Tips to get your pets happily through the holidays

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget that our pets can also get stressed and feel anxious. Here are some tips to get your pets happily through the holiday season.

Having the family over

A crowded house and unfamiliar guests can cause stress to both cats and dogs. Make sure your pets have a safe, quiet space where they can get away from any guests and loud noises. If your pet is particularly anxious, try to stagger the guest’s arrival so they don’t arrive all at once. It’s also best to have a conversation with any children (and the occasional adult) present about pets needing their own space and not feeding them any scraps.

Sharing the Christmas Leftovers

While it is nice to include our pets in family occasions, be careful not to feed your dog leftovers from Christmas lunch or dinner. Both cooked and uncooked meat can cause canine pancreatitis. Cooked bones are also dangerous, as they are very brittle and can easily get stuck in your dog’s esophagus or stomach. You should also avoid feeding your dog chocolate or Christmas pudding as both have ingredients that are toxic to dogs. If you want to treat your dog, choose a dog-friendly snack.

Decorations and wrapped gifts

Dogs are notorious for ripping open presents well before Christmas day.  This can be not only frustrating for pet owners, but it can also be dangerous to pets, exposing them to substances and food that is harmful to them. If your dog is likely to be attracted to presents under the Christmas tree, you may need to hold off putting them out until Christmas Eve.

Power cords and Christmas lights

A playful dog or cat can chew right through to the wires of electrical cords within minutes. To keep your pets safe around your Christmas lights, keep cords tidy and out of sight. Most hardware stores sell cord tidies to help with this.

Signs that your dog is stressed:

  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Excessive Licking
  • Tucking their tail between their legs
  • Urinating inside

If you notice these signs in your dog, put them in a quiet and safe space. Avoid giving them any treats as you don’t want to reinforce the behavior.

Signs that your cat is stressed:

  • Hiding
  • Hissing
  • Urinating outside their litter tray
  • Decreased appetite

If you notice these signs in your cat, move them to a safe and quiet space. You may also use calming tools such as Feliway diffusers to keep your cat calm.

If you are worried about your pet’s stress levels this holiday season, make an appointment with one of our veterinary team to discuss treatment options.


Santa's Naughty List: Christmas Dangers for your pet

While we celebrate Christmas and indulge in the holiday season, it is important to remember to be mindful of our furry family members.

There are many dangers both obvious and not so obvious that your pet can encounter this holiday season, below is a list of some of the things to keep aware of.

Christmas pet dangers infographicChocolate

Make sure not to leave chocolate where it can be easily reached by your pet - like under the Christmas tree!

Candles

Don't leave lit candles unattended. Better yet, ensure your pet is securely in a safe place if you have candles lit.

Snow Globes

Snow globes can easily fall from shelved and break, especially with curious cats around. Broken glass on the floor and be a major hazard for your pet.

Tinsel

While not poisonous, tinsel can still be very harmful if eaten by your pet.

String Lights

There are multiple dangers for a pet with Christmas lights. They may get tangled in them or may receive electric shocks.

Grapes and Sultanas

Everyone loves a good fruit cake at Christmas. However, grapes and sultanas are toxic for dogs. Keep this out of their reach.

Onion and garlic

Large quantities of onion and garlic are toxic to dogs if ingested. Keep an eye on what your pet is eating.

Heatstroke

With Christmas time also comes the hot weather. On very hot days make sure your pet has a cool place to stay, lots of water and don't exercise them too much.

Holly

Mistletoe and holly berries are toxic to pets. Keep these plants out of reach of your pets.

Artificial Sweetener

Sugar-free foods are still not necessarily good for your pets. If your pet ingests artificial sweeteners, it can be fatal.

Bones

Dogs can only chew on raw bones, never feed cooked bones as these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction.

Costumes

We don't recommend dressing your pet in a costume, however, if you choose to, make sure they are monitored at all times. If they are visibly uncomfortable, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Be mindful of decorations that are dangling or within reach of pets, these can be a choking or injury hazard.

House Guests

Your pets may get stressed or ever excited with frequent or new visitors. Make sure that you keep an eye on how your pet is feeling. Keep your pets in a secure place if they don't like it when guests are over. ­­