With Christmas festivities and New Year’s celebrations well underway, it is time to have a think about ways to make sure that our pets enjoy this festive period as much as we do.
Change in routine
During the run-up and throughout the Christmas period, there are often many changes in the home environment and routine. Despite the joy and excitement of this season, it is important to remember how this may impact our pets.
Most of us love to catch up with family and friends over the holidays; this can involve large groups of people, new people and travelling. Whilst many of our furry companions may love visitors and having a fuss, some may find these changes a source of anxiety with loud noise, new smells and long car journeys. Signs of stress may vary depending on the pet, but some examples may be: hiding away, low posture, trembling and unusual behaviour. For cats in particular, stress can lead to cystitis with signs of straining, urinating small amounts frequently or urinating in inappropriate places.
To help make Christmas a happy time for all, always make sure that your pets have a safe space away from everyone with their own bed and a favourite toy. There are a variety of options of pheromone plug-ins and sprays available which may help provide comfort and reassurance.
Whilst we are sitting and enjoying Baileys by the fire with After-Eight mints and perhaps squeezing in a mince pie with extra brandy cream, it is worth remembering that some of our tasty festive treats are in fact toxic to our pets.
For the items mentioned above, it really helps our emergency team if you are able to give us as much information as possible about exactly what they have eaten, and how much. This allows us to understand the severity of the situation and decide on the most appropriate treatment.
Please remember that if any problems arise that we have a 24 hours emergency service.
There are a few other hazards to be aware of at this time, some involving food. It will be a common occurrence for your pet to gaze at you with their big willing eyes in attempt to win your heart. However, it’s important they don’t have access to any carcasses or bones which may splinter and cause damage to their oesophagus, stomach or intestines. In addition, any change in diet or treats such as high fat foods (chicken skin for example) can cause gastrointestinal upset.
When dealing with curious, excitable or clumsy pets, it’s important to ensure that the essential Christmas tree is anchored firmly to the ground. This avoids the tree falling and causing injury as dogs walk past or as your cat inevitably tries to scale the branches to reach the star. It’s also worth mentioning that despite chocolate decorations being tasty and looking appealing, they are best avoided in a house with pets. As another pointer, some cats seem to have a tendency for playing with tinsel. With it’s string like shape and sparkling tassels, you can hardly blame them, however this can quickly become nasty if ingested and can lead to emergency surgery.
As a final note, it’s worth remembering that there may be fireworks around these times and if you have a pet that is usually fearful of these then planning ahead is key to ensure they have the happiest Christmas festive season possible.