It’s no secret that we love to include our pets in the festivities over the Christmas holidays. In fact, 57 per cent of all pet parents admit they include their fur babies in Christmas photos, according to PETstock’s Pet Parent Survey 2022 .
It is crucial to make sure that the holidays are just as fun for our family pets as they are for owners. PETstock Vet Dr Kathy Macmillan has compiled her top tips and tricks for keeping our furry friends happy and safe this festive season.
Tree and Decorations
For our beloved pets, the appearance of a Christmas tree can be a thrilling addition to the home each December. It is vital that you consider your tree layout prior to the setting up process! Think about what your furry friends may be able to get their paws into.
Ensuring that when setting up your tree, it is stable and secure to avoid a sudden bout of puppy excitement that may end in a tree-tripping disaster. Curious pets are likely to snoop and investigate around the tree. And if it is not securely set in place, it may easily come crashing down – damaging the decorations and likely injuring your pet.
Once the tree is in your home, make sure that all pets are supervised when nearby. If this is not possible, consider restricting access. Try creating a space detached from pet access where a door can be closed or blocked off.
Remember to also restrict access to the water base of your tree. Your inquisitive furry friends may swallow chemicals that are harmful if consumed.
Alongside keeping gifts out of reach from our family pets, if your four-legged friend is known to unwrap your carefully wrapped presents ahead of time, refrain from placing gifts that may contain food, and other substances that may cause harm to your pets under the tree.
Additionally, wrapping paper can be a choking hazard for our pets. So after the joy of unwrapping your presents on Christmas morning, do ensure that any wrapping is disposed of swiftly.
Food and treats
Giving into pleading puppy eyes when it comes to food and treats is often inevitable. But it is important to know which Christmas delicacies can be toxic to our pets. General foods to avoid include chocolate, avocado, Christmas pudding, fruit cake, grapes, gravy, ham, lollies, onion, pork and alcohol. If your pet accidentally eats one of these common Christmas treats, look out for reactions such as vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting, bad breath, poor breathing and muscle twitching.
Cooked bones are commonly believed to be a safe leftover food to give our pets. However, do avoid these as they can splinter into shards. Potentially causing choking and serious internal damage.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something harmful, monitor closely for any changes in behaviour or movement. And if you are worried then always pay a visit to your local veterinarian for an expert opinion.
If you are unable to see your local veterinarian immediately, call 13PETS for further advice.
Holidaying with family pets
As pets become more entrenched in our families, you may choose to bring them along on your family holiday. If this is your first holiday with your furry friend tagging along, ensure you conduct thorough research on whether the location and accommodation are suitable for your pets.
Luckily, there are limitless options in 2022 when it comes to animal-friendly locations and accommodation. Keep an eye out for factors such as high fences, fenced pools and whether your pet is allowed to lounge inside with the rest of the family before making a decision.
Some pets are not overjoyed with travel. So if you’re driving to your destination, ensure your pet is comfortable and secure in the car. Map out pit-stops for your dog to be able to go to the bathroom and exert their energy.
If you choose to fly, ensure you’re prepared well ahead of time and begin laying the groundwork with your pooch for their flight. This includes crate training, noise desensitisation and conquering separation anxiety.
To ensure that your pet feels comfortable and less anxious, bring along their favourite treats and toys. Then they immediately feel at ease while travelling and in the new space.
Lastly, make sure that you conduct a quick search into where the nearest veterinarian clinic is located at your holiday destination. Just in case something goes awry and you need expert advice.
With Christmas fast approaching, taking these tips into consideration will ensure that the holidays are full of festive fun for the whole family, without any pet related mishaps!