It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but our pets can find Christmas unsettling; so how can we make sure they enjoy the festivities as much as we do?
PDSA Veterinary nurse Joanne Wright gives her top tips:
“Christmas is a time for joy and excitement but it can also be busy, noisy and stressful. Many pets love the extra visitors, fuss, gifts and having their families’ home with them. But, for some pets, the changes to routines, visitors and decorations can worry them. With a little planning though, we can help our furry friends enjoy the festive period too.”
Dangling baubles, shiny tinsel and flashing fairy lights can all be very tempting to play with. Dogs explore things with their mouths, so it’s easy for them to nibble, break or even swallow decorations. Our beautifully decorated Christmas trees also make a tempting climbing frame for cats, full of fun items to play with but all this frivolous fun and play can lead to injuries due to falls. It’s best to keep pets out of harm’s way while you decorate your home and not leave pets unsupervised with your decorations once they’re up.
Having a present or two under the Christmas tree to spoil our pets can be a wonderful way of making sure pets can enjoy the festivities. It’s preferable to treat them to new toys rather than food presents, which can lead to pets piling on unnecessary pounds. Toys are a great way to bond with your pet and playing can help keep them entertained.
While it’s tempting to spoil our pets with delicious rich Christmas foods, be aware that some human foods can cause some serious health issues in pets. Some pets have very sensitive stomachs, so rich food can lead to sickness, diarrhoea or even pancreatitis.
Some festive foods are highly toxic to pets, such as mince pies and Christmas pudding, because they contain raisins and sultanas. Chocolates can often be found in abundance in many homes over Christmas but is also poisonous to pets, so make sure they’re kept out of paw’s reach! You’ll need to be extra vigilant with any chocolate presents under or on the tree too in the run up to Christmas.
While a slice of lean turkey on Christmas Day is a nice treat, it’s best to otherwise stick to your pet’s normal diet over the festive period; even if they do look at you with puppy eyes!
Christmas can be a busy time with visitors popping in and out of your home. Even pets who enjoy having guests might need a bit of time out to relax every now and then.
A den is an ideal place for dogs to hide in a quiet room. Cats feel safest when they’re high up, so give them a cosy place to curl up on top of a secure shelf or cupboard.
If your pet gets particularly worried, calming products such as Pet Remedy can be an ideal solution as it can help keep pets relaxed so they can enjoy the festivities– ask at your local vet practice for advice.
Pet Remedy offers a natural solution to stress using their unique and patented blend of Valerian absolute oil with Vetiver, Basil & Clary Sage. These essential oils have a tiny molecular structure which makes them very concentrated, aromatic, and easily able to cross the brain-blood barrier.
We’ve of course trialled this product with our own cats and are fully behind it’s statement as you can see from our post with Oliver & Nubia for example.
Download your free Christmas survival guide at www.pdsa.org.uk/xmasguide.
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk