Caring For Your Pet at Christmas

The holidays involve a lot of changes in your home so think ahead and make a plan that will help keep your pet as happy and calm as possible.

Giving a pet as a gift is not a good idea. Deciding to bring a pet into your home is a long term commitment and is ideally done when you can focus on the needs of the new pet in a calm, stress free environment.

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Decorations

As you decorate your rooms make sure decorations and electric wires are out of reach of pets. Some reward-based training may be needed to keep the ornaments on your tree! Be very careful with lighted candles. Keep them high up, away from wagging tails and cats’ whiskers.

Guests

If guests are coming for longer periods of time, try to take time earlier that day to give your dog a walk or play with them to keep them calm, followed by a meal and confinement in a room where they can settle down with a chewy treat. Make sure that your pet is let out at regular intervals for toileting and is fed at the feeding times they are used to.

Ideally keep pets away from small children as excitement, stress, tasty food, and chewable toys can be a dangerous combination! Your normally placid pet may get irritated or compete for food or a toy.

Food

Protect your pet from access to sweets, chocolate, alcohol, and any food containing raisins, grapes, or xylitol (sugar substitute) as they are all toxic. Similarly, poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, ivy, and lilies can all be poisonous.

Carefully dispose of turkey bones as they can get stuck in a pet’s mouth or throat. Swallowing objects such as small balls, soft toys, strings, and packaging can cause blockages with vomiting, and possibly a visit to a vet for x-rays and even surgery! Tummy upsets may result from rich or unusual foods and can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. It’s best to stick to your pet’s normal food and pet treats.

Be well prepared by checking your vet’s consultation hours and emergency numbers over the holiday period. If your pet is on long term medication or a special diet, make sure you stock up.

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