room with a tree.
- If you have a real tree make sure your pet cannot drink the water in the bucket/stand. Many people use preservatives that are highly toxic to pets.
Gifts Under The Tree
- Rawhide or other edible items left under the tree can be very tempting. Companies often package rawhide or other pet gifts wrapped in ribbon, so make sure to remove these before you present gifts to your dog.
- Perfumes and after-shaves usually contain ethanol and essential oils which can be very toxic.
- Batteries for toys or other gifts can be toxic and cause intestinal obstruction. Keep them in a safe place until they are ready to be inserted into the gift.
- Sometimes lots of visiting people can be very stressful for our pets. Make sure they have somewhere to retreat to if it all gets a bit too much. A quiet room, away from the commotion with water and food available will help nervous pets be more comfortable. Don’t force your pets to be petted by visitors.
- Brushing up on obedience training before the holidays may help a dog who has become a little rusty. Be sure to inform your visitors of any household ‘rules’ or problem behaviors concerning your pets, for example, jumping up on the sofa, sneaking out the door or stealing food from the table.
- If your pet gets distressed when you have visitors you can use Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs), these give off pheromones which help calm cats and dogs during stressful periods.
- For dogs who may not behave or could be aggressive, placing them in a separate room, using pet gates, or having them stay at a friend’s house during a party, may be necessary and sometimes, boarding a dog in a kennel may be the safest alternative.
- Remember that most pets are creatures of habit. Try to keep your pets routine the same as normal if possible – with lots of excitement and visitors it is often easy to forget to walk the dog or let the cat outside. A dog that is tired after a good run will be happier to sit or lie quietly and get into less trouble than a bored one.
- Try to keep your pets feeding times the same and don’t be tempted to add too many rich Christmas extras to the bowl, as this may cause a tummy upset and could result in a trip to the vet.
- If you are traveling around to visit relatives make sure that suitable provisions have been made for your pets. A bed or a travel crate is a good idea so that your pet has their own area to rest.
- Remember to take your pet’s food with you and a couple of bowls.
- Find the number of a vet local to the place you are visiting and take a copy of your pet insurance policy, in case of illness or accidents.
- Make sure your pet is micro-chipped or is at least wearing a collar with a suitable id tag, just in case he or she runs off.
- Remember to allow your pets time alone and a place to retreat to. This is especially important with dogs if there is another dog in the house that you are visiting (or if other dogs are visiting you).