6 Tips For a Calm, Happy Christmas With Your Pets

6 Tips For a Calm, Happy Christmas With Your Pets

RSPCA WA is sharing 6 top tips to help keep pets happy and healthy this Christmas, as the big day brings a number of risks to their health and wellbeing.

The change in routine, visitors, excited children and loud music can all cause your pet to worry, while some festive foods and decorations could land your best mate in the emergency vet hospital.

The good news is that, with a little planning, these risks can be minimised or avoided, ensuring the holidays are happy for every member of the family.

6 tips for a calm, happy Christmas with your pet:

1. If you’re hosting, exercise pets before your guests arrive. This will help them de-stress and make them more likely to nap once the festivities are underway. Try to keep routines the same if possible, as consistency helps pets feel secure.

2. Create a safe, quiet place for your pet to retreat to away from the party. Playing calm music, or leaving the TV on, will help mask noise and chatter, and a Kong or bone is a good option to keep your dog’s mind occupied. Cats might like a cardboard box hidey-hole where they can escape the excitement.

3. Some festive fare can cause serious illness, so exercise caution when choosing what treats to feed your pet.  And don’t give in to those pleading looks!  Most cooked meats are OK to feed to cats and dogs in small quantities. However, do not feed your pet cooked bones, as they can splinter. Keep meat scraps free of gravy and marinades.

Don’t feed your pet chocolate, Christmas pudding, currants, grapes, lollies, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocado, onion, alcohol, and sugar-free sweet products. If you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, call your vet immediately for advice (be sure to check your vet’s holiday hours).

4. Keep Christmas decorations out of reach. If an ornament breaks in your pet’s mouth, this could cause serious damage. Edible decorations like candy canes can also pose a risk. Hang anything risky at the top of your tree.

5. Clean up wrapping paper quickly after presents have been opened. If eaten, wrapping paper and ribbons can obstruct your pet’s intestines and create a medical emergency.

6. Give your pet a special Christmas treat. You could create a treasure hunt of dry food around the house or yard, whip up some home-made treats, or play games with them.

RSPCA WA Communications Manager Richard Schoonraad:

“Christmas is usually busy and chaotic, but amidst the madness it’s so important to spare a thought for your furry family members.

“A little bit of planning will help pets cope with the chaos, and minimise the risk of any mishaps which could derail the celebrations.

“On the big day, watch your pet closely to gauge how they’re feeling, especially around excited children.

“If your dog licks their lips, shows the whites of their eyes, or turns their head away when a child or adult is patting them, intervene immediately. These are signs your dog is stressed, so take them away to a ‘safe space’ to relax.

“Christmas food is among some of the most toxic for animals to consume, so keep plates out of reach and resist those pleading eyes, or you could wind up spending the day at a vet hospital. 

“If you’re looking for ways to include your pet in the festivities, why not bake your best mate some pet-friendly treats, buy them a new toy, or take some time out to play their favourite games?”

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