With the merry season, life becomes busy with shopping, card writing, present wrapping, more shopping, and endless trips to near and dear ones. In this Christmas and New Year mix you tend to forget your pet’s needs. Here are a few tips to ensure you and your pet have a happy, safe and stress free time at Christmas and New Year.
Stick as close as possible to your usual routine of feeding and walking patterns so that your pets are not put under any undue stress. A change in routine can often make pets anxious and unsettled. With the extra hustle and bustle with visitors, children, the noise of the television, music and computer games etc, take some peace and quiet time and exercise with your pet as in normal routine.
Avoid introducing any new food to the pet during this time. Resist the temptation to overindulge your pet in feeding over the great food, tasty treats, and some leftovers. Pet obesity has become a serious problem and you certainly don't want to make it worse!
Keep a check on the treats your pet is taking. Pets can easily choke and experience serious internal damage from snacking on cooked bones. Macadamia nuts can cause poisoning and caffeine can be fatal. Take your pet substance immediately to a veterinarian if suspected of ingesting a harmful item.
Rather than feeding them potentially harmful festive foods, involve your pet in the fun by treating them to a toy, collar or new bowl.
Choose Christmas decorations that are labelled non-toxic.
If you have a real tree, sweep up the fallen needles regularly as these can easily get stuck in your pet's paws or throat and trim the lower branches to avoid poking accidents. Vacuum regularly.
If possible, try to fence off your Christmas tree from your pet and never leave your pet unattended in a room with a Christmas tree.
Rabbits, cats, and dogs will try to chew through the cable. So, keep cables from Christmas tree lights out of reach or get a cable guard they can’t chew through.
Make sure your Christmas tree is stable and well anchored so that your pet can't pull it over.
Do not hang sweets, chocolates, or other edible decorations from your tree. These will be too tempting for your pet to resist and chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs and other pets and can result in death if even a small quantity is consumed.
Try to use unbreakable decorations and avoid using glass or fragile decorations which can break easily. Cats in particular love trying to knock baubles from the Christmas tree leading to cuts in paws and serious gastrointestinal complications, if ingested.
Avoid tinsel and ribbon or confine it to the higher branches of your tree, as these can be attractive to pets and are dangerous to the gastrointestinal tract if your pet swallows them.
Avoid Christmas plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, lilies, ferns,yew tree, and pine sap, as they are poisonous to cats and dogs.
Ensure children's' toys are not left lying around after Santa’s visit. If the toys have small parts and little toys from Christmas crackers, that your pet could tear or chew off and choke on, remove them away immediately.
Christmas can be a busy time with visiting friends and relatives so make sure your pet doesn't make an escape in the commotion, and ensure all the excitement of having visitors doesn't distress your pet by simply keeping an eye on them or letting them relax in an unoccupied room.
Avoid keeping pets outdoors when fireworks are going off and ensure that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren't frightened by all of the noise and where they cannot escape through the constantly open door. A quiet, inner room where they can't hear much of the noise from fireworks and loud bangs can help. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective. Try and make sure that the pet isn’t left alone if it is distressed.
Ensure that rabbits and other caged animals are safely secured in a garage or outbuilding, away from the sight and sound of fireworks. As an alternative, the cage can be covered with thick fabric to make it sound proof, making sure there is sufficient ventilation. Horses should be securely stabled or moved to a different location during fireworks displays in the area.
Ensure that your pets always have effective identification. Have your pet microchipped and ensure that it is wearing a collar with identification in the event that it escapes from the house.